EarthBorn: First Days

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The Hand of Dark

First Day 7th Quarter

“Any tracks of signs Maidon? Anything at all?”...Rune calls out to Maidon scouting fifty yards ahead of him as she bends rolling her hands over something on the floor...

“There are tracks, maybe the soldiers from the field they are not fresh, they look to have came up from the south”... Rune acknowledges and turns to Wayke and Legion who are ten metres apart tailing him...”We’ve got something, be ready for anything!, we can not be far now , of this riddle I am certain we will all get clarity”...they step up their pace Maidon following the soldiers trail through the now un-naturally thinning forest the trees lay bend back and snapped riddled with parasites, they creak in the winds their branches claw to each other in a desperate bid for the last of the sun’s light, the trees lose out here to the ridges across the dusty plain that seem to grow casting shadow over the lifeless glen and forest edge, the majesty lost, evil taking paradise with suns retreat bringing grim uncertainty with it you can hear the planet groan in transition, the flocks that took the skies fade to pixels in the horizon following the light suddenly all sounds give way to screams of another kind, the darkness hides their form and position but can be never the less nocturnal predators stir, Rune looks to Wayke who doesn’t need his senses, he answers with a shake of his head ....

‘’KNIGHTS.....LETS MOVE’’....Rune bellows as he starts to sprint,

the four tighten up to a kite formation and begin running towards the ridges shadow, Legion takes point and morphs to a wolf mentality, his eyes constantly gazing across his field of vision leading the pack to the best route across, he races ahead to the foot of the jagged sandstone and starts scouting for a way over or through, he finds a opening, a flat route through with minimal obstacles but it is too dark to see the others, he punches the rock face and picks a fragment up rolling it hard and fast between his palms, the rock smoulders and glows to a orange glow, he pulls his arm back and fires the glowing stone flare into the sky, they see the glow slight but clear in the pitch black and race to the point as fast as they can driven, they come to within a few metres and find more molten rocks leading them into the maze of ridges like a candle trail, they run jump and launch themselves over the sharp stacks and micro cliffs, following the little lights in the dark they soon come to an end as bioluminescence now lights the way ahead, tiny creatures and microbes weld to the rock, Asif studded in gem they glow in two toned hues of neon brilliance that shifts with the winds they do not stop to appreciate. Starting to dissipate the angelic sight gives way to the cold dull of stone the creatures remain only in the middle away from prying eyes, the ridges begin to shorten and flatten granting views of the diamond dashed sky, the end draws feet away, they grind slide and slam to a halt to find One Legion standing a few yards into the clearing gazing at the colossal gate that sits between two mountains, treacherous they are to high to climb, engulfed at the flanks by the dense dark wood only one way in and one way out, a fortress made from the terrain itself beyond which is closed off to all but who are already inside...

Rune Wayke Maidon and Legion walk across the barely living grassland that sits between the shadow of the ridge and the gates ahead, the darkness of night creeping up the back of their legs the forest howling drawing ever closer, eyes fixed on the gate but Wayke noticing heaps of shattered wood set with rot and tied with twine ropes, the bones and wreckage from past failed conquest, The knights stand looking up for any signs of activity among the rock faces but see nothing, they step up to the gate and gaze up to see shaggy banners hanging atop huge spears set in the cliff foot as defence, they hear a voice from above call out to them , they look up and can make out a figure leaning over the top the wall but cannot make out any features...

‘’Who comes to the gates of our Keep from the lands beyond?’’ ...Rune looks to Wayke and the others...

‘’Well go on , this is called diplomacy’’...Rune confused..

‘’diplomacy you say?’’ ...Wayke gives Rune a Lesson....

’’Yes diplomacy....i believe its what Humans used to do , basically what you do is you get your opponent , you get him, you sit him down and you just talk for an extended period of time until you no longer have indifferences with each other!”...Rune takes it in for a moment...”And hurry up about it if you would!”... Wayke replies under his breathe looking over both shoulders ...

’’No fighting!?...hmmm”...Wayke steps back and leaves Rune to think of something fast...

’’Ok no fighting”... he looks to Legion and Maidon who stand just as lost several yards away...he breathes in...

’’HELLO!”...he looks for reassurance from his Knights but receives blank stares, the guard calls down in reply...”What do you want?!”... Rune answers kindly despite...

’’We have come to ensure our species survival and ensure our place in this new world ushering in an order that will dominate and”...Wayke rushes forward to stall Runes tongue,

“Doesn’t that make you invaders then?’’ ...the guard calls down, a distinct sound of people readying for a fight comes from being the stone gate their arms knock each other accompanied with loud whispers...

“We seek answers to the tragedy we saw just earlier this day, Men massacred and bodies desecrated by the victors”...Waykes pleads...

“We are no victors, my brothers body still rests there!”...

“Then we are here to aid you, if you do not want our help after we have spoken we will leave peacefully”...He says...

‘’How do we know you won’t eat us either?’’....Rune is confused and calls up...

‘’We do not eat We do not sleep and we Do not relent?’’...Rune resounds loud and clear...We have to ask, you know not being from around here and all that?”...

the guard signals for the gate to be opened...

Rune gives the three a nod to be ready, to be alert this is first contact, the gates begin to crack and shift open roaring like thunder a complex lock, the grinding halts and they fall as staircases revealing yet more staircases within, folding into themselves from the centre to the placements carved into the mountains that supports it, the biggest and spine of the gate drops slamming hard into it’s home disappearing into the ground in a bloom of dust...they tread slow , Rune and his knights walk through the particle mist into the keep unable to see a metre ahead, the cloud is thick and coarse they make their way through with hands over their mouths...

“HALT!” ...they stop immediately frozen in position as the dust begins to settle around them dim flames held by figures begin to materialise as shadow, all clears the air ,they are faced with a legion of Humans pointing their weapons at them totally surrounding their space, they are unkempt not primitive , their weapons handmade but not battle hardy or trained, their captain steps forward, he wears a helmet and armour worn and scared it only covers his torso, his low brutish aged voice accompanies his raised hand signal...

“That’s far enough!’’....they remain completely still...There is a silence that seems to go on and on, Rune steps forward alone and hands him the hilt from his back...the captain takes the hilt which falls to his side dragging his arm down with it...‘’Well that’s a weight ain’t it’’...passing it to another troop to take away...

Rune grins and turns his head to the side , a wordless order to follow suit they aren’t impressed but step forward. Legion takes the huge shaft from his back and holds it out in front of his chest with one hand, a well built native steps forward to receive confident he is strong enough, Legion drops the shaft crashing into the mans arms and dragging him to the floor, another soldier comes and helps him up, together they throw the dormant Weapon on their shoulders like a log and march off through the parting crowd. Wayke steps up and hands another soldier his axe and pulls another shorter shaft from behind his thigh that was hidden,

Maidon steps up and starts to remove the armaments strapped to her body, the soldier follows her hand as it goes down the contour of her body to her quad, olive skin glistens from the flames like beads of desire entrapping the soldier in a state of bewilderment...’”SOLDIER” ...the captain shudders him from hypnosis and he hastily grabs the weapons from Her hands, her who smiles knowing she has him already, the formalities complete the captain asks the disarmed and outnumbered Outsiders to follow him to the keeps centre ...it is time to meet their hosts....

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