During our travels, we have found many stories. Some recounting the everyday lives of the people of StatiumXCV, some being articles penned by historians about the major events which have defined our existence, while some are just collections of memories from those now long dead.
- 1 Valdus
- 2 Ursian
- 3 Maratasen
- 4 Saraven
- 5 Inarian
- 6 Tuleonetian
- 7 Masian
- 8 Concordium
- 9 Urix
- 10 Unlikely Partners
“Thou be not permitted here, turn back,” the husky voice growled.
Halfdan scuffed the ground with the tip of his boot, his movement dislodging a stone hidden in the gravel. Taking a deep breath, he looked up at the hulking bear-man who towered over him and met the black eyes staring down the long brown snout.
“It’s been a month since we heard anything from Jorviken,” Halfdan stated. He glanced over his shoulder at the mass of Valdus who had followed him here, seeking the comfort of their numbers.
“A month! With no word, no supplies, no food!” snapped a weathered old man shuffling up beside Halfdan.
“Lawspeaker!” a voice cried out, and Cyln turned slowly to find a young Valdus boy running after her, the wide-brimmed hat he wore bobbing unceremoniously with each stride. Cyln grunted on seeing his small frame and turned back to the road, adjusting the staff balanced on her shoulder to make the load swinging from it more comfortable.
“Lawspeaker!” the cry came again, more incessant. Cyln set her jaw and continued to walk. Angry shouts had followed her out of the town, and she was in no mood to hear the admonishments of a child.
Cyln reached the edge of town as the new day was dawning. She paused for a moment, uncertain about what she would do. Her breathing was shallow despite the long walk, but came out as a thick mist in the chill morning air.
Squaring her shoulders, she began to walk through the silent streets in the direction of the court. Around her, the houses were still, but their silence went beyond simple early morning sleepiness. There was an emptiness about them.
She had been in no hurry to reach the village. Conflicting emotions had struggled through her mind while she walked: anger, sadness, regret, shame. Above it all memory of the Valdus child plagued her, his face burned into her eyes. His pleading still rang in her ears. Where his eyes had once been hopeful, they were now glazed over, dead.
"There she is!" a voice in the crowd stated accusingly as the hulking Ursian appeared at the doorway to the courtroom. Then the cries fell silent. Cyln frowned as she looked around the gathered crowd of twenty something Valdus. Many glared back at her, however most could not hold her gaze and averted their eyes.
One golden haired woman at the rear of the room met Cyln's eyes, without flinching. The Ursian's gaze hesitated on her momentarily before looking away herself.
I am Mavaat. The decision has been made.
The mantra rolled around the warriors’ mind slowly, deliberately.
The clan lord has made a decision, and I, Mavaat will obey.
It continued to drift through his mind, though it gave him no comfort and no new insights.
Mavaat‘s massive furred hand dropped to the hilt of his Sereban and his claw traced the intricately carved symbols engraved on the hilt of the killing knife. These symbols bore his identity, his honor and the honor...
Malik paces about, only imagining what his destiny has in store for him. The simple, yet familiar power of the training area quickened his heart rate. Malik just can’t take his mind off of the future. His anxiety is overwhelming him as he contemplates just how remarkable of a warrior his father is. “How is it possible to surpass the best?” he asked to himself. The thought was uncomfortable, and he held up a quivering paw as the fear of failure set in.
The crackle of the gun sent Malik leaping forward. Deciding early to drop to all fours so that he could bound ahead more quickly, he delighted in the rush of speed. Logs and other obstacles rushed into view, and he had to react quickly to vault over them. Ropes, too, were added to the mix and these he had to crawl on his stomach to avoid.
ATTENTION: Dr. Corvan Anelius of The Charian Science and Preservation Committee
This is a distress call from Chancellor Aurok of Saraven Colony Delta 876JL. I am writing this to ask for your help in a dire situation. In recent months infants in the colony are being born with few to no feathers. Normally members of our race will lose their feathers through molting and gain new ones once entering adulthood. These afflicted children are not even being born with their first set of feathers. There are also reports of certain numbers of them dying since this strange illness causes the young to become very sickly, and most are unable to recover...
ATTENTION: Chancellor Aurok of Saraven Colony 876JL
I am sending this message to inform you that I am capable of assisting with your current situation. I do apologize for the delay between my reading of your distress signal and the subsequent response. At that time I was busy on another planet investigating an outbreak with possible viral implications. What instantly held my attention while reading about your dilemma was its striking similarity to the problem my organization and I were recently attempting to diagnose and counteract...
I closed my data terminal with a rapidly increasing sense of relief, and let out a breath I didn’t even realize I had been holding. Dr. Corvan had sent a message saying he would be on the planet within a day. My mind began to race ahead, imagining the people being cured of the blight, their feathers shining and healthy on their wings as they soared the skies once more...
The engines roared to life as the research vessel Synapse left the star port. Dr. Anelius Corvan immediately awoke from his light slumber as he regained his senses. His reflection in his datapad showed that his neon blue and yellow implants had faded in his many years as a geneticist. "Ahh yes, now where was I?" he said to himself as he began to remember the last thing he had been doing. In front of him was a bright blue holographic display of all the data Chancellor Aurok had given him on the virus affecting her people.
"Hmm, very interesting," he mused...
“I’ve come to a decision about the avian specimens, everybody, meet me in the conference room at once please.” He announced over the ship’s intercom. Everyone filed in and sat down to hear the announcement.
“We have all been hard at work trying to determine the precise cause behind this disease and have come up with nothing. We have gathered much in the way of environmental and situational data but I’m at a loss. I am unable to offer an acceptable conclusion as to why these young are thus affected by this affliction, and without being able to establish the causality, a cure is impossible and death is therefore inevitable."
Chancellor Aurok stood with immense anticipation as Synapse made its way to the landing pad adjacent to her primary office. She almost shook with excitement over finally being able to meet Dr. Corvan and his research team so they could begin finding a cure. This could be our salvation, Alestra! Hadjara, bless us.
“Greetings. I am Dr. Anelius Corvan of the Charian Preservation Committee. You are Chancellor Aurok, correct?”
“Ahh….urgh…Chancellor Aurok! It would seem I made a most heinous choice as far as my own health is concerned." Corvan gasped, waking me from my reverie. His blue and yellow implants glowed faintly. I gave him a tired smile, pleased that he had emerged from the coma. Still he gave me hope that he would survive the grievous wounds he had taken.
"Are you well?” he said, looking over at me concern in his bloodshot eyes.
“It’s only for a month…” She reassured him, wrapped in his loving arms.
“A month far too long, if you ask me…” He responded, admiring her long, rich auburn hair as he rubbed the lobe of her perfect Inarian ear. “Oh, how I wish you didn’t have to stay.”
“I wish I didn’t either, but remember that it’s to show off your gift. You’ve honed it far beyond what it used to be. You’ll be able to silence your critics with awe this time. If you don’t go, you will forever live in fear of their spiteful words. Besides, you’ll be back before I know it, right?”
“Care for a beverage, sir?” the Gervian flight attendant asked.
Francis sat with one arm folded, the other holding a piece of parchment in front of him. “I’m certain you will find it to display the-”
“Err, sir?” she kindly interrupted.
His fixation on the paper broke and he stared at her blankly, lost in thought. Her long brown hair was pulled back and it reminded him of Odette’s. He then shook his head and laughed, realizing he had yet to reply to the young woman.
“This is perfect.” Odette said, holding his hand as she stared at the starry sky with her beloved Francis.
He traced the smooth grooves of her slender fingers. “Yes. Yes, it is.” he grinned. Odette turned to see he had been staring at her with great fascination. His gaze refused to waver and she smiled, looking back to the stars to watch as one soared by.
Francis suddenly broke from their hold and wriggled strangely. He rolled over onto his stomach, clawing at his lower back. “Ah! This meadow’s greens are so itchy!” Odette couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the sight of him.
Francis opened his eyes slightly, his eyelids feeling as though they were bags of sand. His view was blurred, although he could make out a panicked crew and a loud voice over the intercom. “Everyone, remain calm!”
His eyes fell closed once again, his head throbbing.
“I repeat, remain calm!”
“You’ve got to be kidding me…” Fernand sighed as he left the door hanging wide open, and walked into the darkness.
She needs to get up, she must! I can’t just leave her to turn.
Odette stirred and let out a small sound as she nestled deeper into her beddings.
Fernand sat in his study, the room lit just as the incense burned before him. He studied the smoke as it slowly rolled and spread through the air. He listened to the wisps of smoke as they sang to him, whirling until they faded.
“How curious, to be one of you.” He said aloud, lowering his gaze and resting his chin upon his desk.
“You’re not much different than I...”
“You are a Springbreeze?” The incorporeal voice asked, the pitch hiding a hint of surprise. “Do you know an Azzar Springbreeze?”
“Yes” she replied, looking around. She stood alone in a square room. In front of her was a clear desk and an empty chair. The room was clearly meant to be small office, startling only due to the eerie blackness which permeated through the open window. It was barely midday, so light should have been streaming inside.
“She is... was, my mother.”
“I see,” a pause, and the voice dipped an octave, “and what makes you think you are suitable for this expedition?”
She then felt a comfortable coolness touch her mind, and suddenly the room faded into darkness.
"The world is raining like tears" thought Ran.
Sitting in the speeding tram watching the bustle of the city blur by his window, Ran whispered to himself, "I have failed them".
"Who am I?" thought Ran defiantly, a moment of anger rising from his chest. "I am Ran Chedayin of the Chedayin Ascendants. We are fifth family of the grand Ascendency. There was tradition to uphold, there were expectations."
Ran sighed. The sense of unmet expectations almost a physical weight on his shoulders as he watched the marvels of Masian engineering and architecture whisk by his moisture streaked window.
The tram slowed and came to a halt with a gentle lurch, unloading and loading passengers. Ran was barely aware of others in his section, his gaze settling on a tree. Confined to an elaborate decorated planter, the tree is withering as it strains unsuccessfully against the confines of the artificial barrier.
"I am that Tree" Ran thought to himself.
"I am a biologist, I make things grow. I do not build or fix THINGS, I work with LIFE!"
The cool, crisp air filled the field as the scent of blood started to contaminate it. It was mid-afternoon and the battalions were having a rough time with the constant bombardment of artillery at their bunkers.
“Judoc, they be closing in on us!” cautioned Bricius, urgently peering over the firing gallery. Piercing plasma arrows seemed to take the place of the light as they soared into the bright orange sun hindering the vision of the squad. Through the barrage, sleek reptilian figures could be seen picking their way across the no man's land separating the two armies, their many spikes and scales the epitome of nightmare.
“Sergeant Bricius, take Herodotos and Seti and flank up there!” the rugged Ursian captain commanded, nodding to the right. Then suddenly, he ducked aside with a curse as a steaming plasma arrow buried itself in the concrete where his head had been seconds before.
Judoc watched dispassionately as the Concordium line suddenly broke and his soldiers began retreating from the battle, abandoning their trenches. Many scrambled over comrades in their desire to escape. The Urix behind them ecstatically filled the abandoned position and began to pour fire at the backs of their retreating enemy.
He kept his eyes on the scene with rapt attention, turning away with great reluctance only upon hearing a great disturbance from the top of the hill. A heavy weapon had been unleashed and he watched fascinated as the odd energy bolt flickered over the summit before it became eerily quiet. With a final worried glance, he turned back to his own fleeing allies below.
Without warning, huge pillars of light appeared all over the recently captured trenches, each beam being about the size of five Ursians standing side to side. One or two beams missed their target, but were quickly streamed into position. Judoc looked back up at the top of the hill and imagined that he could see Seti telepathically calling in the orbital strikes.
“Wha… what has Ivaneq done?” I ask, my mind trying to register the sight before me.
There’s my brother, towering over Mitul’s bloodied body, our leader. But, I can't believe it. This isn’t happening. We’ve come so far! Too far! Only for my own brother to ruin all of this? The reason we have practiced our restraint. There can be no coming back from this. Everything is about to change.
- Listed under the Gervian profile.
"What about the markings? The old ones found on some of the gates?” the Charian cried out, desperation lacing his voice.
“If my findings are correct, then there was, in fact, something far more ancient than the Concordium overshadowing us all!"
2. The Deal(by Gareth Kay)
- The Gervian short story introduction.
“Do you have it?” Aelius enquired.
“That would depend upon the connotation of ‘it’. If by that you refer to the funds required for this transaction, then yes.” Quinisbert replied, tugging at a tuft of his fluorescent green hair. Aelius rolled his eyes as the he spoke. Aelius hated how long these negotiations with Charians always took. Nothing was ever simple with them.
- Listed under the Charian profile.
“Why would you help me?” Aelius growled, leaning forward and holding his lighter protectively before him, his thumb twitching on the ignition.
“Gratitude?” the Charian replied with a low chuckle. He remained hidden in the shadows of the room, sitting at a desk the lamp aimed at their visitor. Before him was an empty seat, behind which the Gervian stood guardedly.
“How can I trust that? I don’t even know you!” came the reply, a note of stress in the voice.
“Oh but you do...” the Charian leant forward then, bringing his face into the light.
- The Urix short story introduction.
"You expected this?!" Ulloriaq snapped, bristling. She could feel blood rush to her neck scales and knew that they would be flushing red. She took a deep breath which was audible as a series of quick sniffs and forced her heart rate to slow.
"No." Ilippa Nuk replied, looking away into the distance his eyes unfocused. The short answer surprised Ulloriaq, and she waited for him to elaborate. When he did not, she was about to demand an explanation, but sensing her irritation he raised a claw to prevent her.
- Listed under the Urix profile.
Ulloriaq pressed herself against the wall with gritted teeth. She could hear the Gervian voices nearby and she had to fight to suppress the temptation to rush out and gut them. Ever since the murder of Ilippa Nuk three weeks ago all she had lived for was death.
"Nalun, Nalun Ituinarpoq," she breathed to herself, forcing her heart to calm, "patience, patience everlasting".
Despite her best efforts, her knuckles tightened around the knife in anticipation. She didn't just want to kill, she needed to. Ulloriaq closed her eyes and rested her head against the wall. Enveloping herself in darkness, she felt her breathing slow and her hearing heightened.
"... toreekto... pytho... toreekto..."