Post by Aguila Saber on Jun 16, 2008 12:56:23 GMT -5
Fourteen Years Ago, The Nunnery in the Vale of Sorrow
There is a time before which Aguila remembers only fragments. Whispers that she cannot make out. Faces that lack contours for recognition. Fires. Heat.
Then there is a time of feelings and sensing. Emptiness, darkness, pain, loneliness. A tangible yet featureless and unknowable vista of things that have yet to materialize. Or so she thinks. It is hard to describe and she can think of no value or use to try and describe it, since she would rather forget it. So she lets the memory slip, preferring to pay it little attention.
Then there is the Nunnery in the Vale of Sorrow.
Aguila does not remember arriving there. She simply found herself there one day. And this is odd since the Nunnery is placed by some rocky knolls in the northern part of the Telchos desert.
How a child of roughly five to six years old can arrive in such a desolated place is hard to explain. She may have had company, but she no longer remembers if she did. In fact, she remembers very little of her first time in the Nunnery.
The Nunnery is a place where orphan girls are brought up to become ... yes, what? Aguila isn't sure. Not even after all the time she spent there. Officially, the Nunnery is a religious institution supported by the Council of Thirty to bring up the girls in their care to ... the faith and belief of Ishir. The Nunnery preaches survival, survival of the fittest.
Aguila first clear memory in the Nunnery is a constant reminder of this. One of the children, she had been around ten, had not paid enough attention to the lessons in tying ropes. She had been given the task to tie a camel to a pole and then clean its hide from insects. The knot had been poorly done and the rope had become loose without the girl noticing it, and when she touched a sore spot of the camel when cleaning the hide ... Aguila prefers to not think about what she had seen or heard.
The younger children are given tasks with lesser risks. They are taught how to tie knots, sew, and cook. How to tell the difference between drinkable water, and contaminated water. Most of the time, however, is spent in the Nunnery's chapel, training their voices.
Aguila had not thought too much of the voice training at the time. Not really recognizing the fact that most of the songs themselves were wordless. However, the nunnery also teaches the children to sing for the masses and ceremonies that are held twice or three times per week.
All the girls in the Nunnery learn quickly that obedience is a necessity and truancy is painful at best, and deadly at worst. Some never learnt the lesson before they were dead.
About the name Aguila Saber.
Aguila is the spanish word for Eagle.
Saber is also a spanish word with several translations some of which are: "know". "learn", "touch of", and "knowledge".
Post by Aguila Saber on Jun 18, 2008 14:00:52 GMT -5
Twelve years ago.
The Nunnery is a harsh place to live, so the children there inevitable seeks friends in other children. The first year Aguila had been more or less lonely. She got along with most of the girls, and did not get along with some of the others. Problem was that there was no one in the nunnery she felt she could confide in.
The Nuns in care of her group Sister Luna and Sister Sol were harsh mistresses. Not at all the kind of people she could talk to.
There was also the problem with her parents. Most of the other girls remembered their parents and knew who they were. Some of them had been sent here for their upbringing. Some of them had lost their parents when they were so young that they had no memories at all. Aguila could never really decide if she remembered them or not, or decide if the memories she had was her parents or someone else.
Unfortunately, some of the other girls used this as a way to make her angry. And what was worse, they were often just a bit stronger than her.
However, two years after her arrival a girl named Sofia arrived in the Nunnery. She came from a wandering desert tribe and had been sent to the Nunnery to learn discipline by her devout mother. She did not like that she spent so much time with her father and took an undue instrument in his craft, the making of a simple stringed instrument which they called 'Rajada'.
Sofia and Aguila shared the same dark hair colour and there facial features and body builds were also similar. Their skin colours were also similar although Sofia had a somewhat darker colour. Sofia was perhaps a year or two older than Aguila and that much stronger.
The two quickly became best friends after Sofia had given some of Aguila's tormenters black eyes after making her angry yet again. After this the two became inseparable. There was nothing the two couldn't talk about, and Aguila was eager to listen to all Sofia had to tell her. They watched out for each others and made sure that life became simpler and much more endurable.
Predictably, Aguila became as fascinated with instruments as Sofia but alas the Nunnery view on the matter was that it was wholly forbidden to craft or play an instrument in the Nunnery.
But at least the two could dream about it. Sofia tells her that there is beauty and music in everything.
"All you have to do to realize this is to open your senses."
So she opened her senses to the 'colours of harmony' as Sofia called it.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jun 22, 2008 12:50:34 GMT -5
Ten years ago
It was cold. Aguila shivered. She was on one of the survival exercises set up by the "sisters" in the Nunnery. Beside her was her best-friend Sofia.
This exercise was one of the longer and they had travelled through the desert to reach a complex cave system below the arid surface. She had been told that this place was just one days travel from Lunarlia and that this area was called "reja del cielo".
A somewhat strange name Aguila had thought. The name had predated the disaster some ten thousand years ago and it seemed no one knew the reason why it had held the previous name. Sister Sol had told them that it is widely believed that the name was derived from some fluorescent Fungi which have attached themselves to the ceiling in the main chamber of the complex.
Looking at the ceiling the illusion of bars can easily be imagined. The illusion of bars is created because the Fungus can attach themselves only along certain lines in the ceiling.
"What do you think?" Aguila whispered quietly to Sofia as the two stood on the floor of the main chamber.
"They are all wrong. Spreading garbage," Sofia said.
"So what do you think?" Aguila prompted again.
"This place is or I should say was dedicated to the worship of Ishir," Sofia answered.
"My tribe sometimes visit this as a holy place. My father sometimes comes here," Sofia continued, and then she went silent and frowned. Sister Sol looked their way.
Aguila noticed and kept her silence too. They could as always talk later. This was exiting!
Sister Sol looked at them reproachfully, but continued with her message to the children.
"The main danger in this area is that the area is unstable. Fall-ins are common. Among the more natural predators that live here are black scorpions and the jagged cobra. Both of them are poisonous and the venom is deadly if not treated in time. In time usually translates to a few hours at most. Now follow me. The next stop is the silver pond."
Sol took the lead and the children followed. Sister Luna took a place somewhere in the middle. Aguila and Sofia made up the queue.
On the way to the pond Sofia told Aguila a little about the "silver pond" and that it has served as a wishing well for some time.
"People have over the years dropped silver Lune into it. There is usually a bright bluish light above the centre of the pond, and the local tales have it that a Lunarian who had escaped from the justice in his homeland had come to the caves to seek shelter. He had found the pond and had dropped a few silver into it, and wished for some company. His wish had been granted when an Amazon who had tracked him appeared."
"What happened then?" Aguila asked.
"It depends on if you are Lunarian or Telchos. The tale is told differently depending on you listen to the male's account or the female's account."
"I think he got closer company than he wanted. He should give thanks to Ishir to be left alive," Aguila mentions.
Their conversation was abruptly ended by a rumbling sound and screams ahead. The two backed in the tunnel to avoid the dust cloud that was fast approaching.
"A fall-in!" Sofia shouted. "Fall back"
Aguila was not late to take her advice and the two quickly moved back the way they came.
Not quick enough. They were engulfed by the cloud and visibility became zero. The air became hard to breathe. Linking hands they tried to find a way out into a clear area, but no luck.
Coughing in the cloud they wandered around until Aguila felt the ground give away under her.
She screamed as she fell downwards.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jun 23, 2008 15:53:26 GMT -5
Ten years ago, continued.
Her scream was cut short with a “thump”. Then nothing.
“Aguila?” It was Sofia’s voice, choked.
“Aguila?” this time Sofia sounded more anxious.
Sofia bent down by the hole and peered down. The crevasse was small and there seemed to be no trace of Aguila. She felt that the air was clearer in the crevasse. Slowly she began moving downwards.
Aguila is at the bottom of a small circular area. She looks before her at an ancient skeleton, watering her dry lips. She feels a presence. She may have disturbed something best left undisturbed. She remains motionless and quiet as the dust from her fall slowly settles down after her fall.
She wonders if she was hurt, but no. It is nothing serious. She has scrubbed her legs and gained a few bruises, but no greater pain is felt. She thinks it unlikely that she has broken anything. Her eyes stray to a small plinth beside the skeleton. There is a hole in the plinth.
Inexorable she’s drawn closer to the hole. Without knowing how she got there she finds herself looking down the hole. A small amulet lies there. It looks reminds her of a great bird. An eagle. She reaches out and takes up the amulet.
Something is not right. She feels a pressure building up inside her head. An image projects itself into her mind. Her eyes drift to the skeleton whose eye-sockets now shine in a greenish hue. She sees an ancient person. So wrinkled and aged that words fails to describe her. Her eyes are slits of green fire. She’s hideous. There is no other word for it.
Aguila shouts out a name that she barely recalls having learnt. It is a name of the Goddess Ishir she hasn’t realized that she has known. The face grins although in the ancient face it looks wicked.
She feels someone touch her shoulder. She turns and stares slack-jawed at Sofia.
There is a rustling sound behind her, and she turns to look at the skeleton which before their disbelieving eyes crumbles to dust before them.
“Aguila? What happened here?” Sofia asks.
“The amulet. The hag, witch. She has waited here.”
“Amulet?” Sofia notices the Amulet. “By Ishir,” she says surprised.
“What is it?” Aguila asks.
“It’s the amulet of one of the desert tribes. They are called ‘Wing of the Green Eagle’ though among the tribes they held a more appropriate name.”
“Who are they?”
“They are a tribe similar to mine. They had great shamans and instrument makers in their tribe. Unfortunately, they fell on hard times and few of them are left now.”
Aguila nods. “It seemed to me that I was meant to find the amulet here.”
“Aguila…. The word you shouted. Do you know what it means?”
She shakes her head.
“It seemed the right word to shout, that is all.”
“Perhaps, then you were meant to find the amulet here,” Sofia smiles. “No doubt you will find a purpose for it later.”
There is a grinding sound. They turn to look. A small exit has appeared in the cliff-side. Large enough for a child to crawl through a grown-up would never be able to pass through.
“Do you know what the amulet is?” Aguila asks.
“My tribe often use similar amulets as a guide. It looks inactive though.”
“It must be blessed before it becomes active?”
“How? The Nuns?”
Sofia shakes her head.
“They would confiscate it. You would do well to hide it from casual sight. One of the shamans in my tribe could perform the ritual.”
“If you want I could ask them next time I get a leave of absence. Now how about we leave this place?” Sofia suggests.
Aguila nods mutely.
“The newly opened exit?”
“It would be difficult to get back the way we came without tools. Besides, I don’t think it was chance the exit opened just now.”
The two looked at the exit, and then moved towards it. Aguila reached for Sofia’s hands, and Sofia took it and held it reassuringly in hers.
Together they would prevail.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jun 25, 2008 17:03:22 GMT -5
Eight years ago.
Aguila and Sofia have spent close to three and a half years as friends in the Nunnery, when fate intervened and separated them. Sofia’s mother had had a close encounter with death and the tribe had decided it was time to recall Sofia from the Nunnery.
She had left with the Amulet Aguila had found in the cave complex, she had also asked for a locket from Aguila’s hair, and Aguila had done the same.
It was a sad Aguila who bade Sofia farewell. Sofia on her hand was happy to leave. Apart from their friendship there was little holding her there, and she longed back to the tribe and the kin she had been parted with for over three long years.
Life in the Nunnery generally took a turn for the worse when Sofia left. Still she endured in silence. About a month after Sofia left Aguila started to have strange dreams at night.
Often she remembered how she had found the amulet, the face of the witch, the crumbling skeleton. But every dream something else was added or withdrawn from what she had recalled. One night she was in a pit in the desert with large birds circling above here, rather than under ground in the desert. Another night there were large heaps of scorpions, spiders and snakes in the room where she had found the amulet.
Sometimes she could also sense these things in her waking hours. Phantom images in the distance. Whispers in the desert winds. Some of the Nuns noticed her lapses in concentration, but remembering Sofia’s advice Aguila never considered to tell them what bothered her.
Aguila realized that the Nunnery was a dangerous place to have these experiences. She wished for change and something new. That someone would one day come to the Nunnery and take her away.
Five months has passed since Sofia left, and the Nunnery is preparing for this years expedition to "reja del cielo". Aguila wanted to spend some time away from the Nunnery so she volunteered to be part of it.
Aguila thought that Sofia would have very difficult to approach her in the Nunnery, but the long journey to "reja del cielo" was one of the few times where the children of the Nunnery could be approached without going through the Head Mother of the Nunnery.
Her hopes and thoughts were correct. About half-way to the caves their campfires receive three visitors, one of them is Sofia and she and her companions requests to speak with Aguila. Aguila notices her companions. A large muscular warrior with a stern and determined face. She has some curious paintings on her face, her eyes seems to have a light of their own. The other person is a male and Aguila thinks she seems some resemblance between him and Sofia. By the descriptions Sofia has made of her father she hazards a guess that it is him.
“The children at the Nunnery are not permitted visitors. It detracts from their cause,” Mother Sol replies
“I have the right as a once student of the Nunnery,” Sofia answers.
“You’ve shed that right when you left before graduation,” Mother Sol says.
“You will grant us our wish or we will grant it to ourselves,” the athletic woman says.
Her eyes glare at Mother Sol and it is as if she’s buffeted backwards by it.
Mother Sol mutters something unhearable. The three takes it as a yes and makes a sign for Aguila to approach them. She does so, and the three leaves the campfire.
“We will take you to our campfire,” Sofia explains while the two share a long hug.
On the way to the campfire Sofia introduces her company. As Aguila suspected the male with her is “Ramon” her father. The woman is one of her tribe’s shamans called “Vera”.
They settle down by the campfire. Aguila feels elated. There will be no sleep tonight.
To be continued...
Post by Aguila Saber on Jun 27, 2008 12:16:17 GMT -5
Eight years ago, The campfire.
Sofia hands over the Amulet to Aguila. She accepts it, and notices that it feels different to her touch.
“Vera has blessed it. You can use it as a guide now. It will show you the way.”
“In ‘reja del cielo’? “Aguila asks.
Sofia nods. ”Probably quite close to where we found the amulet.”
Aguila smiles. “I should be able to use it soon then. Anything else I should know about the amulet?”
”They were worn by the soul shamans of ’Alas del águila verde’. I can see that it has accepted you, therefore you must belong to the tribe,” Vera states.
“What can you tell me of my tribe?” Aguila asks.
“They have fallen on hard times. What happened to them is not known by other tribes. We do know that about forty years ago, something happened which caused the death of the majority of your tribe in one fell strike. Your tribe has kept the details secret.”
“Where can I find my tribe?”
“We do not know. The times when we have met people from your tribe wandering the desert have become few and far between, and the people we have met have been too few to call them a tribe. Look for the same signs as your amulet.”
Aguila looks down. “I need to leave the nunnery.”
“You will have your wish,” Sofia says. “I asked Vera to do a reading of your future. We are sure that you will leave the Nunnery soon.”
“Someone will come and take you away, and if this doesn’t happen then my tribe will take you from that place.”
“I don’t think it will come to pass, but before the year’s end you will have left the Nunnery.”
“You mentioned a reading?” Aguila asks.
“Yes, I was curious and the amulet made it possible. Perhaps it was a mistake.” Sofia looks down, uncomfortable for a moment.
“A mistake? How so?” Aguila asks mystified.
Sofia shakes her head. “At least it will allow us to give you some advice now, but for the most part you will have to wait.”
“Your future lies within the instruments and songs, Aguila. This gladdens me for your tribe was one of the most prominent in this area. I will seek you out later and teach you how to develop these abilities, but first you have to earn an instrument from your ancestors,” Ramon says.
“The amulet will show you to a vault, inside you will find three instruments. You must choose the one whose colours you wish to represent,” Vera continues
“Any advice as to which one to choose?” Aguila asks
“The tradition is to follow your guide,” Vera responds.
They continue talking for some time. Aguila tells them of recent events in the Nunnery. It is a general agreement between them that her time at the Nunnery must come to an end soon if she is to prevail.
Then the conversation turns towards Sofia and her tribe. Aguila learns much about them during the rest of the campfire.
The last embers in the campfire are dying when Aguila learns that Sofia’s mother has passed away, and the way the others mention this event indicates that a large yoke has been removed from Sofia’s tribe. Soon afterwards, they settle down to sleep the few hours that remain before dawn.
Aguila sleeps and dreams about her lost people. Though she can’t remember what she dreamt the day after she feels much more at ease than she’s been for a long time.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jun 29, 2008 16:17:53 GMT -5
Eight years ago, ‘reja del cielo’
The expedition from the Nunnery reaches ‘reja del cielo’ two days later. It has not changed since Aguila’s visit here two years ago.
There is not much change from last time. A nun called Sister Etala makes much of the speaking and presentation this time around. Aguila has not met her much before in the Nunnery, since she is in charge of a group of students slightly younger than Aguila.
This time they have arrived to the caves late in the day, therefore preparations are made for a campsite near to the main hall in ‘reja del cielo’ not too far from the silver pond.
Aguila is now old enough to find her own food, and so the three sisters agree. They have enough to do to handle the younger ones. Aguila nods. For once she’s happy to do as they tell her. Silently she leaves them taking the tunnel leading towards the silver pond.
After a while Aguila is getting suspicious. This is all wrong. Not something they would have done. Ever since Sofia met her she has felt that she is watched. She does not worry about this.
She is acting on instinct, and if anything needs to be done with the Nuns it will simply happen. She touches the amulet, which she has placed around her neck. She has feeling that what she seeks is ahead.
She continues. She is close to where she and Sofia experienced the fall-in last time. She stops close to the place. While the corridor is clear there are quite a few loose stones by the sides.
She touches the amulet again. She feels that she should go down and to the left.
Aguila guesses she has to find the hole she fell into. She goes about searching for it. She remembers little of the place where she actually fell down. Stumbling around at the time she fell into the hole and not actually finding the place afterwards when she got up.
Still, it is close and with some perseverance she will find it. But there doesn’t seem to be a hole into the ground anywhere close. Aguila looks around cautiously, standing silent and listening.
Some water drips in the distance and some sounds carried through the tunnel. She would have preferred silence. She touches the amulets and concentrates on it. Letting it guide her steps.
She feels the direction, though there is no way through. She closes her eyes. She pictures a green eagle before here. In her mind’s eye it appears beating its wings.
It moves before her; she moves to follow.
She takes a step forward, and then another and another. She feels a slight draft, which is odd. She did not notice it before.
Keeping an eye of the eagle she notices that she needs to catch up. A few quick steps and she stands beside it.
The eagle is hovering in the air. Not moving. Has she arrived? She waits. The eagle does not move.
She decides to open her eyes. She does not recall this place, and behind her is a wall. Where did that come from? Then she realises that the wall must be an illusion, and she has simply walked through it.
She looks down. There is a small crevasse in the ground leading downwards.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 1, 2008 16:23:11 GMT -5
Eight years ago, ‘reja del cielo’
Aguila carefully climbs down the crevasse. Her small size and agile body makes it easy to negotiate the passage.
She guesses an adult person would have considerably difficulty making the way down, and even more difficult to make their way up again. In a couple of places there are vertical drops of close to four metres, into chambers that are shaped like cones. Aguila does not remember taking this route last time, but she recalls Sofia describing her way down similar to the way she is negotiating now.
She reaches a small chamber. She recognizes it to be the same where she met up with Sofia last time. The skeleton is gone. The exit they took that time is nowhere to be seen.
She hears sounds above her as if someone is trying to follow her through the passage. She remains qualm. Whoever follows her will no doubt have cause to regret it. She is sure of one thing.
This place is meant to be visited only by children. Any adult making it this far will likely be unable to leave.
She holds the amulet in her hands and takes a closer look at the walls of the chamber. She feels or sees nothing noteworthy. She closes her eyes, holds the amulet and concentrates. She has the feeling that she must turn slightly to the left.
She turns and moves slightly forwards. She feels a new direction in her mind, she follows it. Her right shoulder touches stone. She crouches down and moves forwards with small steps.
New directions are conveyed to her. She keeps her crouched position and moves onwards, twisting and turning. While she keeps her eyes closed she senses that this is now of little importance. She is inside the rocks and there is no lighting to be had at all.
A long while afterwards she is beginning to feel tired maintaining her crouched position but then she has the feeling that she has entered a spacious area, and there are no more directions from her guide. She has arrived. But where?
Aguila opens her eyes. The chamber she is in is dimly lit by pulsating lights on the walls. She judges them to be of the same type of fungi that lights up the ceiling in the main chamber of ‘reja del cielo’ although the colouring of the fungi is more varied in this place.
However, the fungi are not the main focus of Aguila’s attention. Instead it is four narrow beams of light that each makes an illusion of a pillar in the chamber. The beams of light have four different colours: scarlet, green, blue and yellow. At the foot of each beam there is an item. Aguila looks closer at them.
The item by the scarlet beam is a golden coloured sceptre adorned with a very large red gemstone. “Pretty, valuable, magical and dangerous” are Aguila’s thoughts.
The item by the green beam is a hand-drum. It looks to be in perfect condition and the sides of the drums are glistening in a dull green light, as if it had been impregnated by a green mineral. “I like drums, and it looks to be in perfect condition. Perhaps it can make enchanting rhythms?”
The item by the blue beam is blue horn fashioned so it looks much like a short staff. The material she guesses is a metal unknown to her. It too is an instrument. In the bluish light she can make out that one side of the horn is intended for blowing and the other forms, an expanding conical section, serves as an outlet for air. Well protected holes and buttons along the side change the sounds. “A weapon and an instrument all in one,” Aguila thinks.
The item by the yellow beam is a small harp. It is made of golden-like material which seems to glisten in several other colours. “Very beautiful and delicate design.”
Aguila considers for a while which item to select. She clearly remembers the conversation at the camp fire, and realizes that she is to take one of the items and leave her amulet in trade.
Taking the sceptre seems to her to be a mistake. No doubt it is there to lure those who look for power and wealth. She considers the other items. In the end she resolves to let her Amulet guide her.
She takes it before her and looks at it. It shines in a dull green light, the same light as can be seen at the hand-drum. Aguila makes her decision and takes up the hand-drum by the green light and mounts it around her waist with the straps that come with it. She leaves her amulet in its place.
She looks around. She starts to think about how she can leave this area, but there appears to be no exit.
To be continued...
Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 3, 2008 13:44:42 GMT -5
Eight years ago, ‘reja del cielo’
It doesn’t take long for Aguila to realize that there is no exit and with no amulet she will never find her way out of the crawl-space.
But then she remembers her drum. She looks at it appraisingly and then decides to use it. She beats it a few times with her small hands. Her beat is incoherent but the sounds from the drum still sounds good in her ears, so she strikes it a few times more, and then continues to play it until she has thinks she has found a good rhythm.
It is a good while later when Aguila stops drumming and looks up. There is now a small lit up area before her in the room, and she can make out the contours of a closed door. It appears she has found the way out.
She rises to her feet and moves towards the door. She extends her hands towards the handle and presses it downwards. The door slides open, and Aguila finds herself back in the chamber where once she found the amulet. But she is not alone.
“Aguila? Was it you make that horrible noise before?” sister Luna says angrily. “I thought I’d go mad by that foul sound.”
Aguila eyes her but says nothing.
“So it was you. Now hand over that wicked drum! It is an effrontery to our faith of Ishir!”
“This Drum Is A Gift From My Ancestors,” Aguila speaks sonorously.
“Why do you speak like that?” sister Luna hisses. “Stop your ill-manners and hand over the drum.”
“I Keep What Is Mine,” Aguila answers.
“Brat. We will see about that,” Sister Luna says moving closer.
Aguila moves away. They circle around each other on the floor.
Aguila backing away and Sister Luna following, while admonishing and threatening her.
“Where did you come from anyway?” Sister Luna hisses.
“A treasure chamber,” Aguila answers.
“Is that so?” Sister Luna hisses.
“Look for yourself. The door is open,” Aguila says as she retreats towards the place where she entered from the treasure room.
Sister Luna looks inside the room. Her eyes narrow.
“You stay here, you brat. I will take a look,” Sister Luna says.
Aguila moves out of the way giving Sister Luna space to enter the room. She enters.
“More instruments made by your faithless ancestors?” she croaks. “But what is this?”
Sister Luna approaches the sceptre and bends down to take it.
“Argghhh” she yells as she is thrown backwards by an invisible force.
Aguila watches as a red cloud is forming around Sister Luna while she is lying on the floor.
“Leave me be! Let me up! By Ishir I will make you pay for this,” Sister Luna yells.
Aguila watches as she struggles to rise but it is as if something Aguila cannot see is stopping her from doing so. Aguila feels another presence by her side. She looks up and sees an old crone standing beside her. She recognizes her face. It is the old woman that she saw when she first found the amulet in this chamber.
“You have done well, my child” she croaks.
Aguila nods and makes a curtsey towards the old woman.
“Your pursuer will find that the reward for greed is high,” she continues.
“There is no way out for her,” Aguila says.
The old crone nods. “You have chosen well my child. But now you must leave. Go with the drum and my blessing.”
The old crone points a crooked finger at a wall and the exit Aguila used last time opens up.
“Your pursuer has warned the others of her ilk here. Be careful.”
“I need to leave their place,” Aguila mentions.
“I will call for ‘salvatore’. Look for the sign of your ancestors.”
Aguila nods and looks into the room. The red cloud is now all but obscuring sister Luna’s body lying on the floor. There is a sudden scream.
“I can’t see! You swine of the Dark God. I .. will …”
“Farewell,” Aguila says and curtsies towards the old woman.
“Farewell, my child.”
Aguila turns and heads for the beckoning entrance.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 5, 2008 15:51:31 GMT -5
Eight years ago, ‘reja del cielo’ (part 4)
Aguila leaves the tunnel and finds herself once again in the tunnels of ‘reja del cielo’.
Heeding the old woman’s warning Aguila avoids the main camp and the remaining sisters and instead heads for the silver pond.
She arrives in spacious chamber bathed in a dim bluish light. The light is centred on a small circular stone structure. Upon the stone structure there is a wooden boom, and by the side there is a bucket attached to a long sturdy rope.
This is the Silver Pond. Aguila decides to find space to rest here in this room. By chance she reaches for her neck and notices to her surprise that the amulet which she left below in trade for the drum has somehow found its way back to its place around her neck. Aguila hears a few feint words in her mind. A croaking voice says: “Sometimes you need to let go to keep.”
Finding a place to settle down for the night turns out to be more difficult than she had first thought, because there is a number of reptiles and insects active in this room tonight.
Aguila does not recall this being the case on her last visit. Upon noticing that some of the reptiles are of a poisonous variety Aguila is ready to reconsider her decision and find somewhere else to stay.
There is the sound of approaching people. Several pairs of metallic boots and Aguila can make out some speech as well. Quickly she goes into hiding and listens. She recognizes the dialect of Klarnos warriors.
“Are you sure they went into the caves?” a question comes.
“Yes, I’m sure,” a commanding voice says
“We’ve walked for hours and there is no trace of them,” another voice asks.
“Keep walking,” the commanding voice says.
“My feet are killing me,” yet another voice says.
“Keep walking,” the other three voices say in a chorus.
They have reached the blue chamber and stops.
“Looks like a well,” one of the voices suggests.
“I’m thirsty,” another of the soldiers fills in.
“None of the Telchos here,” a third voice says disappointed.
“Do you want to tell Warlord Ziron that you have no Telchos heads to show because you took a break at a well? The officer asks.
“That’s your job, sergeant,” one of the soldiers fills in.
A long sigh is heard which comes from the person with the commanding voice, presumably the sergeant.
“We can take them ourselves sergeant. They seemed to be children and few old wenches.”
“The two of you will not share in the spoils and glory,” the sergeant says. “Come Soldier. We have work to do.”
Two of the soldiers leave the cave, while the two others walk to the well muttering to themselves.
One of the soldiers throws in the bucket in the well. There is a splashing sound, and a few seconds later the soldier tugs on the rope returning the bucket to the surface.
“Why were we sent out to this desolate place anyway?”
“Word is that the Warlord lost fifty of his men in a sand-storm when trying to reach the coast. He had to turn back without fighting and it is bad for moral.”
“So he asks us to collect some heads?”
“Yes, good for morale.”
A short silence follows. The two men drink from the water.
“Strange place for a well, and I wonder what the bluish light is about. Seems to be coming from the well.”
“If you say so,” the other soldiers say while taking off his boots.
The soldier bends over the well and peers down.
“I think I see something shiny down there.”
“If you say so,” the other soldier says lying down on the side.
“I bet this is a wishing well. We could collect some serious loot if we climb down there.”
“Feel free, I’m resting my feet.”
“Don’t be so defeatist. Besides, I think I will manage without you, climbing both up and down.”
“If you say so. Now stop bothering me I need some rest.”
The soldier removes his iron gauntlets, sword and shield and starts descending the well.
During the descent the soldier repeats in short song over and over in a merry tone.
A jar of Silver.
I shall fetch.
A jar of Gold.
I shall hold.
The man on the ground snores closing his eyes.
But then he is wide awake something is amiss. There is something on his chest. His eyes widen in horror. This something is inside his armour. He rises and gives a short yell, and the falls down.
“What’s the matter with you?”comes a voice down the well.
“Throw down the bucket.”
A few seconds later the bucket comes down the well. The soldier continues his happy humming while filling the bucket with loot.
“Now hoist it up.”
The bucket is slowly lifted up.
“You can do better than that, you milk-sop. Use your muscles. It’s only half full.”
The bucket moves upwards and finally reaches the top.
“Now throw it down again. I can’t wait all night.”
It takes a while, no bucket. Then the silhouette of the bucket appears again at the rim.
“About time throw it down.”
The bucket is turned upside down. Some small things come tumbling down the well, they drop on his head and he feels something sticky hit him from above, and there is tangible mass of something. He reaches with his hands and finds himself holding the body of a spider called ‘Reina de la noche’. It bites his hands.
The soldier feels the poison and begins feeling dizzy. Instinct makes him clench his hand and crush the spider to a bloody pulp. This however serves to bring even more of the poison on his skin.
The soldier roars in anger.
He hears laughter at the top.
Cursing and swearing eternal revenge the soldier starts to climb up the well. It is difficult but the rage gives him power to ignore the poisonous bite of the spider.
He reaches the top and gasps. His comrade lies dead on the ground a few snakes is circling around his body. There is no sign of the pest. There is also no sign of his shield or the gauntlets he worn earlier.
He notices a girl approaching his sword. He roars in anger and runs for the sword.
“I shall have your head for this,” he cries.
The girl turns and runs away.
The soldier’s hands clutch the hilt of the sword. There is a numbing pain. A pain which he cannot ignore even in his delirious state.
A word appears in his mind: “poison”. It becomes louder and louder. He drops the sword clutches his head. Screams out in agony, and then fall silent on the ground.
The young girl returns and lifts up the bucket. She fills it with the riches the soldier collected and returns them to the well.
Then she quietly leaves the place behind.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 8, 2008 16:49:38 GMT -5
Eight years ago, ‘reja del cielo’ (Part 5)
Aguila does not want to return to the Sisters, so she finds her own place to stay.
Her sleep is troubled. There is something stirring within ‘reja del cielo’ and it is not benevolent. Aguila glimpses a large reptilian eye, a long tail, a flickering tongue. There are deaths and screams in her mind.
She awakes in the morning. Her attempt to sleep has left her with a nagging feeling that something is wrong. She still does not want to return to the sisters. Instead she formulates another plan of action.
The Silver Pond contains an abundance of water. Many of the creatures she saw there last night will make an excellent meal, and the supplies of the soldiers are likely to be rations that will not spoil easily.
Upon her return to the Silver Pond she finds it the same way as she left it. There are no new tracks. The two Soldiers that left the Silver Pond have not come back the same way. Aguila takes one of the soldiers’ canteens and fills it with water, and then she does likewise with the other soldier’s waterskin. She finds several dry rations among their possessions which she transfers to her own leather bag.
She catches a few of the crab-like creatures in the chamber; they will make a good meal for her. Then erasing her tracks she leaves the Silver Pond again.
Aguila leaves the cave-complex and travels to a nearby knoll. The knoll consists of a few boulders and desert sand, except for the slope overlooking ‘reja del cielo’ which contains the ruins of an old house. All that remains of the house is two bricked walls both of which are in poor condition. They do provide relief from the sun and permits her to keep an eye open on what happens in the caves, should the expedition prepare to return to the Nunnery.
One day passes and then most of the next day. The night she passes in the ruins she sleeps better, but she still has a feeling of a danger lurking nearby. At this time Aguila decides to return to the Silver Pond to replenish her supplies.
It is too late for the expedition to return today, and she will be able to make it back here before sunset.
The feeling she has of danger grows ever closer the closer to the caves Aguila comes. In a response her pace is slowed down and she keeps to the shadows saying nothing at all.
She comes upon no traces of the expedition. On the other hand there are new tracks in the tunnels. Tracks of yet more Klarnos Warriors can be seen joining the tunnel she entered in. She follows the tracks until they branch off into a side-tunnel.
When she arrives at the Silver Pond the two corpses are gone. Nothing at all remains of them. Quietly, Aguila refills her water containers and hunts for more food. She has little trouble refilling her supplies.
Aguila returns the way she comes. Her sense of danger becomes ever greater until she has a sense of imminent danger at the place where the Klarnos Warriors entered the side-tunnel.
She stares into the dark tunnel.
Suddenly someone screams and there are steps running in her direction.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 12, 2008 16:27:26 GMT -5
Eight years ago, ‘reja del cielo’ (Part 6)
Aguila sees an armoured warrior running towards her. He’s clad in the standard plate of a Klarnos Warrior except for his face which is missing the customary visor. Aguila’s sees panic and fear in his face as he approaches and screams. There is white foam around his mouth and on his left cheek he has an angry red wound, with blood oozing from it, as if he had been hit with a lash or more likely claws.
The warrior completely ignores Aguila where she is standing in the shadow. In the space of five short seconds he has appeared and rushed past her.
Aguila looks further along the tunnel. A sudden bright light in the tunnel and she can make out a large reptilian creature fighting several Klarnos Warrior’s. She notices a sweeping movement from the creature’s tail and she can see it hit one of the Warriors before the light is gone.
Aguila’s remembers her disturbed sleep and has little doubt that this must be the creature she saw. In her mind she imagines that the creature is seeking her and that the soldiers are an unexpected nuisance and little more than that.
She realizes that she’s standing frozen watching, and that she really ought to get away from here and quickly. She can feel a tug in her mind; it is as if the monster is beckoning for her to come. The fighting has drawn somewhat closer to her. The metallic sound coming from the combat is all Aguila needs to ignore the sensation in her mind and rush along the tunnel towards the exit.
On her way out she catches up with the Klarnos Warrior. He has stopped running and is leaning over. At first Aguila thinks he is catching his breath but when she draws closer she realises that he’s vomiting and has emptied most of his stomach on the floor. His face looks pale apart from the wound which colours the lower-left part of it blood-red.
Aguila approaches the place where he is standing slowly. If she can just get past him she can easily outrun this warrior, weighted down by armour as he is.
But she’s not that lucky. The warrior notices her approach. He looks angry and about to enter a rage. There is the foam around his mouth which she saw earlier. He raises his axe, yells a battle cry and lumbers towards her.
Aguila prepares to dodge the blow and rush along the tunnel.
“Die!” the warrior screams as he lifts his axe and prepares to make a powerful strike.
A second later the axe hits the stone floor with a loud sound, fiery sparks erupting from the place the axe hit the floor.
Aguila’s plan has worked well. Despite his rage and madness the warrior was simply too slow to follow her swift movement. She has no wish to linger or engage the warrior, so she speeds along the tunnel. Behind her she can hear footsteps for a few seconds, and then the Warrior voices his disappointment at the top of his voice. Strangely, he suddenly stops mid-sentence but Aguila is not about to find out what caused him to stop.
She reaches the junction and opts to follow the place she entered the caves. She reckons she has a few minutes head start so she makes some false tracks along the other tunnel. She then walks backwards in her own footsteps and continues to do so several meters into the tunnel she came from.
Then she resumes her pace and rushes along the tunnel, back towards her hiding place in the desert.
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 15, 2008 11:53:36 GMT -5
Eight years ago, Telchos Desert
Aguila returns to the ruined house. She notices with some relief that a wind is blowing and that the small tracks she is making will be lost to the desert dunes within an hour.
She resumes her lookout of ‘reja del cielo’ waiting for the sun to set below the horizon. This night a hazy mist forms above the desert causing the sunset to be a coloured scene in different hues of red. It is a rare phenomenon and the desert people call it “Sol de la Sangre” or loosely translated “Sun of Blood”.
There is danger and death in the air and Aguila finds it impossible to sleep this night. The moon rises above the horizon and Aguila decides to leave this wicked place and the new dangers that now haunts it.
She walks for most of the night keeping a steady pace and her direction is towards the west away from ‘reja del cielo’. Two hours before dawn she comes upon a place called the “Obelisk of the Moon”. This place consists of a small rocky hill which is ascends into the heavens much like a spire on a temple. It’s a holy area dedicated to those who have fallen in the skirmishes against Klarnos over the years.
The desert people of Telchos sometimes makes pilgrimages to this place, and Aguila can see that someone has been here not too long ago although for now the place is deserted. More interesting to her is that the holy place also contains a small underground shrine where the pilgrims can refresh themselves and offer their prayers to Ishir.
Both of these things are things that Aguila feels she needs to herself. She settles down by the small shrine and offers her prayers, before falling asleep due to the exertion some time later before the shrine. This time she falls into a deep sleep and dreams. It is a long wonderful dream though when she wakes she no longer remembers the details of what she dreamt.
It is some time before Aguila wakes up. She has slept for many hours. She collects her things and walks up to the surface. Her intention is to travel back to the Nunnery by herself. When she looks out on the desert around her she has reason to revise this intention. This day is not a normal day in the desert. The wind from yesterday is still present, and in addition the sky is mostly overcast making travel during the day a lot more endurable.
To the south she sees a wandering group consisting of a few adults and a number of children heading westwards. While they are too far away to be certain of identification, Aguila guesses them to be the expedition from the Nunnery.
To the north she notices a troop of soldiers from Klarnos, perhaps thirty in number. They too are travelling towards the west, and Aguila suspects that they are following the expedition from the Nunnery at a distance.
To the east she senses approaching danger. Similar to the danger she felt at ‘reja del cielo’. Her hopes sink. Is the creature following her, or something else? Albeit with some hesitation she decides that she will have to warn the expedition from the Nunnery of the approaching danger.
A few hours later and Aguila has closed the distance with the expedition to just a hundred metres. She recognizes the place they are headed for. It is called the “Needles of the Four Winds”.
This area is a mountainous area with four high needles rising above the desert as the days meanders onwards the landmark is growing ever nearer.
When Aguila is close to the group, one of the Nuns, Sister Sol, turns and addresses her.
“What did you do to Sister Luna?” she asks in an unfriendly tone.
“I did nothing to her,” Aguila says. “You know you are being followed?”
“We’ve seen you for quite some time. And there are other traces as well.”
“About six-hands full of Klarnos Warriors,” Aguila mentions. “I think they have things to see us from afar.”
“They have?” Sister Sol says.
“I’ve seen reflections in the sun from their position. They are due north of us.”
“Anything else you want to say.”
“There is something else following us. Something that comes from ‘reja del cielo’” Aguila says.
Sister Sol looks at her.
“Following us or you? Wanting us or you? What am I to do with you?” Sister Sol speaks. “Your presence here risks us all.”
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 19, 2008 15:48:34 GMT -5
Eight years ago, Telchos Desert
Aguila’s discussion with Sister Sol is interrupted by Sister Etala, who has joined by Sister Sol.
“Don’t listen to her. She’s the doom of us all. Let us leave her to the desert.”
“I came bringing you a warning. I will happily return on my own,” Aguila says.
Sister Sol frowns. “She’s a student under my responsibility. I will decide what to do with her.”
“You can’t be serious, Sol. She is the cause of all our problems,” Etala says.
“Go join with the other children, Aguila. I wish to speak with Sister Etala alone.”
Aguila nods and is only too happy to follow Sol’s instruction. She shivers when she passes sister Etala. There is something very wrong with her. The feeling she had when passing her is one of ill tidings and a bad omen, not unlike the feeling she had when she returned to ‘reja del cielo’.
On the short walk to the children Aguila touches her amulet. To her surprise the green eagle appears before her vision. “I will lead your steps, follow me,” it says.
She is among the other children discussing. They too are discussing her and recent events and they are split into two distinct groups. One group adopts the point of view of Sister Etala and wants to have nothing to do with her. At best she should be left for the vultures in the desert, at worst she’s to blame for all their problems. The other smaller group, with younger children, surprises Aguila, since the children in it looks to her for guidance.
Aguila is in a quandary. Their enemies is approaching, her spirit guide, the eagle, clearly wants her to leave with no delay. She makes up her mind.
“Those who want to follow me may do so. I will leave now. Only death and the Klarnos Warriors will befall those who linger here,” Aguila says. With those words Aguila slowly walks away from the children following the green eagle she can see in her mind.
Five of the children, all of which are younger than Aguila follow her. The other children return to the place where the two Nuns are discussing.
A child calls out a warning. The Klarnos Warriors are now within normal eye-sight, approaching from the north. The two Nuns decide to not follow Aguila instead taking another route. Sister Etala calls out something to the effect that she’s a “spawn-child of the Dark God” and those who follow her will “End up on the Plane of Darkness.”
The eagle leads Aguila to a place where a steep rock-face blocks off further travel ahead. Yet, the eagle seems to want to move forwards past the obstacle. Aguila considers. They do not have the needed equipment to climb this wall, so the spirit eagle must refer to something else. Aguila remembers what happened in the caves earlier.
“Look for an illusion or a secret door in the rock-face,” Aguila says.
Behind her the Klarnos Warriors are looming closer, though they are still several minutes away.
“Illusion?” one of the children called Rosa asks.
“Close your eyes and try to put your hand through the wall,” Aguila says. “If it’s an illusion your hand will pass through, even though your eyes say it should have faced resistance.”
They start looking closer to the cliff, and soon their efforts are rewarded.
“My foot found an Illusion,” another of the children called Fedra called out two minutes later.
“Well done Fedra.”
It was not a large opening. The children had to place themselves on the stomach and then crawl inside. It was doubtful if an adult would fit through the confined space at all. Therefore, they did not attempt to hide or disguise their tracks. Aguila went first and then the other children followed closely after her in the darkness.
As before Aguila was guided by the eagle in the darkness. They crawled over the stones for many minutes. Some of the children behind her are getting anxious, but Aguila says that there is nothing to worry about since she is guiding them. Not that there is an alternative road now. The Klarnos Warriors would be waiting at them at the other end of this crawlspace.
They have crawled for about one hour when there is an opening before them. They arrive in a small chamber where there is a small underground pond. The spirit eagle stops by the lake.
Aguila stoops down by the lake and examines the water for a minute.
“It’s safe to drink,” she states. The children in her care are not late to sate their thirst while Aguila takes a closer look at the chamber.
They rest and tend to the bruises and wounds they sustained during their long journey through the crawlspace. Afterwards, Aguila senses that it’s time to move onwards. While this place is safe from the Klarnos Warriors it may prove less than safe from the other entity.
During their stay in the chamber Aguila has with the help of the spirit eagle found another illusion which concealed an exit that leads away from the chamber. This time it’s a larger opening which will allow them to walk standing, though not much more than that.
Guided by the eagle Aguila finds a passage which emerges on the far side of the ‘Needles of the Four Winds’. Darkness has fallen but the Moon is above the horizon and in its dim light they witness a large battle in the mountains they have just left.
A large alien monster is decimating the Klarnos Warriors. They do not stay to watch instead they quickly journey through the desert. Later in the night there are strange lights in the sky somewhere south of the Needles of the Four Winds. They recognize the light as the result of one of Sister Sol’s most powerful abilities.
There is nothing much they can do. They walk onwards through most of the night, until they see some light from fires in the distance. Aguila decides to take a closer look and the group happens upon a macabre scene.
A group of Telchos warriors have attacked a squad of Klarnos Warriors during the night, and the camp of the Klarnos Warriors is now destroyed with the corpses of the soldiers still lying around, while the Telchos warriors are using their camp for night quarters.
A Telchos lookout sees them approach, and Aguila explains who they are and what has happened to them. When she mentions the monster which is following them, the commander of the camp, Captain Felicia, grows concerned.
“We must send word back to Telchos about the appearance of this monster. It could be a powerful Agarashi in which case it must be dealt with swiftly. As for you we have several Camels in our camp which can be used to swiftly convey you back to the Nunnery.”
To be continued.
Post by Aguila Saber on Jul 21, 2008 16:55:09 GMT -5
Eight Years Ago, The Nunnery in the Vale of Sorrow, Rosa’s experiences
Rosa was perhaps the one of the five younger children that Aguila had made the most impression on.
While she does not speak it aloud her eyes speaks for her. There is no need to give voice to something which is better described with silence. No need to explain something which defies any explanation in words.
But now Rosa is more confused than ever before. Aguila left them just outside the gates of the Nunnery and told them that she wanted to spend some time on her own in contemplation out in the desert. Rosa thought she wanted to train with her new found drum without disturbance. Although, she was unhappy to part with her saviour she did what was asked of her. Aguila told them that she had plenty of provisions and there was no need to worry for her, but Rosa was worried anyway, and so were the others.
The Nuns received them and their escort from the Telchos Warriors they had met. He informed the Sister by the Gate of who he was and that his presence was required elsewhere to help out with the Agarashi thread. The Sister let the children inside and there was an account of events. Sister Luna was presumed dead. Sister Sol and Sister Etala and the remaining children in the expedition thought to be wounded or dead. An Agarashi monster is wandering around in the desert.
The views among the sisters were divided about Aguila. For now however it was decided to prepare the Nunnery for an attack from the Agarashi should it come wandering their way.
During this time Rosa thought that the new Head Mother of the Nunnery was acting strangely and grew to have an aversion to her. She had ascended to the post about three months ago, when the previous Head Nun had died unexpectedly after a short period of illness. The few times the Head Nun mentioned Aguila it was not to pray for her safety, but rather to make snide remarks. It made Rosa feel sad.
The Head Mother seemed to be a lot more devastated by Sister Etala’s demise than the risk that many of the girls under their care had likely met a horrible death in the desert. Little Rosa had not liked Sister Etala. She was hard to understand and had been hard in all the wrong places.
Five days later there is another warning to the Nunnery about the Agarashi approaching, but the messenger is confident that reinforcements from Telchos will arrive in time and engage it. The messenger also arrives with the corpses of the nuns and children that were slain in the desert. Sister Etala’s corpse is not found but her ichor-stained Nun robe is returned.
Two days later there is a battle about one days travel from the Nunnery and the Agarashi is slain.
After this battle the Head Mother decides that it’s time to fetch home Aguila from the desert. Rosa is happy. She has many things to talk about to her. But to her dismay Aguila is brought directly to the Head Mother and disciplined for not returning to the Nunnery.
When she asks her new mentor Sister Maria she explains with a pale and disbelieving face that Aguila has been put in the Carcer. She mutters something and moves her hand before here. “Ishir preserve her,” she says.
“What’s Carcer?” Rosa asks.
“You do not want to know, child. I’m speechless, this is …” Sister Maria shakes her head. “If I could I would get her out of there. But the Head Mother was adamant.”
“That hag. Is it that bad?” Rosa asks.
“It’s a horrible punishment,” Sister Maria replies. “It’s rare enough that it’s used on an adult nun. But to use it on a child?”
Now Rosa is worried. She has to do something to find and help her. After a lot of asking around and putting things together she manages to get Sister Maria to tell her where she can find “Carcer”. As to what it was she still has no idea.
She has her plan ready. She will rise a little before midnight and make her way out to the north-west corner of the Nunnery where the supplies are kept under lock and bar. This is where ‘Carcer’ is somewhere.
The key she ha borrowed when the Sister in charge was looking in another direction. With any luck she can return the key next day without anyone noticing. It’s a worried and excited Rosa which makes her way through the dark night. The Moon will be new tomorrow, so there is little light to guide her way.
She is nearing the locked door when she stands still and listens. There is something in the air. Someone plays a flute, and it’s beyond the lock. Rosa does not like the sound. It’s sounding aggressive. She hurries to the door and opens it. Inside there is a large bird and a robed creature. Rosa notices that she’s the one playing the flute.
She turns to face Rosa. She’s frightened but she acts on instinct. By the entrance there is a large gong. There are placed throughout the Nunnery to call for masses and for gatherings. Swiftly Rosa steps down on its pedal and there is a resounding gong which is heard far and wide. She releases it and steps down again, while looking at the robed creature.
The creature has abandoned playing the flute and is mounting the bird. Less than half a minute later she flies away. Rosa looks around for a place to hide. In the feint light she notices a barrel and a small sack and she uses them for cover.
It’s not a second too early for she can already hear running steps approaching.
To be continued.