Could be asleep, typing random messages instead.

*** Through ***

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User avatar NicolasEymerich
Skaarj Warrior Skaarj Warrior
Posts: 98
Joined: 11 Nov 2007, 21:38

Subject: *** Through ***

Post Posted: 02 Jul 2008, 19:31

- Through - (Name Pending)

Prologue

July 18th, 1932. Kabzjeg, Kazakistan.

“Dear colleague, and friend, this is a joyous day. After almost one month, we managed to decode those ancient hieroglyphs. Your support in this achievement has been essential. Hopefully, the progress we made in deciphering this language will bring us to unveil the histroy beneath this place.
As you noticed, the signs aren’t of an Indoeuropean origin, nor they decline through the Persian root. Quite strange, indeed, since they seem to be more similar to those archaic roots of the Aegyptian structure you exposed in your last letter.
But now it’s not time to turn our gaze on the past. We have a newborn discover between our hands. At last, the place everyone here calls Nyatch Rammack, Shrine of Those Beyond the Hide ( I tried to translate it properly, believe me, but there’s no way to make it sound as the original expression, which is definitely allegoric, and has nothing to do with the Kazakan culture.) will now open in front of us.
Oh, I wish you were here, truly. I’ll write you again as soon as I’ll be able to describe what I’ll see in a decent manner.
Yours,
Therese Haap”

Still grabbing the letter in his hand, Giles Rayne noticed through the swift and cold rain that the car finally had reached the excavation. The barren, dirty moor wrought by the holes dug in a project that lasted almost six months, once maybe hardly reached by a human step, now was full of uniforms, tents, and soldiers of the RAF. None of them had actually an idea why that place so numb and desert had to be considered such an issue for the British Crown to send an entire squadron of well trained men with only a “confidentiality clause” and a vague, foggy amount of details about some kind of woman disappeared with her crew during the exploration of a tomb, four months ago.

- Four months – Giles said, almost mechanically, while getting off the car, readily greeted by a tough men with an evident harshness spread through his pale welcome.
- Four months! – repeated Giles, almost angrily, to him, without even hearing his welcome, and willingly ignoring his big, square right hand held to him. – Four months! – now the anger, and the frustration in Giles’ voice was evident, while waving the letter in front of the other’s face – And you hid it all! It wasn’t the postal service! No letters from her in four months! No messages at the University! You hid it all! You hid she had disappeared, that you were spying the whole operation, and never thought about me, her nearest colleague and friend. – Only at this moment, a man in uniform held him an umbrella, trying to say that they had to reach the main quarters. But Giles was unstoppable, since that was all the rage accumulated during an endless and wearing journey, with that only letter to calm him down and remanding his fears.

- Dear mr Rayne, I’m truly mortified for our lack of organization. If you accept to follow me, I’ll gladly explain everything. Sure, we could have informed you before, but... well... believe me, we had reasons not to spread the voice about the accident before. Also, I hope you acted accordingly to what I asked you. –
- What? –
- I mean... – he was almost delicate, at this point. – not to talk to anyone about this. You know, it’s crucial that no one else could know about this. It’s certainly better for us and... for her. –
- For her. –
- Dear mr Rayne, let me lead you to the camp. It has been a long road, you’re surely tired, and anxious, I understand that. But I also know that if you’ve come here, it’s not because you are only willing to rant about our previous lack of tact, for what I’ve already apologized. –
Giles Rayne took a deep breath. About three or four times during that travel, he swore himself that he would hardly forgive someone hiding that kind of truth, but he noticed that the man with him was indeed right, that was no good behaving like a desperate, hysterical husband, or the like. He didn’t know the real purpose of all that military force, while he was pretty sure they weren’t there for Therese. But he was.
- For Therese, true. – And began to follow that man, under the clutch of the rain.


-You know, with a glass of Brandy, everything becomes more bearable. –
- I didn’t hear your name before, though. – While being bigger, and better furnished than most of the other tents Giles managed to peek during the walk, it still wasn’t clearly hospital, and water was soaking slowly in from a hole near his chair.
- Raphael Mosses. Oh, and I apologize for the condition we are currently dwelling but... this is what our Crown has accomplished to donate for our noble purposes. –
- Quit apologizing, Mr Mosses. I followed you only because I expect to hear you say that we are going to take her back, wherever she is. Now tell me how, and when. – the Brandy flared into his mouth, not really trained in handling alcoholics.
- It’s a good to see you so motivated. We made a good choice in inviting you here. Well, the matter is... we know you helped Mrs Haap translating the language carved on the door of that tomb. –
- It’s not a tomb, Mr Mosses, it’s something different. –
- For the RAF, it may be a pharmacy, that doesn’t matter. What you have to do, is to translate the code, and open that door. We tried with explosives, nitroglycerin, and it didn’t move an inch. –
- Therese described it as a metallic material with a surprising resilience to heat, cold, and collisions. And there is a sort of magnetic anomaly which leads to a topic at the centre of the structure, which we don’t absolutely know how much does it extend in the ground. –
- Can you open that door, Mr Rayne? –

While that question had an obvious, and hopeful answer, Giles Rayne took more or less one week to decipher only enough of that not so primitive language to start recognizing some recurrent words in the inscriptions at each side of the door.
The structure itself, or better, what Therese and her team managed to bring to the light, was a smooth metallic surface about twelve metres high, and twice as wide. The wall was cold to the touch, and there wasn’t the slightest sign of time on it.
Also, and that was definitely something he began growing truly curious about, he noticed (from what he could remember by his geological studies) that the rocks around the structure seemed to be somehow different from the ground around the area. Sure, it could have been a side effect of a continuous exposure to a strong magnetism, but digging through his memory he hardly found something that happened to completely justify that behaviour.

The seventh night, Giles heard cautious steps approaching him. During his first days in Kabzjeg, Raphael Mosses was more or less always with him, leaving him alone only late at night. Fortunately, soon Mr Mosses lost interest in always asking him how the work was going, just to be answered that things are complicated, and hard to decipher with so little text to work with. The real answer, though, was that his obsessive questions wasn’t helping his translation at all, and he found quite unbearable studying hieroglyphs without his usual complete silence and that pleasant scent of tea of his afternoons in his Plymouth’s house.
That night, though, wasn’t Mosses.
- Tobacco, Mr Rayne? – it was a younger voice, more friendly than he could have expected.
- No, thanks. –
- Oh, well... Do you find it interesting, don’t you? –
- What? –
Giles was examining a piece of shiny metal with red signs that only in that moment began to make sense.
- This... this place. What have you discovered? –
Giles got almost scared when that man crouched only few centimetres from his face, and started watching those red signs just like him.
- So, what? –
- I thought you soldiers had anything to do but studying ancient languages. –
- True, that’s why I ask to you. –
Giles smiled.
- Alan Compton, pleased to meet you. –
It was the first hand he shaked in the last months. Alan couldn’t be more than twentyfive, a tall guy with a shrewd expression that seemed completely out of place into that tan-coloured uniform with the Royal Air Force ornaments on those skinny shoulders.
- Well... it’s hard to tell. There are a few words that repeat through the inscriptions. Some may have sense in our language, such as “stars”, “coordinates”, “system”. Numbers, maybe. ... this one, for example. I could almost be sure it’s a two, and this one – and he pointed a sign similar to a “U” – this is a zero. –
- Two, zero.. –
- A date, or a location, perhaps, but given that I don’t even know whether this culture uses an Euclidean geometry, I can’t tell how much this could interest us. This door has some sort of code. This is what I’m trying to find. –
Surprisingly enough, Alan was truly interested. He followed each word with his acute blue eyes, and he didn’t ask anything like “Euclidean what?”. Giles never knew he truly knew about Euclides, but he was pleased to trust him.
- The problem is, most of these words have no corrspondence in our vocabulary. Proper nouns, maybe, such as this one – and his finger laid on a big “F” shaped symbol with two commas on the left. – this one sounds like “Skaarj”. I wonder what does this mean. –
- Well... it doesn’t sound good to me. -


The Savior and the Victim

***Hall of Tied Fates, Tower of Shrakith’a, Na Pali. 2107 E.A.D. (Equivalent Anno Domini)

- Master Nyulma, will you tell us what is the Oracle’s response? –
Still knelt in the sacred water of the Shrine, almost in a complete darkness, the High Nali Priest Nyulma lifted his eyes from distant images he only could see, fading away like distracted dreams. A small audience of other clerics was waiting, silent, for the Ritual of Foreseeing to be ended.
Despite how serene, and peaceful, that moment could appear, everyone of them knew that was only the Arcane presence in the room that was relieving their hearts from pain, and desperation. They knew that the darkness of that room was nothing, compared to the obscure days, just outside the Tower, in each town, village, and house of Na Pali.
Then, the High Priest spoke. – A hard choice awaits us all. Now, and many times again in our future, we’ll have to rely on the strength of someone whose blood isn’t Nali. –
- Master Nyulma, that means Krall will join our cause? I can hardly believe it. –
- No, Brother. Krall blood is weak, hardly fed by the sole promise of peace and prosperity. The Oracle found a different kind, who inhabits a land many godsteps* far from Na Pali. – the images of that fertile planet appeared once again in Nyulma’s mind, then vanished. – Two-handed people, with pale skin and hairs on their heads, as the Oracle showed me. Their Spirit, their Mind, are strong, and most of all, they are free. Free to act for the Good or the Evil as they choose to do, and capable of dying for it, of waiting a whole life to achieve their purpose, of spending a whole life pursuing their questions. They are able to kill, and to forgive their killers. They are those we will trust. –
- Master, how could we convince them to help us? As you said, they are a free people. Do you think our Tarydium will be enough to buy their life? Is a people so fierce, but so stupid to trade his life for our crystals? –
- Well... – Nyulma nodded his head, afraid of saying too much . – It may happen, though, that some of their kind may value himself so little. But we don’t need the weakest part of the whole. There are Humans, as the Oracle called them, that will help us choosing freely to do that. –
- Will they? ... –
- Yes. The Oracle never doubts, as long as no lies are asked to It. –
- How will we choose the right ones, Master Nyulma? –
- The Oracle says that they are already chosen, from the very first time. Our only duty is to let them know it. –

[*A Godstep is a Nali unit of measure representing the distance between the two major moons of Na Pali. For human reference, this equals circa 700,000 kilometres, even if among different Nali tribes this value may vary of about a 20 – 25 percent. ]

***August 8th, 1918 – Amiens, France.

*A people so fierce, but so stupid*
There is no time to think, when War strikes your limbs and pulls your Faith on the ground, buried by lifeless bodies of people with no name other than the one of their faction, and no purpose other than the one of their uniform.
Alan Compton felt quite surprised of himself, thinking about the sense of fighting while projectiles were flying just a few inches above his lying body and his mouth was smelling a soil drenched with blood. Explosions, screams, cries of pure pain were breaching his ears, while the battle was enraging everywhere around him.
Not older than twenty, Compton wasn’t used at all to find the recklessness of combat fitting his muscles. He was lying there from half an hour, more or less, just hoping not being harmed, and not to be forced to harm. He already killed, during the World War. And he punctually threw up few hours after.
*We don’t need the weakest part of the whole*
- Compton! Son of a f***ing b**ch! Soldier Compton! –
The voice arrived like an echo through the bullets. A body fell a few inches from him, dirty, worn, with his Lee Enfield shotgun in his right hand. The body was swearing words almost unrecognizable, staring at him like trying to waking him up with his gaze.
- Compton! Are you f***ing crazy? Take your gun and go ahead! You won’t get any German head lying here! –
- William.... –
- Lieutenant Barclay, Soldier! Obey, man, or you’ll eat German sh*t tonight. –
- I .... am .... –
*They are already chosen, from the very first time*
A small black spot in the dust floating through the battlefield. What Alan Compton peeked just for a little second, while trying to stand up against his fears, was just a small dark dot growind bigger and getting nearer fast as gravity was taking that deadly teardrop towards them.
All of a sudden, Alan Compton dropped his shotgun, and hurled towards Barclay, just a few seconds before that grenade fell near them. All of a sudden, everything became pain. Pure pain.
Lieutenant Barclay saw Compton lying upon him, his shrewd blue eyes still open, his mouth tied in a terrible smile, his stomach a few metres far.
*Our only duty is to let them know it.*



- Earth Gate Operation -

Still crouched under a pale spotlight, with his notes on the right leg and a small piece of metal with red symbols held in his left hand, Giles started wondering, almost to himself, on the nature of whole place. He felt quite uncomfortable in its proximity, as if the structure itself was keeping him away from its secrets.
- I’ve been here for a long time, Alan, and still don’t get whether this place may really be a tomb. Something... awful, and obscure, lies beyond that door. Have you ever felt so worried about something you don’t even know? -
Alan, smoking some steps away, answered with a whisper, just as he didn’t want to be heard by anyone else: - Yes, I know that feeling. A soldier’s life is full of moments like these. You never know which bullet will kill you, you know.-
- Indeed. Even if no one ever shot at me, I can get what you mean. I’m feeling like this. I haven’t got the slightest idea of what lies behind this door, apart from what I’ve guessed from the letters of Therese. Some sort of den, a huge sarcophagus for “Those behind the hide”. – Mr Rayne started whispering, too, as he thought someone past that door could hear him – but... who? There’s no trace in any culture for such an epithet. We’re not talking about divine entities such as Pharaohs, or spiritual possessions like in the animist religion. And... metal? This tomb surely have been lying here from centuries, but look at this piece of metal, its edges. It has been cut from a circular saw, not forged by a blacksmith; it’s too sharp, and smooth, and the whole place is like this plate. Hundreds of metal panels sealed together with lead and copper, where there would be no reason not to build a stone wall. – Why he was saying all this to Alan, he couldn’t tell. But he needed to share his sensations with someone other than Mosses, who could still hardly trust.
- Not to tell, what I’ve interpreted so far. I still can’t get all these words, but I’m astonished seeing that most of them refer to something that is completely wrong in this place. Listen: “Guardian of the gate” ... and this could be right, but then: “lead the slaves to the airfield, ... chains ... mines in the colony of sector”.... and a name that I can’t understand... Airfield? We’re not in front of something coming from the past. I’m pretty sure. –
- Interesting. –
Giles had a shiver. It was Mosses’ voice.
- Mr Mosses .... I was saying.... –
- I know what you were saying. I only wonder if you are used to speak by yourself. –
Alan, indeed, had silently disappeared, without being noticed. Giles was about to ask Mosses about him, but, quite instinctively, held those words in his mouth.
- Mr Rayne, I’m glad you understood this by yourself. It’s time I show you something. Come with me. –

*Slaves, held in chains, and taken to the place called Triskaden. Slaves, like my brothers. You’re not far from the truth, Chosen. I only hope that its gaze won’t hurt you too bad.*

Raphael Mosses came back with a black case, and put it gently on the table. Without saying a word, opened the coded lock, and slowly, as unveiling a treasure, showed the content to Giles.
Inside, he found a small black artifact, not bigger than a book, with a glass screen on the left and dozens of little buttons on the right, most of them representing a symbol he had become quite familiar with.
Even if his previous speculations might have prepared Giles to such a sight, he couldn’t prevent himself of being completely speechless for about a minute, in which he stared at that complex, and at the same time, linear, and modern shape. It was obvious, he thought, that it wasn’t a blacksmith’s effort. But he couldn’t absolutely tell who, on Earth, could be capable of carving metal and glass (was that glass? It looked like, but it wasn’t reflecting light as glass do.) in that way.
- What.... what is that? –
- A book. More or less. I hope you might discover more than we already know, mr Rayne. – then, cautiously, pushed a small round button on its side. The screen flashed for one second with a green light, and then a red writing appeared.
“Skaarj Empire.”
- Please, Giles. Go on. – Mosses pushed again that button, and the screen showed a page full of small characters. – Read it to me. –

Stopping from time to time, Giles read:
“Earth Gate Operation, day sixteen. Commander Kherax log: The portal inspection has been completed. The gate is 100% functional. Battery shortcut in area 1c has been fixed. Work could have been finished some days ago, since slavery coming from this planet is likely to call us Gods and trust us completely, even if I’m used to write orders with blood on their skin.”
- Ow... – Giles, instinctively, looked at his pale, and fortunately intact, skin.
- Please, go on. –
- Go on? They are sadistic beasts, Mosses. – “Therese, I hope you’re safe.”
“We had issues with Tarydium interference with this planet’s own magnetism. Alignment parameters had to be reset and compiled from scratch, based on the position of quadrant 7-ZSX. We’re now confident with the new criteria, and destinations are being completed right now. We are leaving the planet at 616. The system will be held operational until further orders. Access code 780021 is still active. End. If you...”
Giles bit his tongue.
- If you?.... Continue, Mr Rayne. –
- My... my fault, Mosses. One moment. – no, he wasn’t mistaken. He continued reading in his head: “If you read this message, Giles, please be careful, and listen. This is not a tomb, as we expected. This is some sort of portal, and I don’t really know where it’s leading to. I’m not going to tell you why I decided to walk through it, but this is my intent. I’m not insane, nor I’m tired of living. There’s a voice that pulls me towards that passage. Louder than my own thoughts, Giles. Before opening the entrance, be warned that once you’re inside this place, you won’t come back. And... I feel so stupid writing it here, with these strange symbols... but I will miss you. Therese.”
- So.... Mr Rayne, I’m waiting. –
He lifted his eyes. – Oh... bloody details with no importance. I hope you’re not cruel enough to make me read them for you, aren’t you? – and then showed the most convincing smile he was able to find in his shuddered mind. – Bloody. Really bloody. Evil, I’d say. I hope your guys are well trained. Ugh... There’s a toilet, Mosses? I don’t feel really well. – and got out slowly from the tent, saying, loudly: - Evil! Indeed.... oh, those poor men! –
“Stupid b*tch.” Raphael Mosses thought, closing the case, slowly, and locking the combination.



The Cat and the Squirrel

The scent of ozone filled rapidly the tall octagonal room, at once with the consciousness it was time to go, to leave everything behind, and step into the portal.
Therese Haap, suddenly, became afraid of speaking. She went to Kazakistan pulled by lores of a mysterious place hidden by the dust of time, and the uncertainty of a cryptic language, and an obscure legend. Something she recognized more than once she had become quite used to.
But this time, this time, she couldn’t stop thinking, her eyes weren’t unveiling a legend. There was much more.
All those years, travelling around the world, constantly driven by that emotion she tasted everytime a secret ceased to exist, a feeling that she often confessed being like giving birth to her son, if she ever did. All those years looked like a faded photography. Plymouth, the University, the deserts, her backpack, her diary, the Annual Archeological Summit in Boston, her colleagues. Giles. His words, his embarrassed smile, and all those times he named her Squirrel. Thin, delicate, with her short copper coloured hair – yes, she truly looked like a squirrel. And like it, fleeting and thoughtlessly rash.
All this seemed to melt on the shiny surface of the portal, attracted by an unknown power, and drawn away where her mind couldn’t go. There was only that dense blue fog, and those little azure crystals she learned being called Tarydium.
She caressed one of them, and it was warm. And again, the deep, friendly voice inside her murmured “Therese, now is the time. Your future lies ahead the Door.”
“And what about ... Giles .... Will I be back?” The last trembling fears breeched her mind.
“You will be back only if you go further.” Said the voice. It was sweet, alomst fatherly, but steady.
“ I must.... warn him.”
“ If you’ll warn him not to join you, he will have one more reason to do otherwise.”
Therese picked up a small logbook she found in the underground structure, pushed a round red button on the side, and started writing in the language she had learned by now.
“ Well, isn’t it what you want? .... Giles is. ....”
“ Not yet, Therese. Now give that message to your mates. They know what to do.”
Therese agreed, nodding her skinny head.

Sean Rigley fiddled with his snuffbox during the whole speech. Mosses knew him so much he could swear it was his way to pay attention.
Of course, he also knew him enough to be sure everything he said till that moment was a mere bureaucracy. Sean was a mercenary, no more, no less; a good one, honestly, but a mercenary nonetheless. Raphael Mosses had enough authority to order an army to kill whichever enemy, but not enough to convince any among those men to keep an eye on an ally, eventually kill him, and never to ask why.
- Well said, Mosses. – Sean’s gaze seldom reached the eyes of anyone in front of him. – But what’s my part in all this? –
- You never complained on your earnings. I will give you twice as concorded, anyways. Eighty thousand pounds. As long as he doesn’t say a word about this, of course. –
- Nah. Are you trying to fool me, Mosses? The Royal Air Force sends here a squadron with a class B confidentiality clause, in a country with no duties to our beloved Crown, and you say you can give me two times the money I earn killing some guy from U.S.S.R. only ‘cause he stole Winston Churchill’s wallet? You already know what I want. Don’t make me feel I’m talking to an idiot. –
Silence. Sean Rigley's amused expression was reflected by the silver surface of the snuffbox.
- No more than two crystals, Sean. And only depending.... –
- One crystal is enough, Mosses. With no dependances. I don’t like depending from anything. Oh, and one thing. Just curious but... you already have got the code. Why are you still keeping him alive? –
- We need him to open the portal, Sean. Now you make me feel like I’m talking to an idiot. –
- Are you going through it? Do you dislike this world, huh? ... bah, nevermind. – Valthen stood up, swiftly putting the snuffbox in his pocket – Greetings, Mosses. I hope you’ll send me a postcard –

Unlike Therese, Giles never travelled without a sense of constant unease. Rather than a squirrel, Giles was well known as the Cat. He was able to never leave his Plymouth’s house for weeks, expecially when letters from her received his desk, when her notes from all around the world needed his knowledge.
Unlike Therese, Giles would never leave his well-known habit, his warm tea, his books, his Annual Archeological Summit, whatever lies further. He still couldn’t answer himself, what could have driven her to disappear this way, to do such a senseless, childish thing.
More than ever, what was striking his mind while he was trying in vain to fall asleep in his uncomfortable folding bed, was the concrete, pulsating fear he would never see her again. He had no chance to know where that portal would lead, or wherever Therese had been taken. Images of unknown beasts carving red letters in her fragile body shocked his breath once again.
Sure, a whole army was with him. But would they care about an Archeologist? Alan, maybe.... but then, was him enough? Was an army enough, though? He could do anything but hope.
Unable to sleep, he sat on the edge of the bed, and put his glasses on.
- Huh? –
At first sight, it was a small white rectangle in a corner of the tent.
Giles lit a candle, picked it up, and found it was a message, written on the back on some Pin-up photo.
“ The next night, at the Gate. Come at midnight, alone. Trust me. Alan.”

Therese and two crewmembers of her were standing in front of the portal.
Lawrence Barry, a good friend of hers who often joined her travels giving her some company and, where needed, a pair of strong arms, and Hakvi Kmourek, a Kazakan guide who showed a strong interest in Therese’s task since they met, almost three weeks before, and helped them a lot finding a secure way through the deserted Kazakan plains, beaten by sun in daylight, and by marauders during nighttime, were standing in an almost religious silence, possessed like the archeologist by an intestine and obscure veneration.
- It’s time – said Therese, and walked into the portal.


Taken

Giles wasn’t at all convinced of his own busy expression while crossing the camp to reach the buried structure, as he was constantly afraid someone could guess that night he wasn’t going there only to decipher those red symbols.
He gladly noticed the location was deserted as usual. Cautiously, he wandered around pretending to examine one more time the smooth metal wall.
Suddenly, a hand touched his shoulder. – Did anyone follow you? –
- Alan! My god... w-where did you.... – he truly didn’t see him coming.
- Quiet, Giles. There’s not much time. Do you remember the code? –
- Yes, but.... –
- But? Giles, haven’t you come here to save Therese? Then, follow me. – There was an anxious veil in Alan’s words, as if really every second was a lost second.
Giles stood still. – How the hell do you know about Therese? –
- Don’t be so stupid... almost everyone here knows about the lost archeologist. Maybe it’s the only thing that’s not being hidden. Giles.... I hoped you would trust me. Why did you come otherwise? –
Giles didn’t answer. – Why do you want to go in, now? Why don’t we wait for your companions to be ready? You don’t know what awaits us on the other side.... terrible beasts that tear your body in pieces and laugh of their own cruelty... –
- They aren’t able to laugh. –
- Huh? –
Alan’s gaze crossed his eyes. He didn’t know why, but he had the disconcerting impression that what was standing just in front of him wasn’t simply a guy with an uniform. It was like a Truth echoed through his light blue iris, while everything else was disappearing behind a dark curtain. He was scared, and attracted, as a mariner whose sight meets the storm he’s getting in.
- Alan... who are you? –
- You’ll know, Giles. I promise. Now hurry up. We’re going through it, tonight. –
He answered yes, unconsciously convinced; and only few seconds later, he was striked by the fact he only thought that.

- Sean here. –
- Where are you? –
- Looking at the entrance of the tomb. There’s Rayne and someone else dressed in one of your uniforms. Rayne is going to open the main door. –
- Let them in. They are surely going to activate the portal. That’s just what we need. –
- Orders? –
- Follow them. Once the passage is ready, kill them both. –
- Sure. –
- Oh, and... make sure Rayne doesn’t suffer. He worked fine. –
- As you wish, Sir. –

Seven, Eight, Zero, Zero, Two, One.
Despite the dust covering the buttons, the door panel was still perfectly functional. He did even thought hearing a weak sound coming from inside as he pushed the last button.
- Don’t worry, Giles. There won’t be any beast in here. –
- It’s not that, Alan. – A small vibration in the ground, and tiny clouds of dust falling here and there from the wall, showed something was slowly happening inside. Mechanisms longly forgotten were now moving for the second time in a few months.
- I know there’s something else. But I think you won’t tell me that easily. –
- Well... it’s too fast. Honestly, everything is happening too fast, and I’m not used not to think twice before doing anything. Since I’ve come here, the only thing I’ve clearly learned is that I don’t have to trust anyone. - The door began sliding inside the walls, uncovering a completely dark room. – Not even Therese. I still can’t believe she did that. There is a voice, she said. Oh, come on... if she ever used some more of her brain, I wouldn’t be here tonight. –
- What’s wrong with being here? –
- Everything. –
- Giles... –
- Forget that. I’m only nervous. Tired, nervous, angry. Scared. You’re so sure of everything, but I don’t even know what really a portal is. I mean... –
- Get in, Giles. You’ll see by yourself. –

The exact moment Alan lit his searchlight, if still Giles had any slight chance to think that building had been made by human craft, it vanished away, never to come back.
They entered a huge octagonal room, that sank several dozens meters down their feets. Giles’ eyes followed a metal column in the centre of the room, encircled by metallic pipes and red cables, each of them connected to a glass orb soldered within each side of the ceiling. Metal panels with different shapes and sizes formed the main walls, along with several pipes, glass screens, grates, and machines of unknown purpose.
Giles’ impressions made him think about something built around dimensions larger than human’s; while walking cautiously along a spiral ramp going down into the deeper parts of the structure, he noticed that the most part of the screens, and the keyboards connected to them, were at a height that would make it difficult for a human arm to use them easily.
While obviously silent, and clearly marked by an unknown time, nothing seemed abandoned, though. It was somewhat disorderly, and inhospitable, but far from being truly unsafe, or dilapidated. Nothing seemed really out of place, even if Giles could hardly recognize what each part of those cryptic appliances was made for: hooks larger than a human head, three-handed pincers, small spiked gears inside glass orbs, along with crates, barrels, vents.
Therese, for sure, would take a minute to look at each with her cute fascinated expression. He could even imagine her tapering fingers laid on those strange machines, entranced by her reckless hunger for knowledge.
He was rather abducted by a continuous apprehension. Everything around him clearly looked alien, and hostile. Cold, hard, as metal itself is, deadlier and more desolate than a tomb could be, but nonetheless erected with a sense of distorted grandeur.
Suddenly, he clearly noticed a sign of Therese’s passage: the dust from a small red button right in front of his eyes had been removed recently.
- Alan... Therese must have been here.... just let me... – and he pushed the button.

Sean was crouched near a small red light while calibrating his rifle sight to the darkness within the building when he clearly heard Giles screaming.
“ I shall remember Mosses not to invite fags next time.”

- What’s wrong with you? Are you going to tell everyone we’re here, huh? –
- It’s .... it’s ... human .... – The button opened a door right at its side, revealing a small room full with hot steam. A skeleton was lying on the floor, and once the smoke cleared, Giles saw even more bodies stacked like trash on the opposite wall.
- Please, let’s go on. –

They reached the main floor. Here, the central column divided in four arms, each linked to a screen on the edge of a round pit about fifteen metres wide. On one side of the room, there was a huge metal ring, with azure crystals all along its circumference.
- Our portal, Giles.- Alan was smiling.
- Where will it take us? Do you know this also? – it was still difficult for him to understand why he was trusting Alan so much, apart from the fact he was taking him to Therese, or at least it seemed till that moment. But his sureness perplexed him: as Alan himself said before, no one among the militaries knew anything about this alien structure, neither, maybe, about the portal, or its destination. Notwithstanding this all, Alan never looked scared, or even surprised; he was only resolutely directed towards a path he never explained completely, sure that Giles would follow him as a guide.
- Yes, I know. –
And why he did know all this?
- But I can’t explain it properly. It’s not on the Earth, anyway. –
Giles knew it was the logical consequence of an increasing descent into an inexplicable reality, and accepted that as it was no more possible to surprise him. He reminded of his house in Plymouth, desperately amused, and then said: - So... how are we going to get it to work? –
- Those control panels, Giles. Let’s switch them on. –

Luckily, Giles had become quite confident with that language, or better, enough to understand how they worked in a decent time. There were no coordinates to put, neither specific data to insert, as it was already prepared for their arrival. In less than twenty minutes, the crystals lit up, sinking the room in an unnatural azure light, and bringing to their senses an intense scent of ozone.
Few seconds later, the surface of the portal became rippled like a pool’s one, and it seemed to reflect lights whose source wasn’t in that room.
- Alan, please... I don’t want to really know where are you taking me. I already know your answer wouldn’t be enough. But... – in all honesty, Giles wasn’t at all sure which answer he needed more. – But, will I meet her? – Did he know that, truly?
- You will. Giles, I know you need to know everything could happen before a choice is made. I know you perfectly well. But nothing but faith will help you now, and I’m really mortified about that. I haven’t got any time to answer whatever you are going to ask me, or to explain why you, or even Therese, have been brought here. And, most of all, who am I, and why I know all this. –
- And what, if I go back, so? Would you stop me? –
- Would you? Would you, Giles, head back to Plymouth and forget about this all? Really? –
Giles stepped towards Alan, trying to look menacing. – I want you to tell me. Now! –

“ Nothing better to end a skirmish.” Sean shot.
Precise, and punctual, the bullet crossed Alan’s head from one ear to the other.


Payment

- Master Nyulma! –
With a gurgling moan, the High Nali Priest lost his coscience, and his body fell like suddenly prived of its bones. Several other priests ran towards him, crossing the Holy Water of the Shrine of Passage, some of them carrying medicaments and potions.
Lakiyal, one of his eldest fellows, was the first to kneel at him. He lifted the High Priest, and posed him supine, holding his head over the water.
- His breath is weak. Really weak. What happened, in the name of Shrakeil? –
- Keep his eyes closed, Lakiyal. Help his journey. –
Lakiyal posed a hand on his forehead. It was alarmingly cold, and dry.
- Let’s take him away, to the Restoration Chambers. Yulis, help me, take him up. –
- The ritual... –
- The Guardian won’t give us any other chance, you know. – said one of the elders.
- And then, would you allow him to die like this? –
- He won’t die, in the arms of Shrakeil. His will won’t disappear. – the elder, named Kel’Rathma, tried to hide as well as he could that dejection gnawing his vocal cords. – Taking him away, his whole effort would be in vain. –
Nyulma’s breath was getting weaker and weaker, and his Sacred Scroll was slowly falling through his grasp.
- No, never. – said Lakiyal, hurling his words like fists. – The High Priest must live. If the Guardian needs a victim, that must be me. Come on, Yulis. Help me. –
No more held in the High Priest’s hand, the Scroll fell in the water. Nyulma gripped once again his hand, seizing nothing but air, and opened his eyes wide, scared. – Take me back! Take me back! The scroll! – he screamed, as loud as someone going to die could, as desperate as someone going to fail could, as well.
- Give it back to him, Lakiyal. That’s the will of the Guardian, it seems. And it’s surely Nyulma’s one. –

Giles wasn’t even sure of what he saw. Alan was smiling, apparently amused of his all but convincing menacing face, when that silent bullet passed through his head. He didn’t even know exactly when he started dying, until he saw blood dripping through his nostrils, covering his smile, his white teeth.
Then, he fell, and he was still looking at Giles while kneeling. Blue eyes he won’t forget, hiding secrets that crumbled far as Alan stopped breathing.
Giles cried. Frustration, anger, terror, hatred, dashed air out of his lungs even before realizing his head could be the next target.

“Five souls will pass the Gate, Nali. Are you sure they will be the right ones?”
“Great Guardian, that’s my purpose. Neither the Oracle, nor I, can choose for them. They will have to choose by themselves.”
“Nabutah* , Nali. But there is a price for their souls. You offered yourself, but this may not be enough.”
“No, Guardian? And what about all the other Nali souls the Skydemons took without mercy? Aren’t they sufficient?”
“I didn’t scent their last breath, Nali. They are casual victims, unwilling martyrs.” Nyulma could even see, through the darkness of the Hall of Passage, the crazed grin of the Guardian. “I’m so sorry to tell you, but it’s a price you alone cannot pay.”
“Blood. That’s what you are looking for, Guardian. And you will have it. Blood will rain from the stars, the Oracle said. Blood will drench the soil, and dye the sun. Blood will be water, and water, red and lifeless. This will be your payment.”
A moment of silence. Nyulma knew perfectly well his words struck the Guardian enough, but he hardly felt relieved from that.
“The pact is done, Nali.”

- Enough crying, Mr Rayne? – Sean walked slowly down the spiral ramp, never leaving his finger from the trigger, but allowing himself to look at his victim for a last time.
Not that he felt pleased by his scared face, at all. He always thought it was a twisted form of respect, making his victim aware of his nearest future.
Giles was too terrified to make a single step backwards, or look elsewhere to find a shelter. “I’m going to die. You stupid, Giles. You should have never come here, you knew. Face it, Giles. Therese is gone, maybe forever.”
- I must say, you’re one of the most quiet victims I have ever met. Please, don’t tell Mosses it’s been so easy, or he would pay me much less. –
- Mosses! – Giles never trusted him, but not to the point of fearing he would want to kill him. – Why?.... –
- Oh, I don’t know. Is it important? –
- I thought it was time someone could answer at least one of my questions. –
Giles’ hidden leftovers of courage breached his mind, calming his blood. It wasn’t time to die. Too much had still to be known. And he would never accept leaving this world without seeing Therese once again, or without trying, at least. The more his breath became slow, and steady, the nearer that Portal was looking. An escape. The only thing he should do, was to gain time, and hope his legs wouldn’t fail.
- Anyway, yes. It’s important. How do you think are they going to use this portal, once I’m gone? –
- This isn’t my business, Mr Rayne. –
- Really? – “one step back, Giles. Pretend being scared of him.” – And then why kill me, if the Portal isn’t your business? –
- It’s my current duty, no more, no less. –
- Fine, would it be different for you, then, if I simply disappear behind that Portal? – another step back. – I think Mosses simply has to avoid I would ever talk about this all to anyone. If that’s the reason, well, there isn’t the slightest difference, whether I die, or I simply leave this world. –
- No way, Mr Rayne. But I don’t think you’re going to miss anything important. –
- No? – one step. Another one. – I’m going, anyway. – Another one. Only five metres. “Now turn your eyes back, and run. Maybe he isn’t fast enough. Run!”
But all these efforts passed muscle by muscle, dripping adrenaline, didn’t take care if the path was free or not. Giles turned his body, and found his foot trapped under a metallic pipe, too late to tell the other foot not to move.
And soon, all he could see was those square metal panels, covered by a thin layer of dust. All he could hear, was Sean’s loud, cruel, laughter. He seemed sincerely amused, while recharging his rifle, and aiming at Giles’ head.
“NOW, you’re dead, Giles. Wave goodbye to Therese.”
Truly, he only expected that seizing pain, straight from the skin to the inmost of his nerves, scattering his life away in a couple of seconds, or so he hoped. But it didn’t come.
He heard the rifle hitting those metal panels, not really far from him. And, clear like that ozone scent, Sean’s scream. He looked back. And what he saw was far from anything he had ever imagined.
Right behind Sean, and taller than him of about one metre, was standing an inhuman silhouette, covered by a glimmering skin, almost transparent, thin, aethereal, fluctuating like smoke in a closed room. If he had ever met a ghost, that was just like it had to look. Four vanishing arms shaped slow, vague forms into the air, while a deep, echoing voice repeated like an invocation a series of words Giles couldn’t understand.
Sean grabbed again the rifle, and as fast as he could, he shot again, and again, but the bullets passed through that ghost without harm.
“Giles! What are you waiting for? I haven’t got no time left. Strength is leaving me. Cross the portal. Now!” springing from nowhere, he heard Alan speaking, once again. He looked on the floor, but his body had disappeared.
“Too much for me.” Giles stood up.
The ghost grabbed Sean between his four hands. “Go, Giles! In the name of Shrakeil! Cross the Portal!”
“For Therese.” He had no other option, than to trust the only thing that pulled him until now. He felt a cold breeze, when his face touched the rippled surface of the ring. Every sound, every light, disappeared, and so the voice that guided his steps.

- The Guardian is cruel, Lakiyal. But its cruelty follows a timeless law. He promised us the Savior, and he will grant his passage. –
- The High Priest... won’t come back. How would that man be a Savior, without a Guide? Are you going to guide him, Master Kel’Rathma? –
- I cannot. I cannot move from here. A keeper is a keeper since he keeps something. And the Oracle needs a keeper. –
- Who will guide him, then? –
- You already know you’d rather offer, than question. –
They saw Nyulma move his hands along slow circles, albeit almost unnoticeably.
- He is almost in the arms of Shrakeil. –
- He has been a beloved Nali. Make sure we could remember that, in our future. –

Sean struggled to free from that solid grasp, without success. – So what, are you going to kill me? Do it, then. –
As a response, the ghost lifted him over its shoulders, and hurled him directly into the Portal.
The Savior, and the Victim.
Nyulma, freed of his body, fell in the arms of Shrakeil, and smiled.


- Part two -


Where the Sun Moves Around

Giles Rayne thought only a few moments passed. A repentine rebirth within the time of a breath, while a million distant sparkles flew behind him. He was flying. His thoughts were running rapidly, as if it was the only thing left to do.
Sure, just some minutes ago, he was going to die, his head pierced by a bullet, so wherever he was going to land, it didn’t look worrying at all.

“Guardian. Brother Nyulma passed, and now I am the one that will keep the promise.”
“I know, Lakiyal. I know everything. His departure is only a little part of your debt.”
“A pact has been made, signed with holy water, and silent death. A pact has been made, and you had accepted it. But the souls called from the Earth haven’t come yet, and I could prove it’s not our fault... then... why the God you serve didn’t grant their coming?”
“Oh, He did. They will be here to serve your purpose, as soon as the debt will be paid, as promised. Shall I suppose that you aren’t aware what the conditions are, aren’t you?”
“I know that perfectly well, Guardian... but...”
“And then don’t even dare to ask why your Savior hasn’t come to NaPali yet!” The Guardian’s eyes shined with a green anger. “Unlike your approximate, and mortal, hopes, we follow what is written. In the words of your Keeper, we are cruel, but we’re tied to a timeless law. We will grant their passage, as promised.”
Lakiyal looked in those green eyes, as to find an answer lying in the words Nyulma carved into the fate of them all.
“Blood will rain from the stars, the Oracle said. Blood will drench the soil, and dye the sun. Blood will be water, and water, red and lifeless. This will be your payment.”
The Guardian, black into the darkness, stood still while Lakiyal recited those words like a prayer. His green eyes met the High Priest. All the anger had disappeared, replaced by a distorted amusement.
“Yes, Lakiyal. We are only waiting to be paid.”


Suddenly, one among that million sparkles began growing rapidly bigger and bigger. With a sense of uneasy wonder, Giles found out that he couldn’t turn his endless flight somewhere else. Indeed, that looked like the end of his travel.
He started feeling warm. The silence, once in a while, was interrupted by strange voices he couldn’t understand, and... was that rain? Where was he going?
The light was now everywhere, even if he closed his eyes, it was able to bend his eyelids and pitch into his corneas, as it was trying to wake him up.

Eventually, it happened. The huge white sphere disappeared.
Giles found himself lying on a bed, under linen sheets. Was raining outside, actually, as he could hear drops ticking on the windows, though there wasn’t enough illumination to tell him where to look.
The thing that surprised him more was that nothing appeared unnatural, or even strange. On a second thought, the fact that in the last few hours he saw way more unnatural and strange things than he could have ever imagined of in a whole life, made him suppose that his “landing” would be equally unforgettable. But... that seemed a poor country house, no more than that.
Wood, stone, worn cloths, a tin bucket stained with rust, some cowshed smell, and the last red lights from a fireplace. He could have been everywhere, even in Plymouth. So long, and he was still at home...
A dream? ...
- Ooh... where am I? –
Fresh water, oils, and some dark bread on his bedside table made him think someone was after him.
- Hey... is there anyone? –

At the other side of the room, Giles saw the dim light of a candle approaching slowly. Once at the door, he suddenly forgot to breathe.
Thin, tall, with the skin coloured like tan, red marks all over his body, a silhouette appeared with a candle in his left hand, some kind of cloth in the other, and two more arms, straight down his body, just like that ghost.
- You.... –
- Haboudji, Sjakru. – slowly, one of his free hands pointed at something behind the food. Giles, trying not to turn his gaze from him, found that it was something similar to that archive device Mosses showed him.
He turned it on. Then, the Nali spoke again. Small green letters appeared on the translator: - Welcome, friend. Keep that translator, if you need so. It will help you. And also me, when you’ll speak. –
Giles nodded istinctively, then said: - So... where am I? –
While putting the candle in an urn, the Nali answered. – This is NaPali, friend. It’s where I, and the other Nali like me dwell. My name is Yulis, I’ve been after you since you arrived. And... it has been a long wait. Master Lakiyal almost lost his hope of seeing you both but... –
- Wait... we... both? Do you mean Therese? –
- Therese? I don’t understand. –
- It’s a... it’s like me, smaller, it’s a woman... you know? She is small, with short, red hair, and has two... oh, nevermind. – Giles bit his tongue. – Anyway, where is she? –
- Oh, unfortunately I don’t know. Only the High Priest Lakiyal knows. She has been taken away, in a safe place. But... she has come here a long time ago. I don’t exactly know how long is this time in your world.... how long is a year, for you? –
- A year?... -
- Does your Holy Sun move under the horizon, and then rise again, as it slowly moves around your Earth, isn’t it? How many times does Him do that in a year? –
- Oh... wait... 365 times but.... it isn’t exactly like... – “the Sun.... around the Earth? Am I in the Middle Age? Oh my...”
- Then, it was.... eight years and a half. Eight years and a half ago. A long wait. –
“Wait, what?” – Eight years? You’re wrong, that’s sure. Maybe four months... – Giles gave a faint smile.
- No, no... Eight years and a half... more or less. I’m sure, as the Hands of Vandora. –
- Eight years... –
- And a half, friend. –
- And a half... – Now, Giles was ready to believe almost everything. Ghosts, four-handed people, otherworldly journeys, portals, ... but this... and what about Therese? Would still remember him?
- We are taking you and your friend to the Priest. Sure, he will tell you much more than I can. –
- My friend? Do you mean... the killer? –
- He was with you when you crossed the portal. –
- Oh my.... he is not a friend of mine! He tried to kill me! And he almost did it! Where is he? Where? –
- Kill you? Oh, please don’t joke. –
- What? –
- Kill? ... isn’t he a human, like you? How could he want to kill you? –
- Because... – Giles sighed – Because he wanted to, that’s it! –
- Be serious... he surely had not intended to... you know... –
- Oh, Yulis, listen to me. We are not Nali. So just avoid him. He is dangerous. Do you understand? Dangerous. Right? –
- Yes, friend. – But he didn’t sound convinced. At all.
- Anyway, how long will it take to meet the High Priest, Yulis? –
- Three days. You will be received in the place we call the Sunspire. It’s a long road up there, so you’d better be prepared. And here, there are some clean clothes. –
- Fine, ... I’m fine, Yulis. Thank you. Leave me alone now. –
- I’ll do. – he slightly bowed, and went to the door.
- Oh, wait... Yulis... one thing. How does this translator know my language? –
- Well, friend... it will become obvious, one day. – The Nali smiled.


- Hunting, Wounding, Killing, Dying. -

- Hurry, soldiers. We can't know how long this portal will be held open. -
One after another, some recklessly, some cautiously, an entire squadron of the RAF walked through the portal. Mosses, rather pensive in his dark coat, was standing aside the line of soldiers.
" No bodies found. Yet, we heard a shot. Maybe someone's wounded. Bah... this is the last time I trust Sean, and his behaviour. "
- Sir Mosses... - An old man, with thick glasses and a pale skin, ever more ghostly in that azure light coming from the portal, neared him. - I think, given the information shared by Rayne, and registrations from your hidden microphones, that we have enough elements to continue the work of the professor, even without him. Those panels, and all this material, here, gives us a quite wide range of language to use as a basis for... - The more he spoke, the higher and faster his voice arised, as driven by the pride of his own knowledge.
- Cut with details, Hillsmair. That's your business, not mine. Now, you, Jefferson, Rabern, get ready with your things and follow the soldiers. Fast! -
Suddenly, all that pride disappeared. - I... I mean... I think we're most useful here... Sir.... -
- Here? And how on hell am I supposed to tell you to open the portal, here, from there? Get out of my way and pack your things up! Fast, I said! -

***

" It took so long, but my prayers have been granted."
Lakiyal, after the death of Nyulma, became the High Priest himself. After seeing that last breath, after hearing those last whispers, he knew, he knew that he was the one who had to take the prophecy of the Oracle into the world, giving it shape, life, and soul, and " letting the Savior know who he is. "
Right after the Ceremony of Assumption, and every night after that one, he stood at the Oracle in Shrakith'a, studying the Prophecy, and praying Shrakeil. Silence, most times, was the only answer, as if each response was so distant he couldn't hear it. He knew the Oracle answered.... but too many things stood beneath. Humans, said once Nyulma, have a strong will, a free heart; they are capable of killing, or dying, for what they believe for. Humans are fierce, and the answer that comes from their will is never evident, ever winded in a whirl of emotions that Nali can't even try to feel. Like fire, forceful and raging. Like fire, ever reshaping into another fire.
" It took so long, but now... he is here. Or... they are here. Two humans. Now, this opens a new sight... that is clouded as the former. Before, we all knew, for what the beloved Mind of Liberation told to us, that who was to come was the Savior.... but now? Why did Nyulma choose to take them both here? Which one is the soul that will lead us to freedom? " The news received by Yulis were both relieving and bewildering. Those two men... were them both the Savior? Or, if not, how could he be able to choose one of them?
"No, Lakiyal. This is not the right question... their path is already chosen. I only have to open their way. The Savior, The Victim, The Liberator.... whoever he is, will free himself of his own questions, and fight our enemy. Part of this path has already been treaded, part is still towards, where that woman is. And then further."
"And the other?" Questions, only questions. The Oracle was still silent, that night. Perhaps, the presence of the Savior in the Tower would make its voice louder. Or this he hoped.

***

"Where am I?"
Outside, only a slow fog of distant stars, and an embracing eternity. Sean was feeling peaceful, almost abducted by that ecstatic loneliness, as maybe he ever felt before. What... what happened? He vaguely distinguished memories of a tall figure imbued in light with four arms and... a gate... fear... surprise
But that was no more... it was harder and harder to remember those emotions, that scent of ozone, the blood spilled... Giles... Who is Giles?
His target.
No...
"Where am I?" repeated, louder, as if expecting someone could answer him.
"On the path." answered, a fatherly, but steady, voice.
Giles Rayne... his target. He must kill him. He has been paid for it... but where is his rifle?
"What... what does this mean?"
"You'll know. Soon."
All the lights disappeared. Suddenly, he noticed his eyes were closed. He opened them, finding himself in a small, wooden room, lying under linen sheets. Outside, a silence seldom broken by a deep low. A candle, almost completely consumed, shed light on what looked like a common country house... but something was amiss... those hides, on the other side of the bed... he didn't seem to recognize which animal did they belong to... or the berries in a dish on his night table... with a sweet scent, orange, no bigger than a medlar.
- My things... my rifle? -
The house looked deserted. He wandered, and every thing he saw went on building inside him the truth he was very far from everything he remembered... still.
He found his backpack, his clothes. Took some berries, a knife, among a bunch found in a kitchen, that looked less crude than the others, and went outside.
He was in a small village. Wooden houses with pitched roofs, rudimental lanterns, most of which unlit, and a little fountain with no water. No one around.
- Cows. There are cows, so there is someone feeding them. - He followed the noise, watchfully, trying in the meantime to get his hand used to that improvised weapon. He couldn't hear anything else that those lows, but he learned on his own skin that he couldn't rely only on his senses.
Actually, bipedal cows, as he saw a bit later. And a couple of four-armed corpses, one of them crucified on a wall. "Those wounds are old." thought, as he inspected three deep cuts in the Nali body. There were signs of a small fire, and some dark, circular smuts on another wall nearby. "And this grass looks... fused. I don't know anything can make this happen... "

***

- So, Yulis... Why are you here? -
- To watch upon you, my friend. -
- Thanks but... I mean... why did you know I would arrive? Eight years is a long time. -
- And a half. But time becomes nothing if you have a purpose. That's what our Oracle says. -
- So, you and your High Priest knew... for such a long time... and you know about the woman as well? -
Upon Giles' request, fearing Sean would wake up anytime soon, they left the village and hid in a cave not too far. He attempted many times to convince the Nali to leave the killer behind, but that made no use. Yulis was kindly unbending about that, as if it was something sincerely unbelievable, as thinking water could burn... or a man rise from death in the form of a four-handed spirit. So ironic. But Yulis had to watch upon both of them, no matter what they thought about. It was his intestine, and benevolent, compulsion.
- No, my friend. I don't know about her. I already told you. -
- Well, I'll tell you then. There's someone similar to me, a human, you know, that came here long ago. That's why I'm here so, I don't know what your High Priest wants, or why is he so eager to see me but I have to find her. Find her, and get home. Nothing else. I've made this far only for this. This, and no other. Do you understand? -
- I see... I see that your will is strong, as He foretold. That must be you, then. -
- Of course it's me... I mean... What are you saying? -
- The one the High Priest is waiting. The one the Oracle foretold. The one we call in our prayers. You are the one that will free us... Giles. -
- You... are mistaken. I'm nothing of this. I'm an archeologist. I study, I don't fight. I can't fight, and I won't... those beasts! Well... I will... if needed but... -
- The Oracle speaks, and some of His answers are questions again. But not all the answers can be found in the tower of Shrakith'a. Some are here, some, far too distant for a Nali to walk to them, and read them. Some answers walk away, and some must be called near. -
- Would you please stop talking like your Oracle? Therese.... er.... that Human, said there was a voice that made her come here. Don't you know anything about this either? -
- No, Savior. But as I said, some of the answers must be called. -
- I'm not your savior. Not that I don't want... I mean .... I can't. -
- You are the Savior, trust me. - and, by saying this, offered Giles a simple round medallion with a six-handed cross on it. Made of a shining blue crystal like those around the portal, within its veins Giles almost lost himself as in a myriad of dreams.
- Hold it, for a moment. -
Giles, almost unconsciously, touched the warm, smooth surface of the medallion.
Then, everything turned black.

Just next, he felt adrenaline tangle his muscles, blood in his mouth, and pain. And then, again, the image that followed his thoughts that whole time. A beast, partly reptilian, partly abominous, black like shadow itself carved its body into a frenzy of claws, and teeth, and hatred. It was two feet from him, then one, there was no way out. Its fist ready, its solid muscles vibrating with rage.
There was Therese, too. Distant, terrified, but alive. He had just the time to see her, then everything turned black again.

- I was... dying. - said Giles, with a murmur.
- It's not the truth, Savior. - responded Yulis - and it's not a lie. -
Let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

User avatar NicolasEymerich
Skaarj Warrior Skaarj Warrior
Posts: 98
Joined: 11 Nov 2007, 21:38

Subject:

Post Posted: 02 Jul 2008, 19:40

Ok, it's back, with a new chapter.
I've still to revise the text. But, I had to change the name to a character. Clive Valthen, the killer, became Sean Rigley. It sounds better and... well... there's another good reason.

That said, now I can tell the storyline is fully shaped. I only have to find the right words to give it life.. And, phew, it's difficult. As Scrag once said, one thing is to use a word that in theory fits the sentence, and another is to choose one that one would actually use in that sentence. Dictionaries are no good for this.

Enough of that. I hope you enjoy the read. Comments please! :D
Let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

User avatar NicolasEymerich
Skaarj Warrior Skaarj Warrior
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Post Posted: 13 Jul 2008, 12:46

... I know it's huge, and maybe all not that well written... but... :( no one interested?
Let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

User avatar UBerserker
Nali Priest Nali Priest
Posts: 7658
Joined: 11 Nov 2007, 21:00
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Post Posted: 13 Jul 2008, 14:36

It's long, and I'm reading it slowly. When I finish reading I'll probably comment it.
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