From 2481 to 2484(JY)

Massacre and fledEdit

Kitin StoryEdit

A Kitin Story, or how it began in 2481(JY)

Part One

Deep down in the darkness of the roots, extending below the bark of Atys, many workers were busy mining. They brought valuable amber, tons of it, to the surface and their profession was valued and respected by everyone. Deep down below the desert of the Coriolis Empire, many men worked hard, day and night, to multiply the fame and fill the treasury of the reigning house.

It was a day like any other in the routine of the mines. The men were sweating in the damp air of the deep, and in the light of their torches they lifted amber pieces as big as their heads from the dark wood of the branches. Today they hoped to close a mined-out section of the tunnels, so that the animals and plants down there could recover. In this section of the roots were no aggressive animals, so there were none of the usual guards present. All precautions were taken, and the Matis-trained botanists already had their tools and strange liquids ready to inject into the plants. They wanted to let a few strong rootlets and a bed of moss grow over the entrance to serve as a cover for the tunnel until nature itself had reclaimed the area. Even today nature would claim its right, but in a totally different manner than that which they had anticipated.

Overseer Benodir Nussami looked down on the working homins. With great skill they threw ropes around a strong branch in the ceiling of the cavern, so that they were able to use these as winches. "Careful that the ropes don't slip. If the branch snaps back, it can mean the death of us all!" he yelled down to his subordinates. They briefly turned and nodded back at him. He knew very well that he was getting on their nerves with his constant warnings. The workers had done this a thousand times already and never had anything really bad happen. Still, he thought to himself, it was always better to keep one's eyes open and not succumb to the carelessness of routine. One small moment of inattention could destroy the whole cavern and with it everyone standing in it. As soon as the branch had been connected to the moss and the floor of the cavern, they would no longer need to be careful, but until then, he made his people check everything twice.

Rabur shook his head in anger and flexed his muscles as he pulled with all his strength on the rope which he and his brother Medrik had just thrown over the branch. This Nussami was an overly careful idiot who loved to boss around his workers. He should try installing one of those winches himself. Then he would see what kind of work this really was and that one had to know exactly what he was doing, or the branch would not be your only concern. The Fyros now refocused on his work. While his skilled brother was busy attaching the main rope to the winch, he struggled to hold the tension of the rope that had removed a single branch from the ceiling. Slowly, he pulled it down as far as he could, allowing Medrik to throw the thicker main rope over it. Later, the whole mesh of branches could be pulled down in turn, allowing the botanists to do their work. When they started to inject their strange brew into the roots, these would start to grow wildly. It was a matter of timing, to pull the branches down and connect them to the rampantly growing moss, allowing the gap to close completely. Medrik nodded at him, Rabur pulled one more time, as hard as he could, and his brother threw the roll of thick rope over the branch. There it stuck in place, its end rolling towards the ground. "Let go", Medrik said, and Rabur let the thinner rope glide through his gloves. With a sudden jerk, the thick branch snapped back into the mesh of entwined roots. Now, all the two Fyros had to do was climb up the rope and to attach it, as best as they could, to as many root branches as possible. The brothers grinned at each other; they enjoyed this part of their work.

Those crazy brothers were again holding their climbing contest! Mydix Bedax ran to his colleagues and joined the cheering, which served to drive these two up the ropes even faster.

"10 dappers on Rabur! - 15 on Medrik!" sounded through the torch-lit cavern, and Benodir let his workers enjoy the fun of their bets on these two crazy guys. They tried to gain an advantage over each other when the lower one pulled on the pants of the higher one or by shaking the other's rope, much to the laughter of their colleagues. The fall was not a deep one and both of them had had many of them, so he was not too concerned about the health of his men. Even he had found pleasure in these contests of the brothers, who left no opportunity out to find out who of them was the better and faster climber. It didn't matter to him who won since this all meant that the job would be done much faster. Smiling on the inside, but stony-faced, he watched the spectacle on the brim of a slope. Mydix looked up and cheered on his favourite, Medrik. He liked both brothers, but Medrik wasn't as quiet as his brother and he preferred him. Both brothers were level and there was no telling who would reach the ceiling first, which was still a good 15 meters above them.

Something touched his cheek and he brushed it away. Soon after, something fell down into his eye from above and he ducked instinctively and was cursing. It hurt! Rubbing his watering eye, he looked to the ground until a frightening thought hit him. Ignoring his pain and fighting back the tears, he looked into the twilight of the cavern ceiling. Still there were small particles touching his face. He brushed one of them off his cheek and had a closer look. Dry wood; covered with traced of a grey fluff. Mould! Again, he looked up and through the haze of his watering eye he saw something that made him freeze. He rammed his elbow into his neighbour's side, and when he turned to him in anger, he only shouted: "there!!!" A shimmer of light was showing in the ceiling, small at first, but growing quickly. The wood creaked and cracked and began to break. His straining eyes could just see that it was covered with mould as it slowly broke up under the weight of the two sturdy Fyros, dangling from their tightly-woven ropes.

Part Two

Benodir's eyes followed the worker's extended arm and at that moment he became fully aware of the danger. "The ceiling is collapsing!!! The ceiling is collapsing!!!", he screamed at the top of his voice.

The group scattered. Everyone ran for their life and the brothers, who were joyfully climbing up the ropes just moments ago, descended as quickly as they could towards the ground to join the others in trying to avoid the pieces of wood falling from the ceiling.

The spores had affected the base of the root node that the workers were going to use, and now it was breaking from the ceiling with deafening noise. It rained branches and pieces of roots as the heavy base crashed to the ground, leaving a large hole. The ground was shaking as if hit by a giant's fist, dust, spores of fungi and moss were whirling around in the dim light and there was a huge crater in the ground, where the power of the impact had penetrated a relatively thin layer of the groundwork.

Within seconds it was all over and Benodir got up from where he had thrown himself down onto the ground, dusting off his clothes.

A remarkable chasm had appeared in the cavern's floor. The edges showed clearly that it could easily support the weight of a Homin, but had no chance of resisting the weight of the falling wood. He looked around and saw that none of his workers were injured and were already, like himself, carefully getting on their feet again. His workers gathered around him and they glanced curiously down into the lightly glowing darkness below them.

Just like everywhere else in the roots; there was not complete darkness down there. Glowing moss and fern had claimed the ground and were spreading greenish twilight. But there was something else shimmering down below.

Embedded deeply into the intertwined roots lay a huge shield. A polished plate, decorated with strange signs, such as none of the workers had ever seen before. Next to it, lay the wood node that had fallen through and left a small pit.

"What kind of thing is this?" Rabur asked finally.

"The shield of a giant. Anyone can see that." his brother replied. There were a few quiet giggles from the relieved workers. Relieved, that none of them were hurt. Benodir looked at each in turn, the hearts of his workers were clearly burning, like his own, with curiosity.

Quickly he decided to get to the root of this mystery.

"The two climbing artists of you. Get yourselves a rope and get down there first. I will follow later with anyone who also wants to join. Let's see what that is down there."

Rabur and Medrig looked at each other, grinning. "And no silly bets this time. You have caused enough trouble already." the overseer added quickly.

The cavern was not very big, maybe 20 meters in diameter, its ground covered with a thick layer of moss that silenced each step. The air was filled with a stench of damp and something else indefinable.

Mydix let go of the rope and caught his colleague Barnus, who had climbed down with him. Ahead of them, the overseer and the brothers were already circling the strange object. It really did look like the huge shield of a warrior. He advanced towards it and sat down. Its edge connected with the surrounding wood almost seamlessly, but as he touched it, he discovered that this was no wood. The material was cold and even. There was no moss on it and the roots were covering it, but didn't seem to be able to attach to its surface. Only in the engraved deepening of the strange symbols there was a little water, where a few delicate young shoots could be found. The dark surface was flawless, but its shimmer in the dim light told him that it would surely shine silvery in sunlight. Strange. What could this be? And what was it doing here? Who had left it here?

While Mydix was following these thoughts, Rabur had reached the fallen root base and was inspecting it. A disgusting stench awaited him. That must be the dratted spore, he thought. He walked around the big node of roots and almost fell into another hole when his foot slipped on the wet moss.

"Over here! There's another hole!"

The Fyros gathered around the opening, which was around three meters in diameter and had jagged edges, trying to look down. A shadowy movement made them jump briefly, but then only a small glowing bubble came up from the darkness and slowly made its way towards the ceiling. Soon after, there was another bubble and the Fyros looked at it curiously.

"There's got to be sap down there, judging from these bubbles." Benodir exclaimed and sunk onto his knees. "Hand me a torch." Barnus passed one over and Benodir lay on his stomach to shine it down the hole.

A movement so fast, that none of the men could really follow it with their eyes. Something greenish flashed briefly from the hole and the foreman was pulled down into the dark depth.

His cry stopped with a dreadful gurgle and the remaining Fyros stared in horror at the opening at their feet. Before anyone could move again, they could hear that something heavy was being dragged over the ground.

Rabur was the first to react.

"A young Vorax!!" he yelled. He held his torch in front of him and jumped into the hole with a wild scream on his lips. His brother and Mydix followed him closely. Meanwhile Barnus called for the others to bring weapons.

Part Three

The tunnel was just big enough so that the Homins could walk upright, and wide enough for three of them to walk next to each other.

Its walls were smooth and polished, and nothing grew inside it. As they travelled quickly through it the realised that one end was exactly underneath the strange shield on the ground.

They could still hear their foreman being dragged along the ground, but they also knew that even a young Vorax would be a serious opponent for them. They only carried torches and their small daggers, and these beasts were rarely afraid of fire.

They followed the noise deeper into the darkness, passed forks and crossings in the tunnel system, until it suddenly stopped. As they passed through the passages, they could hear faint groans, and finally a bloodcurdling scream that suddenly stopped with a tearing sound.

As one, the Fyros stormed ahead and into a small cavern. As quickly as that they came to a halt, since what they now saw went far beyond their wildest imagination.

Something similar to a huge spider was chewing on the foreman's flesh and was drinking his blood, making disgusting sounds as it fed. Its body was green with white speckles, and stained with fresh blood. It had six legs and a slim body and on its back, which was drawn underneath its torso, it had a vicious looking sting. A second being, exactly like the first one, joined the scene and also started chewing on Benodir's dead body, tearing large chunks of flesh from his thigh. Then, the second creature noticed the men and briefly reared up to its full size. It was almost as tall as a man. A threatening hiss left its mandibles and blood sprayed towards the men.

This was too much for the proud Fyros. They stormed through the cavern and a wild battle began. Medrig took a painful sting to his leg, which went numb right away and made him fall over. Only with much trouble did the men manage to defeat the creatures and Rabur helped his brother up immediately, supporting the weight on his strong shoulders. None of the Fyros spoke a word. Mydix lifted the foreman's corpse onto his shoulders and they began to head back the way they came. When they had made it half way back, passing one of the many crossings, they heard the clatter of fast legs. Many legs…. There were more of these beasts!

They ran towards the exit, where Barnus and the others awaited them. They were carrying swords and shields, weapons they were able to find in all haste. The fleeing men climbed out of the hole as fast as they could when the first claws hit their legs. One of them cast a small fireball into the depths below, giving them a little room to breathe. But no one was prepared for what happened next.

A flood of giant insects appeared from the hole and the men fought desperately over the rope to climb up to safety. Rabur tied the rope around his injured brother's hip, while around them the battle waged. Men cried; creatures screamed and hissed. A second rope was thrown down, then another one. As Medrig was hastily pulled up, he could only look down at his brother trying to ward off tens of the evil creatures simultaneously.

Then his eyes fell onto something unbelievable.

The heavy wood node that had created this mess for them slipped and swayed. It started swinging wildly, and finally flipped over leaving another hole in the ground. From this hole came a horror that noone had ever seen before.

A brown insect, gigantic in proportion, as tall as three men, climbed out of the hole into the narrow cave and started to lash out with its enormous claws. It threw down the men like blades of grass on a field. Lightning bolts surrounded its gruesome presence, numbing everyone who was hit. Then it continued the bloody massacre of the brave Fyros.


Medrig yelled down into the hole as he was dragged up from its edge. He watched in horror as all the other ropes came up empty.

Some time after that, a team of experienced warriors started from Coriolis to clean the mine with rocket launchers and rifles. They would surely get rid of the strange insects, the hysterical men were talking about. The warriors all agreed on that. A decent battle would be good for morale.

As they left the city towards the mine, they saw a cloud of dust on the horizon. A sandstorm! That would make things a little more difficult. There was to be no turning around now though, and the company rode cheerfully on.

After a few minutes however, they became aware of a strange trembling beneath the ground. The desert was quivering as if Atys shook itself in disgust, and when the squad of 50 men and women reached the peak of a high dune, they suddenly became aware that they had never been so wrong in their lives.

The Great Swarm had begun.

The Chronicles[1][2][3]

Monsoon SunsetEdit

A forbidden love, 2481(JY).

Part One

The Treaty of Karavia brought a truce in the feuding between peoples and trade routes soon paved the way for a new age of prosperity and understanding. For two generations our Empire shone in all its splendor brandishing the torch of discovery on the road to knowledge. Indeed, you know, even Zorai scholars came to find enlightenment in the great halls of learning of our capital city of Fyre.

Fyros settlements thrived along the Matis frontier where war once raged. The remotest though none the least important of these trading outposts was Colomo, which took its name from the aqueduct that tapped into the river Munshia at that point. Colomo was such an animated place what with trade fairs and convoys, traveling merchants and crafters with their tales of close shaves with wild beasts and such like.

But as they say, the more we are dazzled by the mirage of good living, the less are we given to focus on gathering evils. And indeed, the years of political discord over the running of the neutral zones situated between Matis and Fyros lands began to take its toll, for the border trails were becoming more and more dangerous with ruthless tribes holding up travelers for their wears and not always sparing their lives. No longer were merchants free to venture out as they pleased, the only sure way to travel was to stick to the timetable of the imperial convoys whose job it was to conduct groups of travelers.

So it was with some surprise that one fall evening the mayor of Colomo was alerted of the arrival of a lone Matis on a mektoub packer asking for board and food and permission to speak with the villagers. The mayor at first wondered how a lone traveler could have made it through tribe infested regions unscathed, that is, until he set his eyes upon him.

The Matis introduced himself as Angeli di Fabrini, and was clothed in the simple, homespun garments of his office, that's to say, those of a novice preacher. He'd been sent on an initiation mission to prove his commitment to the church of Jena. The mayor immediately understood why he hadn't been robbed, he quite simply had nothing to rob! Nothing to attract the scouring eye of a tribal scout, not even a single dapper piece to pay for his keep! The mayor then left him in the charge of Abecus, the joyous village mage, for the apprentice preacher to be entertained for the night before being conducted safely back to the nearest Matis outpost. In this way the mayor was reassured that the lad wouldn't go stirring up the population with his words of Jena. The last preacher that passed had only left dispute in his wake.

"Good, sir, I am most honored and would gladly accept your hospitality, but my mission is to speak with your people," said Angeli.

"Come, lad, we'll talk shop together first," said Abecus and led him away to his residence, a fine building of hues of yellows and blues contrasting beautifully with the ochre of the desert...

"Julea, tell tour mother to prepare the spare room, we've a visitor," called Abecus to his daughter on entering the cool vestibule. Julea, a headstrong girl of fifteen, stood riveted for an instant on the cool stairway leading down to the living quarters, it was the first time she'd ever seen a Matis in the living flesh. He stood tall and proud, his hands were slender, with long fingers and trimmed nails... He had an aquiline nose, fine fair hair swept back from his forehead with a boyish curl that kept dropping rebelliously over his left eye. Angeli di Fabrini spoke our language fluently with the singing accent of his people which flutters in the way the Kineli butterfly of the woodlands. He bowed rather pompously to her in salutation, she gave an amused smile then turned and continued down the stairs to give her mother the message.

Inside the main room, decorated with beautiful tapestries representing stories of bygone times, the temperature remained constant and dry despite the mugginess outside. The savory smell of mektoub trunk soup and spicy cactus wafted in from the kitchen. Abecus presently placed his young guest at table with his wife and two daughters. Silva, the youngest, a girl of twelve, and Julea. As soon as everyone was served the Matis cleared his voice which rose up in prayer :

"Praised be Jena, for this food you give

In every crumb do you help us live

Bless our souls as we work, rest and play

Till we earn our place on judgment day"

To this Abecus returned :

"Thank yee wife for these morsels here

Goes to show you love us dear

Bless your love that bears this table

And touches our hearts like there's no one able!"

Part Two

The mage's wife gave a blushing wave and gestured everyone to stop standing on parade. The young Matis missionary ate heartily and without so much as a slurp on his soup and took up his heart of cactus at the tips of his fingers, breaking off little delicate morsels before filling his mouth, which made Silva laugh. She was rebuked directly.

"Oh, I am not offended, but tell me, what gave her cause for laughter?" said Angeli.

"The way you have your fingers do the work of your teeth!" said Julea. "Here we pop the whole pulp into the mouth, so we don't get our fingers messy, see?!"

"My way is the observance of Jena. As I observe the different parts of the cactus to better judge how it has grown, so Jena seeks into our heart and soul to examine our overall worthiness."

"Well, here we are accustomed to tasting the cactus heart as a whole, tasting odd bits will only distort the overall picture. In the same way, a homin has many humors, to take only the one will make him your sweetest friend or your bitterest enemy!" returned Abecus all in good humor.

"Yet fully appreciating Jena's creation enables us to make pertinent offerings to her Karavan disciples."

"Hah, Jena, Jena, a figment of the imagination!" laughed Abecus.

"But, noble mage," returned Angeli in all seriousness, "then from whence do you derive your magic?"

"Not from the spirit of Jena, I can assure you! No, it is born of the knowledge of objects, thinking about them, learning how to look at them so that a science can be physically built up around them. I am sure that not one of your lot has ever seen Jena! Let a lone found out where she comes from!"

"Jena is in the breeze that caresses, the gusts that derange, the emotion that moves the heart. Thus we may feel though we cannot see. Only such sensations can allow us to suspect there is life after death on Atys," returned Angeli.

"You answer well, Angeli, but with respect, Jena has no place in this house! And when the Matis come down from their cloud to...."

But the words of Abecus were suddenly drowned out by a great howling.

"Gingos in these parts?" questioned Angeli.

"No, that's the wind of the desert monsoon, when it howls like that through the storm-sounder it means we're in for a burst of rough weather, it means too you'll have to hold up here till it passes. It will do you no harm to learn our ways. Now, I must go warn folk to keep their mektoubs inside tonight, before Jena, disguised as the wind, comes to ravish them away!! But stay, young friend, I shan't be long, Julea will give you conversation. She is to step into my shoes, it will give her a chance to air her learning."

So under the watchful eye of the matron of the house, Abecus left the young novices. And they talked till late each testing the other's grounds of reasoning, prying into one another's cultures.

"Is it true that the Matis keep their lower castes from learning to read and write to more easily bend their minds to your laws?" popped Julea.

"It is the Law of Jena, but the answer is yes, one must first acquire the necessary training to affront the doubts of this world. Needless knowledge is a danger to the simple homin only leading to torment and misery and finally to perdition amidst the jaws of the dragon," replied Angeli.

"So you predicate blissful ignorance!" mocked Julea gently.

"Well, I suppose, if you put that way..."

"And what of equality, I suppose Jena's Law doesn't account for it..."

"Yes, it does, but it is up to every homin to learn it! A place near Jena must be strived for, deserved, else it would be enough to wander through life as a common carpet seller!"

"At least you don't dodge my questions like others of your race, Angeli, and though I cannot adhere to your ways, the honesty of your faith seeps to my heart," vowed Julea.

"And I, Julea, though I share it not, bow to your sharp wisdom," was Angeli's reply.

Such was the tone of their conversations and despite the divergence of opinion each brought the other new matter to further their learning. For three days the burst of the autumn monsoon drenched the desert delta where life was soon returning in all its glory. But the weather all too soon abated and the Matis was shortly to be making tracks with the imperial convoy.

On the eve of Angeli's departure, having exhausted their capital of learning, the young homins sat silently on the dune overlooking the now flourishing desert delta. The beautiful monsoon sunset huddled around them in silence, a silence clad in the hue of friendship, a mutual friendship whose thoughts needed no robe of words...

Part Three

At that moment in time, I promise you, Julea would have followed wherever which way in the footsteps of Angeli di Fabrini, be it to Jena or to the Dragon, what suddenly counted was sharing the journey... Then, beyond all her hopes the young Matis turned to her, his beautiful eyes were glistening...

"Julea," he said, softly breaking the purple silence. "I believe my feeling for Jena is not that of love, for that feeling you have taught me, and I would exchange my religion for its supreme power..."

"Hush," said Julea raising a hand and smiling gravely, she touched the tear that now spilled from his eye and then the brow where she smoothed back his curl. Their arms enlaced, their lips touched, the warmth of the day exuded from their bodies, keeping the chilly monsoon wind at bay.

"I must speak to your father," said Angeli at last.

"Wait, Angeli, this is too grave of consequences to be taken lightly, let the night weigh upon our hearts and bring counsel, and then we shall see, my love."

Julea's sleep was fraught with dreams of repudiation and disownment by both her and Angeli's people, and of Jena condemning them to a nightmare journey to the underworld of the Dragon. Even so, she rose to the new day ever more determined as to the path she was set to follow. But with the morning came another nightmare, a living nightmare that would change the face of the world.

The great village bell was sounded giving the alert of some imminent bane. Messenger yber birds had been sent across the dunes with news of a terrible march of monsters creating havoc in the west. The emperor was calling for all able homins to join the imperial armies to fend off the dreadful legions of kitins, while children and homins unfit for battle were evacuated towards the north to rejoin the city of Piros in case rebel tribes launched an assault in the absence of warrior protection. Angeli was told he'd better leave for his homeland, there would be little chance of the rebel tribes impeding his journey now, they would have received the news and their eyes would be elsewhere.

Amid the commotion the two novices could only find a moment of seclusion where they embraced and exchanged lockets inside which each placed a lock of hair. Angeli swore he would be back just as soon as the menace was over. But alas, if Julea knew then what she knows now, she would never have let him take that cursed road back, where the kitins would march but hours later razing every trace of hominkind in their path...

Julea? She survived, yes, to another monsoon sunset, to another destiny... Yes, young homin, you guess right, t'is indeed a lock of fair hair I have inside my locket.

as told by an old Fyros Lady Mage[4]

My Karavan GuardianEdit

Love the Karavan Guardians as you love your brethren, young homin, and you too shall be thankful to their generosity. Indeed, if I live today in this old sack of bones it is thanks to a mighty Karavan Guardian who took myself and my loved ones under his wing, broken though it was. I was but a young girl and my father with the other men was away on campaign to recover our lands to the west when an army of kitins swarmed in from the north bent on the destruction of hominkind.

My grandmother, mother, my elder sisters, our maids and myself evacuated our majestic city merely hours before it fell taking with us but a single mektoub packer and provisions for a week. We trekked to the east for days until we came to the great falls of Ria where my grandmother knew we could find refuge in the caverns there. We were foraging for the season's mushrooms amid the fallen leaves when all of a sudden the birds and the animals made an awful din, then, all went silent as before a storm...

There came to my ears and then to my eyes the appalling thumping of a thousand feet marching down in the valley below. An awful tide of giant insects was rolling up fast scything and flattening the beautiful flora and crushing the slower animals under foot. My grandmother called us together and we waded into the cold river for some distance before crossing further upstream to avoid leaving our scent, then we climbed behind the pummeling waterfall.

From our vantage point we could spy, between the gushing rivulets, the kitins romping through our camp ravaging our make-shift habitat and spoiling our hard earned provisions. But to our relief the terrifying legions continued their march on over the hills towards the south. We remained behind the chilly but protective curtain of water the whole night through clustered together to keep warm. The following morning the kitins were gone and we returned to our make-shift camp to find the surrounding area devastated where the mass of destruction had trooped. There wasn't a sound to be heard, not a single bird, the frightened animals having all moved on.

But of noble heart and strong fiber, we dallied not on our sorrows, we were still alive and we mucked in to recover some order though exhausted we were. But then, horror struck thrice... Three enormous kitin scouts suddenly appeared from three points to surround us as we backed towards a near cavern. I was petrified, one of the evil creatures came and snapped at me, but my grandmother dragged me back behind her telling me to run to my mother... From the cavern my mother told us to kneel and pray for the soul of our grandmother and for our savior when another sound, more familiar, met our ears and we looked up at the godsend.

A Karavan vessel lurched into view and shielded us against the kitins that were crawling upon us as we knelt. The craft sent a massive lightening charge through the kitins as they tried to butt it out of their way. A Karavan Guardian, wounded in the arm, jumped out of the vessel and fired into the eyes of the stunned creatures who were still fumbling to reach us. The Guardian gave us some fresh seed to revive our spirits and signaled to us to follow him into the vessel before the main kitin force was upon our heels. But the vessel was wounded too and would not take to the air... Though I still conserve the memory of the magic inside, the cold flashing lights and the warm vroom of the vessel's waning heart.

We continued on foot in the cold driving rain. For two days he led us on to the east, hunted game for us, protected us from the wild bests, and healed our wounds calmly, silently in his tranquil force. Every morning we prayed to Jena to help us through the day. Then after a week of traveling we came to a vast plain and in the distance our eyes caught a glimmering sheen of a bow of many colors.

My Guardian lowered me from his shoulders to the ground and spoke for the first time in a deep but tender voice : "There, you are safe now," he said. "Go through the rainbow, I will stand and watch you till you are all through." I plucked up my courage and asked if he would come too.

He said there were many more children of Atys to be saved, that his mission had only just begun. I could not resist jumping up to him and throwing my arms around his neck, for he had carried me when my little legs had failed, despite his ailing limb. He put me down and pushed me on and I followed the others, reassured in the aura of his smell. When I looked back from the rainbow he was still watching as he said he would be, and as if to urge us through the rainbow, he gave a flick of the hand which he turned into a wave, I am sure.

I am the last survivor of that expedition of nearly three generations ago and everyday I give thanks to Jena for my children, and my children's children, and for sending us our great Karavan Guardian.

as told by Nina Tinaro, an old Matis Lady[5]

The Kitin SongEdit

It was in the reign of Cerakos, the one they called the fated
That befell the greatest loss in history ever related
The leaves were gold in other lands, the sun had ceased to glare
When Fyros bold with miners' hands came upon a lair
With watchful eye and ready sword did the captain look inside
To find his fate and meet his Lord, for the soothing silence lied
There came a terrible clamor, from the source of an imminent bane
The company could but stand and stammer, the kitins was their name!
The kitins crawl the kitins come and woe betide the lagger
But we'll stand and fight till kingdom come with gun and blade and dagger
The bigger they come they harder they fall, we'll learn to zigger and zagger
We'll find their chink, we'll brave the brawl and woe betide the lagger!
The miners spared not a beast for their chief and twenty lay by smitten
When a din from the holes announced their grief and it seemed their fate was written
But a noble hand threw a fireball to hold off the tide of death
Our heroes sped to alert the mayor who cried at the top of his breath: <center>Chorus
The kitins crawl the kitins come and woe betide the lagger
But we'll stand and fight till kingdom come with gun and blade and dagger
The bigger they come they harder they fall, we'll learn to zigger and zagger
We'll find their chink, we'll brave the brawl and woe betide the lagger!
But then came a sight to blacken the brow and melt the mettle inside
A terrible blight, a marching file as evil as t'was wide
Fighting a losing battle will sap the will of war
Best flee the serpent's rattle and live to settle the score
The kitins crawl the kitins come and woe betide the lagger
But we'll stand and fight another day with gun and blade and dagger
The bigger they come they harder they fall, we'll learn to zigger and zagger
We'll find their chink, we'll brave the brawl and woe betide the lagger!
The legions ploughed across the lands of desert, woodland and lake
Strewing death and destruction in their wicked wake
But as long as breath shall fill our lungs our hearts shall beat bold and true!
And as long as the night shall bring the day we shall struggle through and through!
The kitins crawl the kitins come and woe betide the lagger
But we'll stand and fight till kingdom come with gun and blade and dagger
The bigger they come they harder they fall, we'll learn to zigger and zagger
We'll find their chink, we'll brave the brawl and woe betide the lagger!
- Lyros Melion, a Fyros troubadour[6]

The return of HopeEdit

Opportunity awaits!Edit

A Tryker song from the time of the Exodus

Livin' on a shoestring, walkin' on a tightrope,
Waiting for the day to come
From out of a nightmare, I'm heading for the one hope
I'm leaving on the rise of the sun
Gotta get out of here, find a way to leave
Not gonna take the easy way out, cause I've found something to believe
Gotta get out of here, find a way to escape
My thoughts are spinning though my aim is clear, opportunity awaits!
Pressure's rising, blood is boiling,
Sap is running low
Kitins are thumping, screeching and scouring,
I ain't stayin' in these lands of woe
Gotta get out of here, find a way to leave
Not gonna take the easy way out, cause I've found something to believe
Gotta get out of here, find a way to escape
My thoughts are spinning though my aim is clear, opportunity awaits!
Hacking through the bush like a ragus tracker
I been huggin' this old road like a kin
Alone out here, lost my mektoub packer
And my soul's sure wearing thin
But as long as I live, I'll keep kicking along
Keep pushing till my blood runs dry
To the newfound lands, to the place I belong
I can make it if I push and I'll try
Gotta get out of here, find a way to leave
Not gonna take the easy way out, cause I've found something to believe
Gotta get out of here, find a way to escape
My thoughts are spinning though my aim is clear, opportunity awaits!
- Kerman Aeron[7]



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