Adding sentences, lines, words to multiple stories, is a little like sitting in the mist, or the dark, swapping from one to the next, have to remember to change tact from windward to a reach. So please accept these rough offerings as a little light entertainment, minus the rest of the stories.
“Broken Light” (continued MFR Project) – following previously
As the C130 clears off towards the horizon, three Land Drovers pull up where the team have gathered at the side of the bush strip. A number of men and women clamber out and approach the MFR team, some in military uniform, and others in civilian clothes. But all looked as though they had not slept for the last two days, for between the earthquakes, aftershocks, and the sense that heavy rains are approaching, life for them has been around the clock rescue and recovery.
“Welcome to HK4. Your team seems to of arrived just in time to help out, we are running no sleep at the moment, and with the scale of the disaster across the whole country, aid and emergency services are thin on the ground all over.” As the Major finishes welcoming, Jordi and the team, a single motorbike is charging at top speed from across the other side of the valley floor, a long trail of dust in its rider’s wake. Two of the soldiers with the major, raise their assault weapons. The Major signals then to lower their guns, for no one has made it across to the far side of the valley yet, and so they have no idea of the peoples needs, for this will the first contact and opportunity to garner any information or details.
As the rider gets closer, they see the gathering and veers in their direction at a much slower pace, the dust begins to settle behind them as they arrive dismounting from an old hefty Russian motorcycle, some ten metres from the group. Having no helmet on, while walking towards the group, the rider unwraps a long dark coloured, decorative scarf from around their head and face, to reveal a young woman of around 22, 23 years of age. The major welcomes her, as they step to the side in a discussion using one of the mountain dialects, further introductions go on between the MFR and the Major’s teams.
Soon the discussion breaks between the rider and the Major, and they rejoin the group. The Major announces that we have an urgent emergency on the other side of the valley, in the lower foothills of the mountains. He gestures the young woman to step forward, and speak up, for she is the only one that knows what lies ahead to get there, and what dire straits the three villages in her district are currently facing.
Snare’s challenge (continued Splintered Lands) – following previously
“Mum, Mum, what’s happening, who are these people, why are they stealing from and hurting us?”
“Don’t worry about that now Son, take your brothers to the Coral Cavern in the south.” “Joel! Now! Take Snare and Kwika, and collect anyone you can, and be safe.”
“Mum, what about you and Dad, come too?”
“Joel, we have to go get your father’s, Mother, uncle and aunt out of where these un-natural beasts are tearing the heart out of our land, before the fires take hold.” “You and your brothers go,! And grab anyone you can, now!”
Parting with a hug from his mother, and his father yelling take care of your brothers son, Joel grabs his siblings by the hand, and darts out from behind the family shelter, collecting whatever young ones as he makes his way to the south end of the village and into the tropical jungle. Disappearing up a narrow path into dense undergrowth, Joel and his small following of brothers, family and other youth run as fast as they can to the south of their homeland.
Back at the family shelter, Aubrey and Nitty decide, it’s now or never. Moving quickly from shelter to shelter, heading towards the north edge of the village, they vanish into the churned up dust of the earth that once slept beneath the homes of their ancestors.
Snare’s thoughts, suddenly jolt back into reality as other foresters arrive on the scene from close by, gathering his strength, although a little battered, he stands to his feet. Questions from the other foresters come thick and fast, as a couple of them tend to his wounds. Still dazed, Snare offers them no explanation as to the circumstance he is found in, for an acid seems to of dissolved what had crashed and all the remains of the Un-naturals, leaving only the scorched earth and a torn and open space in the forest.
Snare knows that what has just happened is just the beginning, possibly a failure this time on the part of the Un-naturals, but they’ll be back, and in larger numbers, for they never stop until a land is but a cavity in the ocean floor. On the brighter side though, he has heard rumours of a Great Gathering to take place in the months ahead on the land of Isles, a faraway place, but a strong people. Here is where Snare will now be making for, as is the right of those of The League of Orphans Collective, to attend all Great Gatherings.
A number of the foresters begin to turn the scorched earth, as is the practice after fire, to aid the forest in its recovery and rejuvenation of the vast naked space that arrived in almost an instant and left no trace of cause. A friend, another forester, Traralegon assists Snare in returning to his earthen home, back deep in the forest, far from this now vivid nightmare at the front of his mind, they travel quickly on foot, as that is the foresters way. Traralegon is a tall girl of around 89 seasons, and is a daughter of Koice, a being of ancient legend from the time of the great upheaval, she is part plant, part human, and originally of a tribe far to the south.
Traralegon, while moving through the forest tells Snare, “Word is spreading across our small marble of mud and water, that Koice is gathering an army, and that they have been seeking out other ancients from the time of the upheaval, to rise against the un-naturals.”
Ava’s Descent (part of Splintered Lands)
As the moon of the late evening sets in the west, a fresh chill picks up in the air. Three teenage girls are climbing, working their way to the top of a small mountain above their village on the small continent of Andes Minor. Ava, Rocio, and Cyn, are on the mountain taking part in a self imposed rite of passage, for soon Ava will travel across The Fresh Sea to another land.
The girls having been friends since birth, set themselves a challenge, to climb top of Mount Autmi to watch the sunrise and dance in the new rays of a fresh day, before anyone in the village wakes.
As the girls near an overhang before the top just clear from the tree-line, a deep rumbling sound from the other side of the mountain shakes the ground they’re standing upon. Then a roar and crushing of rock over head, as a Dark Sea Resource Marauder takes the top five metres off the mountain. Followed closely by demonic looking Forest Headers.
Cyn yells, “Hide! Quick!”
“No, we got to get out of here!” Rocio shouts back at her. “These phantoms will take more than just the mountain and trees, we’ve got to get back home and warn everyone; now!”
“No time, we need to stay where we are and find cover somewhere,” says Cyn, in an anxious raised voice.
“Take it easy you pair, we should at least get off the side of this rock,” snaps Ava, losing her footing as the mountain shakes from another hit.
“Look, there’s no time to debate this,” shouts Rocio, and with these words, Rocio does not wait. Taking off down the side of Mount Autmi at break neck speed, almost tumbling with every stride she makes.
Ava turns to Cyn, “Well, are you coming?” As they both launch after Rocio, whom has now entered the tree-line, temporarily vanishing from view. Cyn and Ava, slide and stumble down through the rock scree, just barely managing to keep upright, as they too enter the cover of the tree-line.
Rocio pauses for a moment as she hears the other two coming down behind her. Looking back behind, in the direction her friends, Rocio shouts, “Hurry up you pair, these phantoms aren’t going to wait for us. Then from nowhere, a high-speed rotating saw drops down into the forest, slamming into Rocio, severing her left arm, high towards the shoulder.
Standing in shock for a moment, Rocio collapses to the ground, lapsing into unconsciousness. Ava and Cyn watch in horror, as they sprint towards their friend, grabbing her limp body and dragging her behind the cover of an ancient fallen tree.
Ava struggles to stop the bleeding from the bloodied stump of Rocio’s left arm, using the hemp cloth of her shirt, and nearby vine to apply a tourniquet.
“Ava, we have to find a safer place to hide,” says Cyn, as she gathers some medicinal moss from nearby to apply to Rocio’s arm.
“There’s an old cave, about a hundred metres over in that direction,” says Ava as she points to her left down the mountain. “It leads through to the other side of the range.” “How is Rocio?”
“Not good, I think the bleeding has slowed, but she is still out cold,” says Cyn.
“Let’s see if we can get her to the cave with us?” asks Ava.
Both able-bodied girls manage to get Rocio to her feet; struggling with her, they manage to get about thirty metres closer to the cave before the bleeding starts again. Stopping, they lay Rocio down underneath a small rocky outcrop behind some larger trees.
“We can’t make it to the cave the way she is, and there and there is not enough cover here for all of us either,” says Cyn.
Ava stems the flow of blood from Rocio’s arm again. “Quick!” Ava says. “Gather up as many branches and leaves as you can, we can hide Rocio here, and then come back for her after waiting out for the Phantoms down in the cave.”
The two girls manage to hide Rocio from view, collecting some forest food, and leaving a small water bag with her, for when she wakes. Cyn and Ava then head for the cave, but they have been ignoring what has been going on above them. For now the ominous dark clad phantoms have seek and capture parties on the ground in pursuit of them.
Running as fast as they can, the girls try to evade them as they dart up into the cave. Ava makes it to the entrance of the cave, and turns up a small side passage out of sight from her pursuers. A net from a high-powered weapon catapults a net at Cyn. Catching her by the ankles, Cyn stumbles and falls, crashing head first into loose rocks.
Ava can hear Cyn’s screams, but she is to frightened to try to rescue her long time friend, and now she also fears for Rocio. So desperately hoping, the camouflage is enough to keep her other friend from sight.
Ava waits out the remainder of the day and a night in the cave, and as morning breaks, she ventures out to find the phantoms have left, and her friend Cyn nowhere to be seen. Ava suddenly remembers Rocio, and races to the rocky outcrop.
“Rocio, Rocio! I’m back,” shouts Ava, as she reaches the location, only to find, Rocio gone also. But not due to the phantoms, for the area is covered in strange tracks to her, but she remembers seeing markings like these in dirt before. A long time ago, when she was all but five years of age, they were strange happenings.
Ava sits upon the rocky outcrop, “Why me? My two dearest friends have left my side. I dare not think what waits for me at home. Is everyone going to be still at the village? Mum, Dad, my father’s brothers, sisters;. I fear to tread a step in that direction, for what might be,” Ava says aloud, as she sits and ponders a few moments longer.
“No time to waste, I have to see.” Ava once again is off down through the mountain forest, running with not a care for self preservation, not even the vine scrub near the base of the mountain can prevent her from making the village, as she dives head first, slashing with her arms to open small gaps to pass through.
Making it clear of the forest, Ava struggles to have the energy to run up the small grass hill that her village is nestled behind. With legs so tired, a body covered with cuts and abrasions, Ava finally greets the top; the site, is one of devastation, and not a single body or person to be found in sight. Ava wanders through the now burnt and broken homes of her people, checking every possible place, turning over and looking under everything she passes. Finally, she reaches her home; it is completely burnt to the ground.
Ava sees a small wooden stool turned over near by, it was that of her baby brother. Walking over, Ava sets the stool upright again and sits upon it. Pondering how alone and orphaned she is now; tears begin to roll down her cheeks.
A tiny whisper of an excited voice penetrates the tears, “Ava, Ava, don’t cry, we’re here..” As five children of various ages with earth, leaves and sticks through their hair stand in front of Ava, smiling, for they were the small few that made it to the village’s earth hide in time to be safe. Ava stands up to hug her little brother and all the other children. “It’s just us now, but we’re going to be okay, we have each other.”
Deciding not to stay, as the marauders might come back to plunder more of the land, forest, and mountain, Ava, her brother, and the other four children, collect what they can by way of food, clothing, and items needed for a journey through the winding cave of the mountains. For it is a route of many days travel on foot, in order to make a new life at the edge of The Pacifikaa, far to the west.
Making their way up through the woodlands of the lower foothills, the small group hurry to make the entrance of the ancient winding cave. Some call it the cave of winding darkness and light, for it cuts a zigzag path through three mountain ranges, with brief breaks into daylight between mountains, before coming out on to a vast expanse of costal plain. But what lays ahead for the small group is uncertain, for Ava has only heard stories from her uncles, whom have only ever been as far as the mountain village of Yataco