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Chapter 3: Broken Hearts

Started by Senkusha, Tuesday, February 07, 2023, 07:21

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(OOC:  I'm beginning this chapter approximately where chapter two left off.  The group is inside the devastated village where Eka's parents were supposed to be...)

Eka stood there in front of the burned remenants of a house where her parents were rumored to be.  She fell down to her knees and buried her face in her hands, and began quietly sobbing.  Her tears rolled down her cheeks, and fell to the ground below her, making a small pile of mud mixed with ash.

The entire village had been ransacked.  Most of the houses were burned to the ground, and anybody who resisted capture was put to death on the spot.  Countless bodies littered the area.  Most things of value were taken as well.  Inside the charred house laid an open journal with it's pen lying on the ground beneath the table it rested upon.  Blood stained parts of the page and scribbled in the middle of a blank page was an unfinished note.

"You create the world in which you live." --Somebody much smarter than me!


(One month later)
Silver looked on as his troops readied for battle. "Take everything of value. Crush them, but leave as many civillians alive as possible. What is the point of invading if there is no one left to rule?" Silver spoke to his captain of the guard. She turned and relayed his orders to the small army of well-equiped, and newly well-trained, villagers. They attacked the village below them, and soon all resistance was stopped. Some of the men and women joined his army, increasing his small force to almost a hundred. "My nation is expanding well. Soon I will have claimed my fourth village." His troops headed for home, leaving a govoner and a small garrison behind. When they reached the new nation's capital, the sight was quiet amazing. The village had nearly doubled in size, and it was walled in stone. A huge black tower soared out of the middle of town, already several hundered feet high, and still being built. Only magic was being used to build it, melting the enormass stones into one solid piece. "After my tower is completed, I will track down those people who escaped me once, and they will pay."

Why do people die before they truly live?


Alex looked over the chaos sadly, the memories of battlefields similar to this one surfacing once more.

Suppressing the scarring memories once more, Alex put a hand on Eka's should lightly. Her voice took on a softer tone than was usual of her laid-back attitude.

"I'm sorry we couldn't get here in time. I promise that we'll find the bas-"

AI interrupted her.

"There is still the slim chance that someone may have hidden themselves for their own safety. Shall I have the Lambdas search the perimeter?"

"Yes. Also see if you can find anything that can give us a hint as to where they're going next."


The two mecha split off from the group and begain the unenvied task of sifting through the ruins for survivors with their scanners.


"They're gonna look for anyone who might be left. I'm-"

The girl choked for a moment. Why, she didn't know. She had seen death before. She had caused it before.

Maybe it was because this was the first time she had to tell someone such bad news...

"I'm not gonna promise you that they'll find anyone."

Lifting her hand, the girl walked into the charred building that Eka was knelt before and noted the open book. Strange that a very flammable item would remain relatively unscathed.

Picking it up carefully, she attempted to read the blurred ink on the blood stained pages.


Eka stood up and and walked over to where Alex was admiring the book.  She stood adjacent to her and gave a small smile of gratitude -- just for being here with her.

While it was true that she had a couple of friends throughout her schooling, none of those kids seemed to have the maturity that Alex showed -- it really wasn't to be expected after all, they were just schoolmates.  Yet something inside the young girl warmed inside her chest when Alex gently laid her hand upon her shoulder.  She knew that Alex was indeed a true friend, and somebody that could be counted on.  A tiny smile fell on her face as she thought of this.  She glanced directly into Alex's eyes as she examined the book.

Eka knew, based on what was presented to her a few moments ago, that most likely everyone who lived in this village was either killed, captured, or with a lot of luck, was able to hide.  But based on the amount of damage of the scarred land, that third option would be very slim if any for anybody to be left alive.

"What's that?"  Eka managed to choke out, her eyes were still full of tears with the occasional tear still running down her cheek.  Her voice was weak and shaken, as she softly spoke out loud.

"You create the world in which you live." --Somebody much smarter than me!


"Ah... I don't know." replied Alex, tilting it over so Eka could see. "I can't read your language."

Looking around at the scene, she thought aloud "But if I had to guess... It's a journal or a will or something written in desperation. Or..."

Looking back at the pages with a darker look, she finished "Or a warning."


"Let me see."  Eka said as she wiped her eyes dry with her palms.  She stared at the cryptic scribble for a few minutes before finally translating.

"I'll try my best to translate.  The whole page is really a mess, and it doesn't really make any sense."  Eka said, taking her index finger and tracing some of the words as she read out loud.

"They wanted it. ... Scared.  Danger has followed them here.  Taken children ... men fought...died..... -- " Eka paused and swallowed hard before continuing.  "Women locked in house.  Fire killed all.  ...Beware ..... "  "I don't know what this word is, I've never seen it before ..." Eka commented.  "death of magic and land."  Eka gasped as she mentally read the last sentence, since it was the only complete sentence on the whole page.

"Take care of yourself little one, and rescue our children."  Eka read outloud slowly.

"You create the world in which you live." --Somebody much smarter than me!



Dramatic music began playing in Alex's head, accentuating her already growing headache.

'Just great.' thought the pilot angrily.

Sitting on the remains of a chair, Alex laced her fingers together in thought.

'There are three things that pop up:

1)They wanted it. What is 'it'? If 'it' is here, then the Lambdas should find it. Otherwise, we must assume that they took 'it' or 'it' wasn't here.

2)They took the children. Why would they take the children? Hostages? No. They don't need hostages when they can kill this easily. Future trainees? A possibility if they plan to stay a while. A work force? If they wanted that, they would have taken the men. Ammunition? A gruesome but viable possibility if they want to send a message to the rest of the nation.

3)Beware 'the death of magic and land'. This is just 10 kinds of 'bad news'. Either it refers to some kind of prophecy, some type of new weapon, or-'

"The Omen." whispered Alex.

Glancing over to Eka, she shook her head.

'No, she wouldn't know about it. She's only one of the keys...'

"That's it!" yelled Alex, jumping out of her seat.

'They must be looking for the Omen. It'd make taking over this place a cinch! And with such power, why stop at this planet? Of course, to get to the Omen, they would be looking for all three keys... Which would explain what 'it' is and why they took the children! Children are the most likely candidates for being keybearers!'

Looking down at Eka once more, she said "I think I figured it out. They're after you."

'The only way to stop them from getting the Omen is getting there first.'


"M---Me?!"  Eka said in horror.  "All of this ... death.... because of .... me?"  Eka stood there and looked at the book for a moment, then she turned towards Alex.

"Why am I so special?"  She asked naively.

"You create the world in which you live." --Somebody much smarter than me!


"They were looking for 'it'. Judging by the destruction and the fact that the force didn't stop moving, then 'it' wasn't here. However, what they did take were the children. Like you."

"But the reason is why."

Walking up, the girl gently lifted the key around Eka's neck. Lifting it up, the sun glinted off of its golden surface.

"For this. One of the physical keys to 'the death of magic and land'. And you: one of the maidens who shall lead the way."

Pulling up Eka's hand, she placed the key in her palm and closed it gently.

"I'm sorry to tell you all this."


Eka stood there, staring at her closed hand.  She looked back up at Alex and said in a determined voice, "Then we must find the other maidens first and get to whatever this thing is that they are searching for."

Eka scanned the area.  "We need to get supplies and start moving again."

As she began collecting various things, along with a black knapsack, she stopped and admitted, "I no longer have a family.... or a place to call home of my own. .... " she paused.  "All of you are all that I have left."  She stuffed a stuffed animal that resembled a Unicorn into the bag.

"You create the world in which you live." --Somebody much smarter than me!


The girl smirked as she heard Eka's determination.

"Well it looks like everything's goin' my way."

At the expression of loneliness however, Alex had to sympathize.

'Welcome to my world.' thought the genius quietly.

"I'll go start up the ship."


A bit a ways from the group, Alex opened a comm with AI.
"AI, we have them on our side.""Good.""Found any survivors?""None.""Pull back then. We're searching from the air.""Roger. Beginning engine shakedowns."


Meanwhile, Eka continued to collect various uncharred items.  She picked up a book labeled "Family of Roknarr", since it was one of the only books besides the one on the table that hadn't been destroyed.  As she was walking back over to her largely overstuffed bag, she tripped on a piece of debris and the book went flying out of her hands.  She picked herself up and brushed off the ash on her knees and arms, bending down to pick the book back up a piece of parchment dropped out of the book.

"Huh?"  Eka said quietly to herself, and knelt down to pick the paper up.  Turning it over so she could see the front of the page, she read an inscription:

"Only the youth with the sound of a key may unlock me."

"That's weird."  Eka pondered.  She turned around and picked up the book that was now laying open faced on the table.  Just about as she closed it, she stopped dead in her motion.  Staring back at her was the cheerful eyes of a little girl, no older than seven.

"T-- That's me!  .... I remember this moment."  Eka almost shouted with joy.  Kneeling to the left of her was a young man, in the process of placing a necklace around her neck.  Attached to the chain was a golden key that sparkled brightly in the sunshine.

"Keep this key close to your heart, my daughter.  This key will unlock your beautiful voice, which will open your heart to possibilities only you can dream of... someday."  Eka uttered the words, remembering each syllable her mother whispered in her young naive ear.  She placed her hand gently on her cheek, remember that very spot where her mother kissed her for the last time.  The day just before she traveled away to the Magic School, not to see her family for the next ten years.

She still kept her eyes locked on that open page.

"You create the world in which you live." --Somebody much smarter than me!