close rehlehnahkor

 

 Shorah,

my name is Telanis, as you might know by now. Since one half of your earth years, I've been living in D'ni. Before, this place was a beautiful place, with magnificent caves, and underground rivers. My dear friend Veovis was lured by a very evil person, and destroyed D'ni. I don't blame him, I don't blame anyone. D'ni brought this upon itself. I could almost see it coming.
But this is not a story of failures of the past, this is a story of how I survived.

I call it,
thoe koglo relena msee

Chapter 1: Destruction
The alarm bell. You never heard the alarm bell. This was because the sound from it meant that D'ni itself was in great danger, and that had never happened here. Not since the great earthquakes, thousands of years ago, in our first home.
I knew that the only safe place in a time of crises, was to go to one of the ages, take cover, hide. I rush through the crowd of the common people. Panic is spreading throughout the cave. One after the other, they all rush for the common library. I guess many escape into their family books, hoping to be safe there, but I know that is not right. I have a terrifying feeling in my stomach and I feel shiver along my spine. It is not right. I need a more secure place.

The gate to the great halls open before me. Many times, in my work, I've been here, writing and talking to the others. I know I am but a Guildsman, but many friends still see me as someone higher. I might even have a chance to be a Guildmaster some day. I run through the main hall, towards the small stairs at the other end, leading to the small alcove with the small pillar of wood. It is the place of recognition. It's a small basin with ink and a wooden pillar to the right. I often went here to rest. watching the ink pour down from the rock, but today my reasons are of a different kind. As a kid, playing in these halls, I discovered the Secret room of the Linguists. I've heard that the old ones went there when in doubt of something, or when to reason with each other, without the interference of others. Me myself has never been allowed in there, although I am a Linguist, but that doesn't help. But I have the feeling no one has thought about this place. There are at least three linking books in there. Master K'than even placed his family book here, so the problem is where to go. Where to survive.

Turning the beetle on the pillar, the stone entrance opens. I watch the circular room with interest. Small stones light up the walls, glowing, pulsating. In the middle a large table holds the treasure of this place. It holds the three books...
No, actually it holds four books. Who's the last one? I slowly read the covers. Green and beautiful, rocky, food, water, good weather, strange animals. I close the secret door after me and then returns to the table. Then one of the titles catch my eyes.
Glo rehlehnah. The words speak to me in my native tongue, And so I understand that that is what I must do. I must begin it right now, so that I may survive. This is the right thing, my feeling tells me, this is the right thing to do.

I swallow slowly, inhaling a final breath of the D'ni air, and then slowly putting my hand to the small rectangular surface, disappearing into myself.

Into the book.

Chapter 2: Glo rehlehnah
Trees. I see trees. They stand above me like guardians of this Age. My head is hurt and I find my arm in a small pool of blood. What has happened here? I try to stand up, but fall to the ground, a bone-breaking sting comes from my arm. What has happened? I seem to have broken several bones in my right arm. With a great effort I slowly rise into a sitting position, letting my arm dangle, trying not to move it to much. I slowly look around. I'm sitting on a small hill.Around me there is a huge grasscovered plain, with trees growing wide apart. These great, gigantic trees rise from the soft ground, with green trunks, and huge yellow leaves. I notice a doorway to my right, in the side of the hill. Ancient writing, a version of our language covers the two stone pillars on either side of it. What is that? The next thing I notice is that I can't see any water. Usually the Ages are built as Islands, so that writing them won't be so hard. But this one seems to be miles wide. It's the work of a lifetime to build something like this. Who wrote it? I hear a sound behind me. Something is watching me. What can it be. I try to turn around, but suddenly my head starts to spin and the trees blur in my sight, fading away. I can't keep awake any longer.

It's cold in here. Something wet is touching my chin. Slowly I open my eyes, finding a big mouth full of sharp teeth. My instinct and reflexes act at once. I throw myself backwards, against a wall. In front of me, a big, furry animal, catlike, with four huge paws, looks back at me. The eyes gleaming in the dark. "hrrgyoou arrrr waan. hryoo arr shhhurvivoorrrh. hyaahvooo haazh srshoosen hrgkzyooo." It repeats these strange growls, and slowly I understand what it says. "Why me?" I ask. "I'm not even a Guildmaster.Surely there must be others better fit. Am I the only one alive? Who sent you? Who are you?" I pour questions over the creature. It just stands there, watching me with interest. "hrzyooo willhz bee a hrghhuildhmaaastrr. Aiiii ammrhg a hzcreeeation ohv yooorh maaikhrrr, yaahvoorhhghz. Yooo hrzgnd ootherzz will hgreeebiildh duuhniighrzz." I stare at the intelligent creature. "But why me? wait!" Desperately I try to get my answers when it turns around and leaps into the shadows, disappearing. My vision slowly fades away again, and I feel my head getting heavier and heavier until all gets dark.

What has happened? I sit here, at a desk inside a great stone room. After waking up, I investigated the hill. It seems that someone has built a great complex under the ground. The two pillars were only the entrance to this.... home under the ground. I have even found medical supplies, to care for my broken arm, and food, plenty of food. It will probably last for a month or two, but then I will be forced to investigate this age. I now understand what the deeper meaning of the name is. This Age seems to be created to explore. Not like the other Ages. It's a different kind. It's not of D'ni. It's something greater than that.Not as great as the Book of Earth, but amazing in it's own way. I try to write down everything I notice, everything I see, because it seems like I have gaps in my mind. I can't remember everything about D'ni. For one thing, I have forgotten words, parts of our language. Now I must work hard to relearn and retrieve that knowledge. This I use my books for. I found a whole room covered with books. Shelves against every wall. Both empty and written books. I will probably be able to live here until D'ni is safe. If I only knew when that would be. There are also at least ten korteemahn in the library. Ten other Ages to explore. One could live a lifetime in this Age.
But I don't know, perhaps I will...

Chapter 3: Exploration of the plains
Two months have gone by. I still live in the hill, but now my supplies are running out. My arm is fully healed, so the last weeks I've been walking around on the plain, watching the Age, looking at huge birdlike creatures, swiftly turning in the air. But that is the only animal I've encountered, so far, except for the cat, which has not returned. I found tools and rawmaterials, like glass, metal, wood, and some strange stone. The stone lies in several small pots, and the moment you take it out of the pot, into the air, it slowly becomes harder. I've done some experiments, and it seems you have around half an hour to form the desired shape, before it hardens to stone. Very convenient. I have built some inkpots, and a few tools in this strange material, which I named from our man-made stone, nara. I have accidentally gained a bad habit of talking to myself, so that I will re-learn my language again, faster, I hope.
I have only identified four of the characters at the entrance. They say Yavo, but in a very ancient tongue, a variant of D'ni, perhaps it's basic form.

But, right now, I'm sitting here, at the edge of the plains. It's beautiful. I can't even see the hill from here. I'm on my first, long, exploration. My backpack is full of tools and instruments, and of course, my notes.I've walked for three days so far, across the plain, but now I've reached an end. and it's so marvellous. It's a high slope, almost vertical, with a great drop of 720 spans. With my keen eyes, I can actually see the shapes and materials of the slope. There is a huge lake below, as wide as the slope is high. The water is dark red, with a shine of purple in the sunlight. I have noticed that the day is six gahrtahvotee long, and I have therefore constructed a timedevice, split into 30 bells, to make it easier for me. I have changed my bodyrythm to fit the new length of the day, it wasn't as hard as I first thought.
I've been here for several hours now, trying to find a way down, so that I won't have to climb so much. But the beautiful avians have drawn my attention, so I seem to have studied them instead. They are quite remarkable, huge, almost two spans high, with wings, almost double that. They seem unnatural, and I keep on thinking that they shouldn't be able to fly, but they do. How?
I decide to turn my attention to the slope again, trying to find a way down. But how? Maybe there is a path somewhere, or stairs. after all, someone intelligent has been here before me. So, I trim the D'ni glasses for longsight, and keep watching the ground around the lake. I see one of the avians, diving towards the surface, spreading the legs, and then, grabbing the lake. It looks as if the lake follow the creature, when it rises again, as if it took a hold of the water. Strange. But then, a piece of the lake is ripped lose, and follow the avian as it flies to the top of a cliff. I think it's some kind of algae in the lake, like home, in D'ni. Perhaps a similar kind, but it seems to be so much of it, as if the lake mainly was built of it. When it flew through the air, it dripped some red goo on the slope, creating a red trail. I notice how there, at one point, seems to disappear. as if there is a cave or something. I lift my sack, and walks in that direction, to see what it could be.

Chapter 4: The way down
Amazing. Here, hidden in the stonesurface, is a long staircase. Slowly tilting, it goes down, through and around the rocks, like a huge snake. There are beautifully carved stairs, with small decorations, and small alcoves in the stone beside each step. A strange green light surface from these alcoves, like little lights, shining on the whole staircase. I must remember to have a look at this when it's dark. I guess it will take some time to walk down, so I can see it later. The stairs seem so untouched, so clean, as if they almost never have been used. So, new.

It's a long walk, so I might as well begin now. I slowly try my weight on the first stair, checking it, for balance, and then begins my journey to the bottom of the slope.

It's late in the evening now. I have only reached halfway down. It is hard to walk, since the stairs are to short, and I have to strain my legs when I keep walking. My heels are sour, and my knees ache. I have found a small cave, beside the staircase, where I have chosen to rest for the night. I sit here on a stone, watching the stairs near me. They glow in green, all of them. Each step is being lit by two small green stones. So even at night I can see the way down.The slope is colored red from the water below. It too light up the darkness. I think I was right about that algae. It is very similar to the one in D'ni. If the one at D'ni ever die, I can probably take new samples from this place.
I better sleep now, it will be another hard day tomorrow.

I woke up a few hours ago, and ate some breakfast before I continued downwards. The avians, I have chosen to call them "mregalon", since I discovered that their youngest can't fly. They are groundbound for almost two or three years. Living and looking pretty much like huge lizards. But when they change skin for the second time, they build cocoons, and develop wings. They look very fragile, but yet, they are wings. They seem peaceful, but I will not try their temper by walking to them. I'll just keep walking down these stairs, and try to keep out of the way from them. It seems like they use this slope as a nesting place, and I know how bad-tempered females can be, specially with newborn babies.

Now I'm finally at the bottom. I've walked for almost a whole day, and the last part I've used cheer willpower, since my feet ache so much, and my knees wants to fold under my weight. But now I've reached the goal. I sit on a small stone, watching the lake's calm surface. From here it looks mainly purple, but that must be a trick of the light. I can see plains and hills on the other sides of the lake, and huge trees, much like the ones I've seen earlier. I will rest for a day or two now, to heal my feet and knees. I have found two strange caves, here at the bottom, leading straight into the mountainside. They seem man-made, so they are interesting. I wonder if there still are habitants of this world, or If I and the avians are the only ones.

~ notes
regarding mregalon:
They are born with fur, like mammals, but not blind. The nest consist of algae from the lake, so the babies actually swim the first six months of their lives. Then their dark red fur fall of, giving away a dark, leather like skin, with small scales. This is the stage I call m'la. They crawl around like this for two years, being fed by the parents, and eating whatever they can find among the stones.When this period is almost over, they use all the algae in the nest to build a cocoon. They mix it with their own spit, and build it up around themselves. I noted that one nest only support two cocoons, and the parents seems not to care about getting more from the lake. Any baby born after the first two will probably die. I must study this further. The cocoon stage take almost two weeks, but then it merges as a fully developed mregalon, with a purple-blue leather skin, and huge wings. I noticed they seem to float in the air, never actually touching the ground in this stage. They never land, just float very close to the ground. I wonder if they can land, or if they just prefer the sky so much they refuse to land. The strange thing is, that they can rise in altitude, by just moving their wings down towards the ground, not flapping like any other bird. They can fly and roll in the air, without actually flying. I will study them further.
~ end of notes

Chapter 5: Others
I am not alone in this age. There are others. I know that now, but I must tell you how I met them. It all began with a foolish idea.I have tried to swim in the lake, but my first attempt, could just as easily have been my last. At first I just let the water touch my skin, to get used to it. It seemed very warm, comfortable, so I decided to swim out, towards the middle of the lake. I now ban my foolishness. I should have remembered the other day, when the mregalon dove to collect algae.
I will explain. Because, when I had managed to reach the deeper waters, I also noticed that it was here the algae was most common. A thick web grabbed my feet, and the weight pulled me down, below the surface. At first I simply held my breath, thinking that panicking only would make it worse. So I stayed calm, and began to untie my feet. Suddenly, the water turned icecold, and my lungs were gasping for air. I could feel the cold tear in my breast, and the eyes straining in my head. I tumbled around under water, and got more and more tangled up with the algae. My sense of direction was completely lost, and I felt the world slipping out of my control.

Then I woke up.
I am now sitting up, in a long boat. It seems one of the majestic trees had sacrificed it's trunk for this beautiful vessel. Out from the boat, on both sides, were long, slightly bent, poles. These were connected to one in the middle, with a huge sail, shaped as a halfcircle, colored brightly yellow. It was still low, but the width made it strong, and fast. I have never sailed this fast, anytime, anywhere, in my whole life. I finally decided to look around, draw my attention away from the sail, and explore the rest of this boat. I now notice that everywhere around me, there lies heaps of dried algae, beaming red from the reflections of the sunlight. Whoever is steering this boat, I can't see them, since the great sail covers most of my view. But I notice small instrument lying around in the boat. One of them I recognise as a thermometer, but it seems to be written in a scale and a language I do not know of.

Suddenly we slow down, and the sail drops to the bottom of the boat. On the other side I see two humans. One older and a small boy, both brown from the intense sun. I suspected primitive clothes, but these two wear elegant coats, made from some kind of black leather, probably from the mregalon. What makes me puzzled is the strange, but so familiar glasses the little boy wears. They look just like my protective glasses, used to filter my sensitive eyes from the bright light. Perhaps those are mine, after all, he could have taken them after the rescue. I look through my pockets, and, there they are. SO, those must be his. Strange.
Who might these strange inhabitants be?

Chapter 6: The Village
I never suspected that I would sleep for so long. After I had arrived at the village, together with the two sailors, I was shown into a hut, where they gave me food, and let me sleep. I still think about what the old man said to me, when we arrived to the hut. He said, "reesem gaederem navaokh d'nee", in a very bad...but understandable, D'ni. Where did they learn that? Has perhaps the creator of this Age taught them D'ni, or is this us, only on another branch, somewhere on the great tree of possibility?

Now it's morning. I've slept for two whole days, so I guess my body must have suffered from the drowning. But now I feel fine. A young girl has arrived two times since me waking up, giving me food. I suspected her again, when the old sailor entered the hut. I studied his face closely, one thing I hadn't been able to do while tired. Clear, deep stripes, and wrinkles marked his face. He wasn't actually old, but yet so wise. It seemed that he had lived a life longer than his years. He sat down beside my bed and begun to talk. "You are not one of us, but yet, apart of us. You come from low place?". "I come from a Cave" I answered. "The cave of D'ni".
"ah" the man said, "you one of the founders". I thought about this for a while. "what do you mean, founders?". He looked up at me, "you are one of the original D'ni, the ones who came here hundreds of years ago, to teach us. But then, great Yavo closed the bridge between us, saying that we had a different path to follow from yours. He said, that the ancient will fall, and that we...the children of that race, will live, in our own world.But he didn't tell the truth, since you now are here."
I watched him, thinking, and we both sat quiet for some time.

The older man is named Geran. I found that amusing at first, since I once read about master Geran, the blind master, who was in the team of surveyors, digging the tunnel to the surface. I remember how much I admired him as a child.
I've met some of the villagers, and learned a few names. The boy is called Keh'dan and the girl Jin'dah. They all speak that strange D'ni, crude accent, but maybe that's because the language has developed into something else, slowly turning away from the path our own language took. They have shortened some words, like "fish", "house", "net" and "boat", since these are used so often. When the boy first said "t'ne" I didn't understand what he said, but the old man explained that it was their word for "go out and fish".

This is a beautiful place, I will rest here for a while, before exploring the surroundings. We'll see what this Age has to give me.

It has already given me D'ni

 

Chapter 7: Garo Mregalon
One week. For one week I've been here now. The first days I was told to relax from my accident, but then I participated in the other villagers work. Yesterday I followed Geran and Keh'dan out into the lake, to fish. It was great, and I could see the mregalon again, flying there, cirkling high up in the sky, embracing the air with their graceful wings, glistering in the sunlight. Geran had to tell me a few times, to pay attention to the nets, and not the sky. But while laying out my net, I could see that he too watched the marvelous creatures, and, while we were heading back, we both ended up talking about them, watching them.
"Look!" he shouted when we were getting nearer the shore, "garo mregalon!". I had told him about my word for them, and so he used that, to make me understand. He watched the sky, and saw one of these flying creatures, much bigger than the rest. "what is that?" I asked him. "It's father of all mregalon. It's the old, it's the Watcher.It protects and guides the herd. It looks for a new place when winter comes." I thought about this..."winter? why?" He looked down at me briefly. "Winter here freezes the lake to the bottom, so the, mregalon, can't get the algea that they need.They must move.The Watcher guides them to new grounds, or.." he looked up at the sky again "...new skies."
We both sat in silence the last way of the trip home.

Since I saw that marvelous creature, I've been trying to sneak away from the work Geran seem to want to put me into, and have a look at the mregalon fly, studying it's moves. But today...something strange happened. While studying the Watcher, I could see a person, standing high up, by the cliffs, with the arms in the air.A majestic sight. And, then, the Watcher turned in the air, approaching this human, slowly, gliding towards the cliff, until the person could touch it with the hands. Suddenly, the person jumped up onto the back of the Watcher, as if it was a creature of burden, using it to fly out over the lake, fast. They turned, and flew through the air, splitting the wind and honouring the maker by it's cheer presence. It was marvelous.

Who can that be?

 

Chapter 8: The Daughter of the Lost

Whoever that was, I've determined to find out. So, the last few days, I've been trying to get a glimpse of what happened, again. But nothing. The Watcher flies alone up there, no trace of the person. Perhaps if I went up there too. Yes, that must be it. So today I will make a journey to the cliffs. I've sorted out a few tools, and packed some food, and water. This might take all day, depending on how hard the terrain is to climb.So, early in the morning, before even the villagers had woken, I began the walk along the shore, towards the cliffs. At first it was easy, but then, when the rocky surfaces turned up, it became troublesome. My shoes weren't right for this kind of terrain, so I had to proceed carefully.
After resting a few times, I reached high ground sometime around noon.From here, I could see the mregalon fly closely. They weren't afraid of me. I imagined that if I tried really hard, I could probably get to touch one of them, but I didn't try. These were free creatures, perhaps with an amazing intellect, which we didn't understand.

There, the Watcher has arrived. I can see him now, slowly floating towards me, carefully, watching me. I can se straight into his eyes, and..in a way, it feels soothing. I fell no terror, everything feels....harmonic..
Then, the huge creature lands beside me. No, not really landing, but floating above the ground, one meter away from me, watching me closely. Then it's great neck flexes, and it bumps it's head against my chest. I slowly, slowly, touch the fur, with the palm of my hand. Soft, warm, tingling. Shivers run through my back. And I feel warm.

"You must be the Newcomer." a voice suddenly says behind me. I turn around quickly, the Watcher backing away a few meters. There, in front of me on the cliff, an old woman sits. Wrapped in grey cloth, with a long cane in her left hand. Long, raven black hair, fall down her spine, almost touching the ground.
I can't find any words, but that's not necessary, cause she continues.
"You must be the visitor they fished out of the lake. I now see that the maker didn't tell us the truth. It seems he has sent another one from the Lost People."
I don't understand what she means by this, and she must have seen this in my eyes, cause she once again continues. "I am N'shena M'shelin, daughter of Your great master, and writer, Ri'Neref. I was told, that when your home came to the brink of destruction, my father wrote you the book of Earth, so that your civilisation could move away from that terrible fate. During the D'ni's first time in Earth, this place served as a temporary home for many, since it reminded of their lost home. But that was long ago, almost 400 years ago."
I stared in amazement, and thoughts were snapping together in my head, like gigantic pieces in a puzzle finding their right place. She was the daughter of D'ni, but, when I transported here, I came to a place thousands of years before the destruction of D'ni. Here, not much time had passed, and the people could still remember the civilisation of D'ni. And, it seems this old woman, is the only person with a direct lineage from us. Here, before me, sits the daughter of one of our greatest writers of all time.
I sat down, eyes staring, my mouth wide open, almost numb. with a terrible stammer I managed to form a few words, "But...how....did..you know...who..what I ..was?"

She laughed. for a long time, she couldn't stop, so, suddenly I even found myself laughing with her, for an unknown reason. Then she stopped, and with a great smile on her lips, she said, "Because, the great Watcher would never let anyone touch him, except for his great masters. The ones who brought him here."

That made me relax. We looked at each other, and then at the Creature beside us. Two souls, one thought, thousands of years between us.

The wind rushed against our faces, while gliding through the air, only surrounded by the soft fur of the Watcher, and the sea of air. Seeing the lake, the plains, the village, the trees, only as small dots, landmarks, swirling by below us.

Crying out with joy and happiness over this unique sensation!

 

Chapter 9: Words of Yavo

I’ve been sitting here at the shore now, almost all day. After my ride on the Watcher, yesterday, with N'shena M'shelin, the daughter of Ri’Neref, I am empty, yet, peaceful. We spoke all night about the D’ni, and she told me things that I’ve only heard told from the old story-tellers at home, in D’ni, twisting the words into a wonderful ballet of feelings and wonders. The old stories has always been told, like, stories. Now, listening to her, I heard them again, for the first time, this time, not as stories, but as true events, so close. And I could also see the effects it had had on people, right there, in her face, wrinkled, old, yet vivid, and alive.
She is the natives’ story-teller, their memory, their library.
Their only link to that which once were.

Today though, she is away. That’s why I am here, by the water. I have followed the Watcher with my eyes, all day. Now when I know, I could almost picture that creature…flying above the plains, the landscape of our first, lost home. I embrace my own thoughts, entangled with them, not aware of the surroundings, and suddenly, two catlike eyes stare at me.
Startled, I through myself backwards, trying to get to my feet, when I hear a low growl. It’s the catlike creature, I once met, when I had just fallen into this world.
"ssssit." I hear from the throat of the animal, and so I do. "What do you want from me?" I dare to ask. I watch it more closely this time. I looks so unique, and so, intelligent.
"yoooourgh will leaarnnngh ahhn teeeach. "Grooogrll…thaaht isss yourrgh taaaskh." It looks at me, closely, almost as if it is reading my thoughts. "Youugh will nnot leeaveh untilll…rrror….. theeh olddh liink ovf theees worrrld dies."

And then the creature is suddenly gone.
So, I think that Yavo, the Maker, spoke through this creature, this design of his. And if that is true, I will not leave this Age until the old link between our worlds is gone. But, If I understood that right, it means, that, I will endure the sorrow of loosing a dear friend, before I can ever return. I pray that my interpretations are false.

 

Chapter 10: Antelope

I went back this morning. Back to the shore, on the other side, where I first had found that cave. I never got a chance to examine it, since I nearly drowned, and the natives saved me.
Geran let me off here, while he, and his son, were going to take care of the nets. I have arranged for them to pick me up again, the following morning, so now, finally, I have time to explore again.
I decided that wherever I go, I should have a camp to come back too. So, I built one on the shore, beside the cliffs, only a few hundred feet from the entrance.
I ate. Geran had given me some dried fish, and water, so that I wouldn’t go hungry or thirsty. Then it was time to pack up, and get going, into the cave.

My body tingles by the sweet recognition of cave air. I can feel the mountain around me, feel the layers, witnessing of years of corrosion, of massive movements below the crust, of volcanic activity, long gone. I can smell the salty stone, so close to home, yet so far away. And, when I think about it, now, in this time, somewhere in the great universe, my people live. Probably not the way they did in my time, since this is only one possibility of many, eternal. Each moment from beginning to end, is a matter of changes, each change unique, and so, each following moment, unique, never appearing again, and, with just a slip of chance, never would have appeared.
And so, our lives are but one link, in the chain called eternity. Strange how I always come to think of this, when I’m close to stone. Close to home.

I think it is night outside. I’ve been walking up along a great shaft for hours. I think this is an ancient lava flow, formed during the creation of these highlands, millennia’s past. It’s smooth, clean, almost like nara. Oh, how much I miss home. Yet, this is also something new, exciting, which I never will experience again, exactly like this. Each moment of exploration is unique. Each new discovery, a small world in itself. I even begin to get tired, and, perhaps, I should rest here for a few hours, but not too long, since I must use my time carefully, to see as much as possible, before returning.
So, I find a small alcove in the wall, and stretch out, using the stone itself for bed.

"…kenem?"
I go from fast asleep to clearly awake.
Letting my eyes adjust themselves to the lack of light, I find myself staring into the most wonderful brown eyes I have ever seen. And behind them, a brown face, and short, wild, hair.
"Who are you?" a soft voice says. She’s probably younger than me, which makes me considering their shorter lifespan…
"Are you from the village? I don’t recognize you?" she says in fluent D’ni. "I am Kehlani, antelope. Where are you going? Are you alone? Why did you come?" I try to say something, but I can’t… the eyes, deep wells, and I can’t stop myself from falling straight down, into them, lost, without any hope of finding my way back. Suddenly, I remember I was sleeping. I can’t just sit here. I must stand up, pull myself together, and try to find out who she is. And that I did.

I stood up, and everything went black.
The last thing I heard was her cry of surprise, and then I could feel blood from my head, as I had bumped it so hard into the alcove’s ceiling, that I went out. Fainted.
My usual luck, I thought, waking up in a small room. No..not a room. I am in a bed, lying in a very small cave, with one opening. I’m covered in soft sheets, and feathers, a big, rather over-dimensioned bandage around my brow and over the top of my head. I can feel the headache, hammering my soul into existence. Letting me know that I’m very much alive. Almost as after the V’ja of my dear friend Krehm, at home, just a few months ago.
I turn around in the bed, trying to focus on the other items in the room, focusing on her. There. Sitting in the corner, in a blue dress, made of some kind of leather. She’s sleeping. Must have gone through a great deal, getting me here, taking care of my wound. Must have taken all night. She is probably exhausted.
Oh no. Now I remember.

It’s Morning, and Geran won’t find me by the shore.
What will happen?

Suddenly the headache gets too much, and I fall back into a deep sleep, dreaming of golden-brown antelopes, running graciously across the plains.

 

Chapter 11: Waking up from a dream
"Reesem?"
I open my eyes, finding first a beautiful face, and second, a lovely smell. "You want to eat?" she asks, watching me closely, her face only two feet away. She's sitting by the bed, on her knees, watching me. I wonder for how long?
Then I notice the tray with meat rolls, and the fresh water. Suddenly my stomach starts to rumble, and become aware of my lack of food. "Oh yes, thank you. I'm starving."
Smiling, she put the tray down on the bed beside me, and the she rise, walking away from me, then, sitting down on the bed cover, down by my feet. I watch the food. It smells, looks wonderful. So, I begin to eat, one roll after the other, pouring water down my dry throat, feeling how my entire body relax and tingle with the sensation of good food.
With my whole mouth full, in the process of taking a sip of water, I look at her, and find that she is having a very hard time not to laugh. Her face is radiant with joy, seeing how I eat. I guess this is not exactly the best way to eat, but I was so hungry I never thought of how I looked.
"You were very hungry, and thirsty." she says, almost laughing. When she says this, I can't help but to laugh. This must look so silly. We both laugh, and look at each other for a long time, realising how small the values in life can be.

"Finished?"
I look down at the empty tray, the empty water skin, and the very empty cup. "..uhm, yes, I guess so..Thanks, it was wonderful." I say, looking at her.
"Good. Then we can go."

The shaft went straight up. A giant tree had grown above the hole, thus, plugging it shut. The strange roots went several meters down along the walls, so I knew early that the surface was getting closer. She was holding my hand, or rather, my arm, trying to drag me forward as fast as possible, so I half ran, half walked, when we finally entered the sunlight, walking out under, what looked like, a vault, made out of roots. Once again I was watching the plains. I just stood there, watched the grass flow like a great sea in the wind, how the sound seemed to blow through every creature, including me, how the sun slowly moved across the sky. Then suddenly, her eyes were just in front of me, two inch away. Looking down, I noticed a huge smile on her lips. So close.
"Lets run." she suddenly said, taking a hold of my arm, dragging me with her out into the open, and, after a while, I was indeed running, we both were. Faster and faster, the wind blowing against our faces, the sun greeting us in the west. A late afternoon, with nothing more to think of than running, the plains, and her.

 

Chapter 12: Wall of Water
It’s very late now. The sun is fading, far away, like a small, thin, slit of light. I see the shadows growing bigger and bigger from the trees around us. We are sitting by a small lake, located somewhere on the plains. Kehlani, the most wonderful being at this unique moment, is slowly untying my bandage. As I sit there, slowly feeling the bolts of pain, and watching the sun dissapear, I feel sorrow. Sorrow for my people, sorrow for all that have happened, all that will happen. Suddenly I feel lips touch my cheek. I turn around and watch her eyes. She can feel my sorrow, see my pain. We hold each other close, as the dark night arrives, falling asleep, with the quite sound of wind around us. The last thing I hear is the leaves rustle in the wind, as a breeze is coming in over the plains.
Rain!
The whole sky has opened itself, and water is pouring down all around us, over us… It’s morning, and we just woke up. A powerful storm has been gathering it’s forces during the night, preparing for the final surprise, preparing for the moment when it would unleash it’s mighty powers.. over us.
We are soaked to the bone, and at first we both tried to run for cover. And then suddenly we both realized that it was no use. There was no cover, and we would never reach any before we were totally soaked. So, I stand there in desparation, watching her, and notice her wonderful laugh. Her eyes glow, her lips and mouth, and arms…and soul, embracing the water. Her joy is slowly building up inside of me, and suddenly, as if we both had the same thought, we start to run, run away from the lake, into the wall of water, surrounding us, and once again… we dissapear out over the plains.
Like two children, we chase each other along the ground, laughing, ignoring the water, when suddenly, the sky once again change, suddenly, clouds part, and the glittering beams of light intrude into the realm of rain. We both stop. Watching the same thing. There, only a hundred meters away, is the hill. The place I lived in during my first month here.
I walk towards Kehlani, taking her hand into mine, pointing towards the old door. "Come, There is something I want to show you."

 

 

Chapter 13: The wall at the end
We are at the great library. For hours I have been explaining about the Art, the skill, our culture, our fascination for the writing. I have been showing her books, explained the principle about linking, how it all works. And she has been a remarkable student, watching with those brown eyes, innocent face, understanding every word I say. After that, we walk through the great halls of this complex, watching beautiful rooms, tunnels, art. As we walk down a long tunnel, one that I had no time to fully explore, she suddenly stop, watching a carved statue of stone, looking very much like a strange root, or a tree. I hadn’t noticed that before, so I too begun to study it, when suddenly she push something, and the statue dissapear into the wall, revealing a small passageway, an entrance. I stare in amazement, slowly feeling my sense of exploration kick in, when suddenly she kiss me, and step into the darkness.
I feel the loss immediately, and so I almost run into the tunnel, to get to be by her side again. But when I enter the tunnel, everything is dark. I can hardly see the hand before me. Hardy see where the tunnel goes. I start to feel my way forward, my right hand touching some kind of wooden panel, and then, a green light appears far away in the darkness. Then another, and another, coming closer. A small piece at a time, the tunnel become visible, as Kehlani walks towards me, touching the wall now and then, opening small bronze bowls, each containing a small firemarble. I now see the wooden panel beside me. A dark, almost black wood, running along the wall…like a border. Kehlani stops close to me, and hug my neck, kissing my cheek. We both turn our faces in, towards the untold secrets of the tunnel, slowly, walking down into the dim light.
I am so tired. We have been walking for days. At least it feels that way. She seems to feel no strain, but I am exhausted, so we choose to stop and rest. I think we have been walking for hours now, but I am not sure. The tunnel has led us around and around, up and down, along strange rivers, carved stairs, mystic slopes. And al the time, that black border has led us. Each tenth meter, we open a small lid on one of the bronze bowls, containing the firemarbles. It seems, that the longer we have walked here, the more the light glow of green. I now sit and watch a small birdlike creature. Kehlani found it while looking for something to eat, and it followed her here. At first I thought it was some kind of mregalon, since that is the only creature I’ve seen (apart from nets full of fish), but I was wrong in my assumptions. The birdlizard is a totally different creature, adapted to a life in these dark tunnels. But the more I watch it, the more confused I get about this. It seems to be able to use it’s tail as an extra support while climbing, and it seems to have small claws on it’s two front toes, as if it was used to climb a lot. That seems odd, and me and Kehlani have discussed this for the past hour. Our conclusion is that perhaps this creature actually live in the trees, but seek shelter down here during the day. And that means we must be close now. So, considering these new assumptions, I got more strength again. So after we had eaten, we once again begun our journey to the end of this secret corridor.
What is this? We have now been walking for almost a day, and suddenly the tunnel stops. Not ending in some great vault, or some strange door, or a cage…no…we can’t go any further, because of, a wall. The tunnel ends abruptly, and there is no sign of any door. Before us, there is a small bronze plate, with five small firemarbles, wielded or grown into the metal. These five flicker in strange colors, passing through the complete spectrum of light. One at the top, one on each side, and to below. But, when I try to touch them, they seem to melt inwards, as if the bronze was liquid, avoiding my touch. So I remove my hands, slowly, and not thinking of it, in a slow circle motion, passing near each one of the marbles. Suddenly the bronze liquid push out from the wall, moving towards me, so that almost ten inch protrudes from the wall. I try to touch it again, and this time it works, so I form it, slowly, like clay, thinking of what I wish to see, trees, large trees, like the ones on the plains. When I do this, a thins trunk, and roots, appear, forming, in that liquid. Kehlani helps me, forming the roots, while I imagine the crown, the leaves. And so, the image, the tree, freeze up, and I hear a tick from the other side of the wall…as if something slid into place. We both stand back, as the bronze float away, revealing a small window. At first, it’s only a buzz of colors, of shapes, but then an image appears, a great plain, a deep crack in the ground, a lake, and in the middle, a pillar of stone, hundreds of meters high, and then I notice the roots, entangled in the stone, surrounding the stone. Suddenly the image, the view, reach the top of the pillar, showing a magnificent tree, high and majestic, standing tall above the surrounding ground.
We both look at each other, and I can see her amazement, when she says: "kor-mahn".
I nod, and we both watch the image, kissing each other, and together, putting our hands on the glass.

 

 

Chapter 14: The Tree


to be continued...