Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Sir Doobington III Esq., Dec 23, 2015.

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  1. Atan Mallot - @Ragamoofin

    Imru Nasser - @Sir Pinkleton


    In the wide deserts of the east where the nomads wander and the merchants travel, legends of an ancient and advanced civilization float around through words on the wind. Legends of a civilization that ruled the world thousands of years ago before something destroyed them.

    Yet legends are just that. Legends. Stories told around fires late at night. There is real work to be done. The wandering nomads live their lives on a routine, always moving along a route they've been following for generations. It takes them in a long circle around the desert, stopping at the oases along the way. It takes the tribe about year to make a full trip around it. They call it The Path of Ancestors, as a tribute and memoriam to the past generations who walked it.

    Atan Mallot and Imru Nasser are two boys living within the Adieni Tribe. Atan, a born magic user must spend his days learning from the last born mage in the tribe. Imru, Atan's mentor's grandson and Atan's childhood friend, studies the more practical things in the tribe in preparation to take the place of his father as the tribe's navigator. Atan, an adventurous soul in a tribe whose existence revolves around routine and work, seeks bigger things outside of the little life they've got going. Imru, cautious and nervous, often finds himself with Atan on his adventures because no matter how capable Atan think he is, he's always going to need someone to get him out of trouble. Or someone to drag into trouble...

    It's a big world out there for two boys who've only known the same circle of desert their entire lives. There's a lot to see and there's a lot to unearth.
  2. [​IMG]
    Imru Nasser slipped on a loose pebble and scraped his palms against the rough stone of the desert cave. He grunted and called after Atan for what felt like the hundredth time,

    "Atan? You know we're not supposed to be here! Let's go back to camp, it's gonna get dark soon!"

    He picked himself up and dusted himself off. He added in a mumble, "And you know grandpa doesn't like it when we're late..."

    He couldn't see Atan, but he could hear him. Atan had gone further ahead, but Imru could hear the tapping and scrapping of his movements as he moved over stone. Atan never listened. He'd gone into this cave without so much as considering how big it was or where it went. Or worse, what was inside it. Now, Imru was just trying to catch up. He wasn't anywhere near as agile as Atan, and his progress was slow. He slipped and skidded over the irregular stones within the cave. He struggled to climb up over the tall ones and carefully slid over the steep ones. He called again, knowing it probably wouldn't work.

    "Atan! Come on, we gotta go! There's nothing in this cave!" he paused to catch his breath, bending over with his hands on his knees, "At least wait for me!"

    At this point, they would be late even if they left right now. The Adieni Tribe's camp was about half an hour's walk from here. These mountains the cave belonged to were one of the big landmarks that The Ancestor's Path brought them through. They used the mountains for cover from the sandy winds whenever they came through here. This desert was prone to sandstorms. As Imru carefully maneuvered over stones, he clutched a dark green satchel filled with medicinal herbs to his chest. The herbs they'd been sent into the mountains to collect in the first place. The bag crackled as the thin, spindly plants inside pressed against each other.

    "Atan! There's nothing here, you would've found it by now! Let's just go home!"

    He sounded like he was begging at this point. He kind of was. He was tired, his hands hurt, and he wanted to go home already. Not that Atan was very likely to listen. ​
  3. Noise. Beautiful, lively, incredible noise. It bloomed like a flower around him, each breath of exertion, every spirited giggle, even the occasional gasp when his artificial foot slipped from a smooth foothold. It was like he was amplified, his very being going beyond his body, filling the cave with everything that he was. Atan couldn't be happier.

    Imru, very predictably, expected nothing but the worse. His complaints, one after another came like snake bites, nipping at his heels and demanding he turn back. Atan lost sight of Imru when he ran in, into the cave was certainly was not there before, unable to stop himself from taking what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. They'd be fools if they didn't get to enjoy it, explore it, live it.

    Atan made quick work of learning the cave's unique grooves and curves, the beaten environment traversed like the route back home; Atan knew it like the back of his hand. Sweat dripped, his muscles had a satisfying ache, but Atan pushed on. His hands did most of the legwork, ironically, more confident with the callused grip of his ringers than his own legs.

    "Imru!" Atan called, not really expecting his friend to come at his beckon. "Imru, Imru, Imru! You can't be not enjoying this!" Hands spinning around each other, Atan wise enough to know just how easy he could plant himself on his backside. Legs hanging over a sandy ledge, Atan brought them together together, foot over foot.

    "Oh, pffft, Imru. Who leaves anything valuable in the front of a cave? If something's here, it'll be far past the stopping point of everyone else that came here."

    Atan, swinging his legs over the ledge, crawled away, fingertips leaving dusty impressions in the layer of sand covering the flattened mineral. "Trust me, Imru. I've got a feeling in my belly, this'll be worth our while. Twofold, I bet!"
  4. Imru let out an exasperated sigh. It was a sigh he'd made a thousand times before and a sigh he'd probably keep making for as long as he knew Atan. He scrambled after him before he had a chance to stray too far away.

    "And what tells you there's anything in this cave in the first place?" Imru clutched the weathered green satchel to his chest, "It's just a cave. It doesn't look like anyone's been in here to leave treasure in the first place."

    It took Imru a full five seconds to clamber over an obstacle that Atan could circumvent in a second or two. Imru was smaller, both in height and physique, but he still had more trouble squeezing through small spaces and sliding over steep stones than Atan did. Spelunking truly was something that came with practice. As he scraped his palms yet again, Imru wondered what sort of chores his grandfather would have for them as punishment when they got back. Considering how often Atan got himself into trouble, grandfather was probably starting to run out of ideas. At this rate, he'd have them stacking rocks for lack of actual work. Imru pulled himself up over a ledge Atan had just climbed and stopped to catch his breath.

    "Atan... we should really... go home..." he panted, with his hands on his knees, "we're not gonna... find anything in..."

    With an unreasonable amount of effort he stood up straight after realizing Atan had stopped, only to have the end of his sentence trail off in awe, "here..."

    There, jammed in the wall of the cave was... something. At first glance it appeared as though there was a gray slab of stone sticking out of the cave's reddish-brown wall. Upon closer examination, however, the slab was clearly not stone. Rather, the surface of this thing looked like some kind of metal. An unnaturally clean and uniform metal devoid of imperfections. But it wasn't the material that left Imru frozen in awe. It was the design on the smooth, cold surface of the mysterious piece that left his jaw hanging and his eyes wide.

    It was absolutely alien to the boys. The entire six foot monolith was covered in tiny, intricate patterns far too precise to have been made by any living craftsman. It stuck out from the rock wall at a slight angle and looked almost as if it was looming over the boys. Imru could only guess how far into the cave wall it went and how big it actually was. The whole thing looked clean and untouched by the effects of time. For something that has been stuck in a rock wall for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, it looked unnaturally unscathed. This thing had been here either a few hundred years, or a few hundred thousand.

    There was a little groove about six inches long on the face of the slab. In it was an object with a similar design to the slab, although this piece looked like it could be removed from the main body.

    Atan looked like he was about to go near it, "Don't go near it! We... We don't know what this thing is. I-It could be dangerous. We should go back. Get grandpa. He'll know what to do."

    However; Imru's grandfather was about an hour away with the rest of the tribe and it was getting dark. Assuming he even believed them in the first place, they wouldn't be able to come back to this thing until the next day.

    He couldn't help but be wary of it, whatever it was, "This thing... it shouldn't be here." He muttered, more to himself than to Atan. This object felt otherworldly, like it didn't belong in this place. The whole thing just felt so unnatural.​
  5. Atan had made it there first, and that meant he had more time to openly gawk at the gigantic thing resting in the wall. His jaw had dropped, eyes going wide, but the corners of his mouth began to rise in the makings of the biggest smile. His words came out in an excited stutter, backtracking over to Imru, a trembling hand taking his shoulder and shaking it with as much glee as the boy could muster. "I knew it! I knew it!" Taking both hands to Imru's shoulders, Atan shook him with an even greater emotion behind it.

    "I told you something was here, didn't I?!" Hands flying off Imru and onto his on head, Atan just stood and marveled at the metallic wonder just ahead of them, quiet, indecipherable mumbles falling out of his mouth.

    Questions in his head rose up, words unable to keep up with the proverbial flood of begging questions. Why was the thing here, for starters. It looked remarkable, not to mention entirely untouched by the elements running free in the desert.

    Not a spec of dust, a grain of sand, or even the common rust was there to ruin the perfectly preserved slate. The groves, so intricate and ancient looking Atan had a hard time bringing up something that would even come close to a true comparison.

    Then Atan's eyes landed on the smaller section, looking separated from the rest of the structure. He felt his hands reaching out towards it, ears ignorant to Imru's warning. Atan's fingers twitched, the first spark of genuine fear now in his veins. Doubt, in himself, and in the mysterious structure. This thing was unlike anything he'd ever heard of, seen a glimpse of.

    So what was the feeling rushing against the fear in his heart? If they left now, went to get his mentor, what if the thing had vanished off the face of the desert? What if Imru's grandfather forbade them to ever go unaccompanied again, never to figure out what that thing in the cave was?

    No. Atan did not live in a reality of petty regrets and choices that could change his life forever. If this thing was as special as he believed it to be, he'd be an absolute fool to let this opportunity slip through his fingers.

    Lungs expanding with the breath he brought into his lungs, Atan walked towards the monolith, artificial foot slipping from time to time on the uneven ground. Steeling his nerve, he closed his eyes, and Atan reached for the section.
  6. The alien monolith may have been standing still, but it seemed to give off an aura of punishing mystery. As Atan's hand reached for the small segmented section of the column, Imru couldn't have furrowed his brows any harder. Atan did a lot of dumb things but he was toeing a thin line with this. Just as Atan was drawn by curiosity, young Imru was frozen by fear. He half expected the thing to devour Atan's hand on contact. When Atan's fingers came into contact with the small segment, it detached from the rest of the column and for a second, lay harmlessly in Atan's hand. Unlike the column it came from, this piece was tiny; small enough to fit into the palm of his hand. A small narrow segment with a central, circular pattern in its center. It really did seem harmless at first.

    Then he felt a prick.
    Brief and tiny, but definitely noticeable as closer inspection revealed the object had made a tiny prick. It was just deep enough to draw a bit of blood. But there were no sharp points on the artifact. It was as if it had driven a thin needle in and out of Atan's palm faster than he could've blinked. That's when the object truly became mystifying and the strange pattern upon it filled with small red light.

    Before Atan could react, the device burst into a radiant display of light from the circular pattern in the center. Imru yelped and slipped backward as the walls were painted with blue light. At least, it looked like light at first. After the two boys were doused with blue, the lights narrowed and focused above the artifact in Atan's hand. An image was sculpted by that same light. To the two nomadic boys, the sight of an image built with blue light was truly something new and beyond their understanding. The translucent sculpture seemed to have weight and dimension, but was made of nothing but clear blue light. The image danced for a second.

    Then it began to shift and change shape. First a sphere with whispy lights traveling around it. Then some sort of object traveling through the night sky. An unrecognizable machine, deep within the traveling object. A language that neither boy could recognize or comprehend filled the picture. Then it was a watery blue sphere with shapes on its surface. The image stopped here and spun the sphere around before enlarging one of the areas. The view closed in on the one of the masses more and more until it became recognizable as some kind of map. One even the boys could recognize. A map of the mountains around them as well as the desert beyond. The mountains were jagged raised mounds and even the waving dunes of the desert where displayed from a bird's eye view. A small red triangle appeared over the exact point they were standing in before a red hexagon appeared far east of where they were, outside the lands of their tribe. More of the strange characters filled the image, instructions intended for someone else in that same language the boys couldn't read. And finally, after a brief pause, the image and all its blue light vanished back into the little artifact. The device lay motionless in Atan's hands, the red lights still filling the intricate pattern. And the cavern was deathly silent once more.

    "What... was that?" Imru whispered as he slowly got to his feet, "Was that... was that a map?"

    He walked a little closer, tentative of the artifact. He peered at it, looking as if he was afraid it would jump up and bite him. The red lights were bright enough to be easily seen, but seemed contained within the piece. They didn't shine or create shadows. Just looking at them felt unnatural. However, despite his fright and confusion, Imru knew there was only one person who'd know what to do.

    "We need to show this to grandpa."
  7. The pain of the infinitesimal poke was nothing compared to the faint, branching scars held like spiderwebs over his palm; one too many falls, catching himself on his hands. Healing himself had only done so much good if he kept doing it. Emotionally, Atan's awe blocked everything else out. The steller cluster of light unfolding in front of them, the literal star map showing them a place he knew, all before blinking out in the same time it took for him to blink. Atan didn't care get scared, no. Atan was thrilled. Imru, however, was not.

    He gripped the thing - map in his fist, eyes locked on the light within it. Atan shook his he'd at Imru's suggestion. He knew a bad idea when he heard it, after all, he was practical the king of bad ideas and shoddy decisions. If they did tell, any part of this, the elder would never let them leave as long as he drew breath. Imru had to understand that, right?

    "No, Imru," Atan declared, shaking his head. "We - we can't. He can't know. Ever." He stressed the word with a venomous hiss, the single statement radiating his vehemence. Was Imru thinking? The consequences of that would be irreparable, no matter how much the need to let someone know was, they couldn't. This was something to take to the grave, never to let another soul know.

    Weight shifting to his other leg, the pressure on his artificial one was lessened, suddenly sweaty from the stress of their predicament. He stepped forward, an awkward hobble in the few feet separating he and Imru. Atan didn't dare touch him, knowing how jumpy Imru could get. He didn't need that right now, he needed Imru to understand.

    "Imru, this is something. You know that, right?" He shook the map, the emphasis of his question. "I don't mean like an ancient text, something, but an unworldly something. Something from - something from -" Space? The deep cosmos? A lost relic of civilizations built around stardust and the brightest stars. "Somewhere new." Atan looked up, the ceiling of the cave peering back at him with hanging rock formations.

    A smile, all teeth and nervousness, broke out on his face. Atan looked back down to Imru, losing heart when he didn't share the same look as him. "Listen, Imru. I'll be completely honest here," he rubbed at his neck, a near manic laugh bursting out of his mouth. "I have no idea what this thing is. I couldn't even read whatever that text was when it made the map. Was a language known to man, or something out there, I don't know." Clearing his throat, he continued. "But, Imru, we have the chance to find out." He skittered ahead, pacing in uneven circles before facing Imru again. "No one else has ever seen this! Ever! We're the first, Imru! Do you know what that means?"

    He wanted to grab Imru's shoulders, but he held back. Instead, he just beamed at him. "We can be discoverers! You know all those stories in those books? We can be them!" Atan pounded his hand against his chest, a fierce burn inside of him at the thought of becoming a legend, mystifying and just as awe-inspiring as the people he read about.

    "Adventures, answers, we can do it, Imru! We can find out what this means!" He threw his hands about, waving to the entirety of the cavern. "All of this!" Then, his posture became slack, slumping. "But...but I can't do it alone, Imru." With his hand, the one holding the map, he reached out for Imru.

    "I need you, Imru. I don't trust anyone else to do it with. So please," his eyes beckoned, expression turning from elated to pleading. "Will you help me figure out just what in the world is going on here?"
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