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The Valley of Humanity – Part 6

July 27, 2014

‘This is remarkable!’ gasped Drath, who excitedly examined Kele’s new found item. Kele sat on a stool across the counter, his foot was well bandaged but needed weeks of healing time; complete with the use of a cane. He struggled with the idea of hobbling slower than the others, quite righty so, as it took him nearly ten minutes longer to get to Drath’s hut; not to mention draining him of what little strength he had left. The healer had suggested getting one of the strongest of the castle hut guards to carry him around, but his mother was adamant he learn from his foolishness of going so far into the wild; she added that everyone should see him shoulder the responsibility and serve his punishment. ‘Everybody needs to see’ she had said, before leaving him for the remainder of the evening (not before a relieved motherly kiss and cuddle in front of the healer and the guard who accompanied her, much to his embarrassment). Now he sat opposite the most intelligent, yet underappreciated of the Alysmon, Drath, as he giddily tampered with the device. ‘It almost certainly comes from the human ancients’ he said, without looking at Kele. ‘I…’ he started to continue, but instead moved over to the door and opened it a little, peering outside for a few seconds to look up and down the street; he closed the door when he was satisfied no one was there. His voice was lower now, just above a whisper. ‘I have seen objects like this one before, and have a few stored away. None of them light up like this one though.’ He tapped the front to illustrate his point, almost to assure himself. The device was spilling a fountain of blue and white light over the candle lit room. Drath was an inventor of sorts; he had designed the water and heating systems the village relied upon so heavily. The earth was a cold deformed shell of a home and was still in the long process of healing itself since the age of mankind. It got very cold in the winter and only reached a modest spring temperature during the summer months.

No one remembered how or when the Alysmon had come to be. There were legends and drawings that told stories of the Alysmon who inhabited the landscape around Lycian, of how they joined and built the village to fortify themselves against the less savoury creatures that enjoyed feasting on decent meat. It was still a harsh and damaged world, with more dangerous animals than cougier lurking in the shadows; there were rumours of other peoples in far off lands that once belonged to the ancients. Kele wanted desperately to adventure out and meet all these creatures and see the places in the stories and pictures, but he was stuck in this place and awaiting to inherit his position as leader of his people, or one of them at least. In truth he never appreciated being a member of the most important family of the village, it was just an automatic birth right that locked him into a lifetime of responsibility he had never asked for, let alone worked for. He wanted to be one of the many writers of the thick books Drath kept on the wall filling the bookshelf.

A very audible gasp jolted Kele out of his daydream of longing and wonder; he spun around and saw Drath fixated upon the screen of the device. It was a face of awe, with eyes as wide and intense as burning coals; they never blinked. ‘Wha…?’ Kele began to say loudly but quickly adjusted his voice to a whisper. ‘What is it?’ he said, but Drath did not answer, instead he gestured with a quick simple wave of a finger to signal Kele to see for himself. Kele moved over to the counter, he glanced quickly at the door and windows for caution sake, then steered around the counter to join Drath. He looked down at the screen. It was magnificent and frightening all at once, and he knew exactly what he was seeing. The picture was moving and in it there were buildings, a little like the ones in Lycian, but much bigger. They pieced the sky as if the earth intended to overrun the heavens; and the glass, oh the glass! So many windows where the sun could watch itself shine brightly over the creatures it helped maintain, the creatures who once worshiped it. On the ground between the giant houses Kele saw the machines the humans used to carry them from place to place. He had seen one in the forest a year before, a brown rusted shell of a thing, half sunk into the ground with plants and tree roots entangling the frame. The machines in this moving picture however were shiny with various colours and covered with windows; he never knew up until now that there were so many shapes and sizes. They were constructed with such smoothness and precision that no Alysmon alive could copy it without devoting his or her entire lifetime to learning the skill. The tall human ancients crowded what was left of the space between the buildings and the machines. Suddenly without warning the picture changed, and Kele could see a group of four humans up close, two male and two female. They were on a beach of golden sand, the ocean stretched out into the distance behind. The humans were laughing and running as they hit and tossed something between them; a bright red plate of some kind. It flies better than any plate I’ve have seen…thought Kele, as he watched the strange activity of the ancients with focussed wonder. The world around them was brighter and clearer, the sun was glowing on everything and everyone, the lands and water were calmer. Then then picture changed again.

Darkness, a grey sky, people running. The picture shook violently and Kele struggled to see anything, just people running in horror and fire over the horizon; and fire falling from the sky. The picture stopped dead for a moment, then came to life again. Behind the running ancients, behind the disorderly mess of machines, and behind the hills in the great distance, a gigantic column of smoke rose from the earth and spread across the sky. There was a gust of immense wind; then darkness engulfed the picture.

The room was silent, neither Kele nor Drath said a word.

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