EarthBorn: First Days

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The Man from Forever

4th Day 4th Quarter

6 Quarters until Sky Change

Striding long through the last of the night and into the dawning sun Earth thane and his rippling steed do not rest, the path through the forest made easy by the beasts natural talents, climbing up trees and propelling itself from tree top to tree top exerting growths of skin under each arm to glide the sweeping breeze that carries the sprays of dew with them, Rune leans with the beast as one bonding to make the journey as timely as they can, all else fades away for them both bound to duties not their own, ahead the green comes to a seemingly abrupt end , a deep drop, signalling the need of one final leap, to glide down to a now flat plain to unleash the steeds full finesse on its feet, the last available tree the pair take a long jump that sees them carried high up into the cloud, the beast glides with dragon proficiency soaring and rolling he can sense each wind and leaps to each invisible Lilly pad of air in a lake of the free skies...

“HAHAHAHA...I WILL CALL YOU CANRIDE”...They roll around enjoying the brief moment of complete freedom, they take a dive down beneath the cloud and steady out, Rune looks around taking full advantage of the birds eye view, looking over to the west he sees an ocean of blue flames gathering, the horde they will soon face on the field nearly at full strength,. He gives his new companion two firms pats on the front right thigh...

“Come...we must hurry friend!”...they dive down to sweep in a valley below and let the wind carry them as far as it can westwards to the First complex...

The wind eventually dying brings them slowly into a full sprint out the other side of the valley mounts, with nothing ahead but open straights and sparsely populated dead wood they hunk down to streamline and do not stop, their breathes heavy forming a fog with each exhale against the morning chill ,they slow knowing they cannot be far and look around the parched environment looking for any structures or dense bush, they turn and race to anything prominent only to find empty shadows formed into illusion his eager mind chases everyone down none the less...

“I know it’s here somewhere”... They chase and check coming back onto themselves several times, a maze without walls just dust decay and death as far as any eye could see, a lurid landscape, with time pressing they howl their way through until they can no more and must rest after constant hours of leg work, it was not a long journey but even for the peak of being a cold night of hard riding will take its toll...

They stop under a dead hollow contorted tree and Canride falls to her belly on the floor and rests gasping to fill her chest Rune, drops to his knees and twists sitting with his back against the decaying trunk and looks out across the arid plains at random spirals of dust and odd foliage carried from far away to this corner of wasteland...

“Well it’s here somewhere Canride, just got to find it” ...he lays stroking his steeds thick scarred flesh as it pulsates and changes direction in relaxed display then, like an apple fell on his head ...

“Camouflage”...he gets to his feet and walks several yards from the resting place into the gusts, the light aglow from one way beaming unto something casting a large shadow in the distance, stagnant it does not move remaining lifeless and alone...

“ shadow with no caster?” ...he whistles high and sharp bringing Canride to heel , mounting up they head towards the shadow which remains still but grows the closer they get, something static forms the shadow unavailable to the eye at first sight and without the aid of sunlight, they reach the outer rim standing where the shadow begins, the image distort and not yet complete he looks up and finds the dry particles in gale winds beat and reveal a phantom mason tailored edge heading high up right in the winds path, illusionary mirage betrayed only by the elements it no longer can hide, the more Rune gazes up and walks the perimeter the more of the structure unfolds, a complex hidden and concealed in plain sight from all those who wander the deserted plains in search of it, he steps around the left, running his fingertips against the firm distorted barrier that he cannot see until his hand falls through an opening, a doorway which shows the way to a place out of sync a small market village surrounding a huge kaleidoscopic temple, the same place from his visions, now a ruin it lays completely eroded almost to a smooth polish abandoned and lost, pyramids with in pyramids, pillared with fine point stones decorated in all manners of mind twisting shapes they seem to move with each step he takes, the ashes of raids long past, the Shepherds destruction exactly how he envisioned left untouched as stark reminder to any who dare rise against them, propaganda long lost but still deep in the sapiens mind-set, through remembering snaps of his visions as he treads the cobbled market path towards the impressive temple, he enters inside with everything in as remembered, over to a table near the alter and aims to flip a plate on the table when a rough pronounced husky voice halts him mid motion....

“Do not touch that, it will stay as it lye”...Rune looks up the alter stairs and finds the source, a hooded figure ragged taking seat in the decaying throne leaning back in shadow...

“If You have come to plunder I suggest you leave now while I allow it!” ...Rune turns and takes four steps forward and places his left foot on the bottom stairs standing firm...

“I do not come for Plunder, I come to find someone who will help me, my visions told me he would be here”...The dark figure leans forward slamming the front chair legs down bringing him into light, an aged man wrinkled but still stout with damp white hair, a deep scar from his left ear to chin obvious against sun parched paper white skin, eyes of a thousand stars his cornea and iris swirl with constellations unknown to any but his own eyes...

“Hahahah, your vision? What are you a sorcerer?”...his voice drops in anger...”One of them? A shepherd?”...Rune takes another step up ...

“My vision, it told me that a great warrior bound to protect the owner of that throne resides here, an Eternal Guardian who would’ve given everything to defend”...

“THAT MAN IS GONE, DEAD, FINISHED, HE ENDED THE DAY SHE DID”...his aged face spits and foam’s with spewed words...”The day those monstrosities under that traitor came my duty ended, until the next cycle I am done, I will remain here till purpose once again fills my heart!” ...the Guard rest back into the throne cast in shadow...

“Your purpose never left you , we have banished Gaia shepherd of life, Mungam shepherd of alloy and Orin son of stone from the Sapien keep , they now march to eradicate the last of them with a host of rock stacks and beasts at their heel, we will need your skills to prevail”...

“Do not let me hold you any longer, you have great cause with little time”...Rune seeing he is making no headway with this broken immoveable guard takes the route of taunt, he turns from the stairs and begins picking up objects from their resting places and dropping them onto the floor smashing each memory...

“You know what I’ve noticed...those with power often wish to hide behind the weak at any given chance that’s what I’ve noticed!”...the throne slams down once again with the guardian now dead still....” Its easy to sit away in a little complex hidden from the world by your phantom walls waiting for the next cycle ...where I am from we call that a COWARD!”...The Guard stands removing his hood, tall and proportionate he induces nervous sweat even to Rune as the armour that is never removed shows face through the tears in his cloth, nervous but does not falter drawing his blade hilt ready for anything...

“You have the power to help and won’t, YOU’VE FAILED YOUR DUTY!”...The guardian unpegs his cloak and let it fall to the floor, jumping the stairs in one bound he unsheathes his heavenly blade thrusting for Runes chest with true precision, Rune shifting back powers his hilt to life locking the guardians blade underneath , before he has the chance to attack with his Arm blade the guardian kicks him in the pelvis sending him back hard, they both stand facing off, they shake their shoulders and crack their necks staring at each other, Rune rotates his blade charging directly for the guardian taking a swing left to right scraping the guards armour before parrying a strike against himself, they engage back and forth, the ringing of the blades showering the dimly lit temple as they step swap and pivot through to the outside courtyard with the sun breaking the horizon to signal time is running out, the pair back and forth neither yielding, the swipes and swings cut clean through anything they come into contact with, sliced that sizzle long after the blade is gone, seeing Rune is no ordinary man the guard backs off to assess...

“you have skill ill give you that much, but you’re strategy fails you, You are wasting time here, your friends will be dead long before you can return”...Rune defies..

“I will not leave until you come with me or one of us lay dead!”...The guardian stands relaxed and points his blade tip directly at Earth thane...

“I told you I will not help! She is gone and I wait for the next cycle”...Rune enraged by the guardians ignorance shouts him down...

“SHE IS NOT DEAD, I SPEAK TRUTH, SHE IS WITH GAIA BUT A SLAVE TO HER WILL!”...the guardian charges down the space between them more infuriatedly swinging for the kill ...

“YOU LIE” ...they exchange again, the blades forge blinding light with each connection the ringing carries on the silent morning air, they enter a deadlock bringing them nose to nose, the veins protrude their skulls both gritting teeth blood filling their faces with opposing rage...

“She lives, you can still save her...! I saw you both here the day they attacked! You stood on her right up there mid feast”...Rune gives a large push of force off balancing the Guardian to a back step...”There was great celebration, all was glorious, something came from the outside, screams...cries...pleas...” the guardian falls lax in remembrance and turns back inside to the throne, dragging his sword behind him with Koul in tail, he staggers up the staircase falling to his knees at the top...”she looked straight into your eyes and she let you leave her side, you knew then you might not see her again but you had to, you had no choice, that’s when they came and took her, she still lives, I have seen her, the Shepherds have her in chains and they now send all the rock stacks they have to annihilate us”...The guardian as if drunk climbs to his feet picking his ragged hooded overcoat up with him and begins to put it back on...”you have a chance of redemption and this time you will not face it alone!” the guardian places the hood over his head and begins walking down towards Rune....”Now will you help us?”...

“You want me to face my demons...change the flow of TIME? RIGHT MY WRONGS? SEEK REVENGE?”...he stops dead millimetres from Rune and looks up from beneath his thick brow”...to save her I will do these!...if you are lying outsider and she is dead I will destroy everything and everyone present at that moment including myself!..do you understand me!?” ...Rune takes the threat, a small price to pay and holds out his arm for a sealing embrace...

“we have an agreement Eternal one...what is your name?”...The Guard embraces Runes hand.

“The name is Kolide, Eternal Guard of Eve...and yours Stanger?”...Rune smiles in joy shaking his arm warmly...

“I am Rune, Earth Thane”...Kolide smiles reluctantly, a man of the old ways he kept emotions blocked as best as possible as never to be caught off guard.

“well any peoples who have your arm shielding them as Thane is sure to win...” Rune jests with sarcasm...

“Ask me tomorrow night and I will give you my answer!”...Kolide takes several seconds to piece the remark together before bursting out with deep rumbling laughter...

“ because we might be dead! I got it!”...Earth Thane grins and allows Kolide to finish when he abruptly stops and tells Rune to follow him at haste storming off up the stairs and past the throne, coming to the end of the room Kolide pushes an inlaid lever hidden among the carvings opening a passage hidden among the carvings , a staircase leading upwards to a hidden room full of trinkets and collected curiosities...

“This is where I kept everything, nothing of value but I will need my shield”...Kolide clambers around the horde of things looking for his shield Rune observing the rooms wonders, a pair of swords sheathed and presented, curved back toward the wielder easy slicing both bearing symbols of structured dashes unrecognisable, next to them a small black rectangular device with a single button dead and still, he lifts it to find it fits his palm plush, the glass is smashed and filled with fine dirt it no longer works the power long lost, he runs his hand along the thick plank worktop as he wanders further, He halts entranced by a symbol atop an old barely readable banner mounted on the wall high, the Man holding the relic above his head unleashing waves of energy in a maelstrom of fog and lighting...

“ what is does this mean I’ve seen it twice before this, once at Gaia’s temple and one on ruins far from here the first day?”... Kolide still rummaging for his shield turns his head to see what Rune is looking at before continuing to look...

“That is an old prophecy, eons old, it tells of a man, a man who will one day come to our world and unleash a time of darkness and war, but that from this darkness and war a new people will arise...an era of lasting peace and unification...ah here it is”...Rune turns to see the shield, it glows with an un seen light that distorts and cripples the air around it, ready to burst but, full yet built to contain it’s own energy...

“The RICHOCHET....only one of it’s kind ever forged”...they both look hard at the shield captivated by it’s master craftsmanship intricate and hammered...

“What does it do that’s special?”...asks Rune...

“Any blade that strike the shield will deflect off with great force! you will see come Wartime...come we must go now”...They leave the hall of wonders heading back up to the Temple the carved doors close tight and lock behind them without any touch to do so...”The shepherds! Are you sure only three there were?”...Kolide asks as they make way through the derelict hall...

“Yes only three! Orin son of stone, Gaia natures wrath and Mungam of Alloy, the others have not been seen!”...Earth Thane replies, Kolide freezes just for a second before continuing even faster...

“HAHAHAHA! YES! IVE WAITED FOR THIS MOMENT! THE SHEPEHERDS FALL BEGINS NOW STARTING WITH THE DEATH OF THE KING OF ALLOY AND THE SON OF STONE! AHA!”...The eternal guard growls and shakes his head violently as they leave the halls...

They haste back out to the destroyed market square where they stop in waiting...

“ How do you plan on keeping up Kolide?”...asks Rune standing atop a small heap of ash looking down at the eternal Guard...

“What do you mean?”...Kolide replies baffled by Runes rhetoric remark, Thane turns and let’s out a whistle of deafening decibels, after several seconds of waiting from around the corner of the gate comes abounding Canride who charges up alert and anxious and stops right before Runes feet as loyal as any pet...

“Oh I see...well as fine a beast you have I’m afraid mine is definitively better”...Rune looks sharply offended at Kolide...”Hands down better”...Thane looks around in all directions, he sees nothing or hears anything living ...

“well unless it was one of the skeletons we saw on the way in?”...Kolide simply grins before too letting his own whistle ring out, a deeper longer note just as powerful and carries just as far, a sound fills the complex, galloping that shakes the very stone beneath them, it gets closer then, from the left down the side passage a huge stallion appears, heavy its steps are shifting the dust along the ground and sending small rocks rolling into pointing, the creature gets closer crashing through some timbers and canvass which simply fell like grass against his impressive stature, a stallion of extra proportion, prehistoric horse armoured like a rhino with thick plating across the entirety of his flanks, the tail long thick its platted and tipped with a guillotine blade that is lashed to it by rope, no saddle only a harness to keep the beast galloping true, piercing eyes it stands proud in the face of Runes carnivorous beast...

“Ok well we will see in battle who proves true”...Thane jests as Hes mounting Canride...”Of all the cycles I’ve lived these stallions prove most true to man, some modifications for battle but these horses show true courage! Better then most men!”... Runes beasts skin pulsates rapidly tail to head, fixed he knows without orders where they are going all he needs is consent, Kolide tops the broad back of his steed , the beast treads with eagerness pumping breath from his nostrils in mushroomed plumes of condensation shaking his thick neck loosening up...

“Let’s go we will make it by dawn if we do not stop”...Rune charges from the gate into the plains, he looks back and sees the guardian is not behind him so stops to await him, several seconds pass when from nowhere like a wrecking ball the steed with Kolide atop crash though the wall shattering the enchanted bricks to dust and passes Earth thane at full speed into the plains, Rune looks at his Canride...”Don’t worry I still prefer you”...he gives Canride the final go-ahead and they join the trail, together with very little time Thane and the Eternal guard take the long ride back in hope, in hope that he has not forsaken his species by gambling too much time...

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