Lore Submission Thread

Isme’s Journey

Isme’s Journal #18

Today I headed out to hunt papoo and look for all the stuff that woman wanted, Oh and those elusive magic blue flowers. I was walking through the piglet fields and thought I would get out my scanner and look for ore. I mean I found fruit in the piglet pen, and many gem stones from the piglets, so maybe there were treasures under the piglets too?

Well, I started a scan, nothing. Started another scan, nothing. I walked on a bit, and thought I would try 1 more time. And bing bing bing! The scanner found a claim!!! I ran over and scooped up crude oil!

I thought I would walk on a bit further and try again. I could just make out the area where the yellow papoo hang out and I stopped and pulled out my scanner again. As I was looking down and setting the dials I noticed that the indicator on the tag I was given by Audrey Niles. The tag had indicators for papoo samples collected and mine claims to learn about the New Elysium Order. I had almost abandoned that mission because I couldn’t think of a way around the giant drakes. But the tag had changed……. One of the claim lights was glowing!!!

I stood there in stunned silence. I was several thousand meters from where she had originally indicated I should go for the claims. I was in the old piglet field. I eventually tore myself away from the glowing light and searched for another claim. It couldn’t be that simple could it?

After another failed search I found a second claim, recovered the material, and a second light lite up!!!

Who knew?? I couldn’t believe it. I went on to find 2 more before calling it a day. I only need 1 more.
I am confident I will find it tomorrow.

I wonder why she didn’t say I could find the claims anywhere? Maybe it was a test. A test to see who would reason it out and use, as my favorite fiction sleuth says “use the little gray cells” and who would rush in blind to get eaten by the drakes.

I guess I will find out eventually.

The papoo should enjoy another free night. As soon as I find the 5th claim I am coming for them!

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July Lore Entry #1

Neon Bamboo Facts
Research by Fatteus “Fatty” Thorsson

One of the first things you find on Next Island is also one of the most awe-inspiring things; the Neon Bamboo. This brilliant, blue fixture is found in many places around Next Island. But how does this beautiful example of botany work? What makes it tick? The answer may not surprise you if, like me, you have a background in biology. It’s simple. Neon Bamboo, like some organisms, produces a phosphorescence. Why this is was a mystery until very recently. Most organisms that produce such a glow require it for their survival. So, we asked ourselves, was it for some survival reason? After many years of searching for answers, it dawned on us. Neon Bamboo needs to be seen by a certain nocturnal animal that helps it spread. How the Neon Bamboo procreates is intriguing. It actually needs to be consumed, passed through this creature’s digestive tract, and excreted. After this happens, the bamboo sprouts everywhere the animal leaves droppings. While this nocturnal beast can see fine in the dark, the bamboo’s light makes it even more attractive to it.

What is this mysterious nocturnal beast that eats the Neon Bamboo? It’s a creature that has only ever been observed a few times; the Night Panda. What the heck is a Night Panda, you ask? This is a fair question. Only a handful of settlers have seen this elusive critter. Even at night, this herbivore is extremely tricky to find. That’s actually an understatement. It’s quite impossible. We don’t know much about it, suffice that people who have seen it describe it as a reverse Earth Panda, white where black is supposed to be and black where white is supposed to be. Seeing as how the Night Panda and the Neon Bamboo share such a symbiotic relationship, it is theorized that they are native to Next Island. There are a few on the fringe that believe neither the Night Panda nor the Neon Bamboo are indigenous to Next Island but were both brought over from Earth and genetically modified. I, for one, believe either possibility has validity.

Before you go looking for a Night Panda, you should know that they are very shy around people to the point where they fade into the forest… literally. They can cloak themselves. I’m not joking! They can also go months without food or water! Therefore, even if you could camp out at their food source at night, they will never appear to you. Perhaps if we were to find every specimen of Neon Bamboo and post a sentry at each one for several months straight, then perhaps we can see one and maybe even capture it for more study? Anyway, that is all I’ve got for the Neon Bamboo and it’s mysterious lore. If I get more information, you can expect a full report!

Fatty out!

Lore Entry #2

Boar(ing) Facts
Research by Fatteus “Fatty” Thorsson

There is no animal on Next Island more ubiquitous than the Boar. They are so common, they come in several flavors (all of them tasting like bacon). On the lower tier of Boars, we have the Village Boar. These are weaker, but by far the most intelligent of the Boar Species. Village Boars have been known to collaborate with other creatures- like the Screecher- can solve complex problems, can recognize their own reflection in a mirror (I think the Mutant Boar we tested simply broke the mirror), and some scientists have even studied their grunts and snorts and have found that they follow the same kinds of patterns as speech.

The next most powerful Boar types are the Mountain and Mutant Boars. They are roughly the same in strength and intelligence, but the Mutant Boars only recently appeared on the scene. It’s not clear, but some hypothesize that the Mutant Boars are just modified Mountain Boars. We don’t know what scientist or scientists altered them or why, but we can only conclude that the experiments were a massive failure. Mutant Boars cannot be as strong as Mountain Boars, since their DNA is altered to the point of degradation, and therefore instability.

A little higher up than the strongest Mountain Boars are the Wild Boars. As their name suggests, the Wild Boar is quite unpredictable, the wild card. They are somewhere between the Mountain Boar and the Village Boar in intelligence. Some gourmands and foodies will swear up and down that the Wild Boar tastes the best of all the Boar breeds (with Mutant Boars being the worst tasting). For this reason, a Wild Boar Steak fetches a high price. It’s too bad our hunting weapons ruin the meat.

Finally, the mightiest Boar enters the arena, the Sand Boar. The Sand Boar is found in the most desolate and dangerous regions of Next Island, and they are hardy enough to survive even in those places. It is most likely their environment that caused them to become so fierce. When it comes to strength, the Sand Boar cannot be beaten, and their cunning is also frighteningly high! If you can take them down, however, there’s a good chance you can get an incision plate.

Of course, if you’ve read my reports on the Papoo and the Screecher, you know Boars are hated universally by the Papoo. They compete for the same resources, and as you might expect, Boars are pigs and eat everything they see, even Papoo (and fallen settlers).

That’s what I have for my report on Boars. I hope I didn’t Boar you… See what I did there? Ok, Fatty out!

Entry #3

Facts about The Magic Flower
Research by Fattues “Fatty” Thorsson

I’ve been scouring the entire planet for Magic Flowers in my hunt for knowledge. Frederick turned me onto this amazing Next Island Flora when he asked me to gather some of them. The hunt has been arduous. I procured a list of coordinates where they may be found growing, but most of the time I check those places, they have already been picked! The good news is that the time it takes for a new flower to grow is amazingly short!

I hypothesized before that the Magic Flower is actually a Blue Baobab sapling. We haven’t yet confirmed that. A full DNA analysis is being run as of the writing of this report, so we should know soon, but deadlines are deadlines and I had to get this out before that is likely to happen. However, I have faith that I will be proven correct! Only time, and a little bit of science, will tell.

Magic Flowers, named so because they were first discovered around the area of the magical Enchanted Village, are not magical, per se. However, they do have properties that make them considered magical. They resonate with a special frequency that allows people to enter the mysterious Magical Forest. 3 are required to create enough “noise” to open the way. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle, as G.I. Joe used to say. But I digress.

Magic Flowers make beautiful decorations in the home. They have another unique property that allows them to survive without water or nutrients. This is known as a “stasis state.” It is similar to how a tardigrade survives in its “tun state,” except the Magic Flower does not change shape or form, which makes it all the more amazing! This makes them extremely convenient house plants. While in this state, it is apparently impossible for them to grow any bigger or mature into their adult forms. Because of this and the fact that they are almost never left alone for long, we don’t know what their true adult form looks like, hence my theory. I am very excited to find out more about this mysterious plant! Keep your eye out for my next report in August!
Fatty out!

Entry #4

A Day in Ancient Greece Part 1 – It Begins
Short Story by Fatteus “Fatty” Thorsson

As the sun climbed into it’s position in the sky, it warmed the hills and cliffs of Ancient Greece. Living things were glad to feel the loving embrace of its light. Birds took flight in living sheets, insects chirruped gaily, and a young woman was heading to the river to fill her vase with water. The grass was still wet with dew as she walked downhill from the already bustling city of Thebes. She breathed in the fragrant air and felt the wind on her face as she approached the river. On the other side of the river, a doe grazed reverently, content with her presence.

The young woman dipped her hands into the water and let the current flow into them. The water was cool and refreshing on her face and as it went down her parched throat, she felt glad to be alive. After rewarding herself, she lowered the vase, which was a little less than half her size, into the aqua pura. The full vase was very burdensome, but she bore it on herself cheerfully as she went back up the well-worn foot path back to Thebes and her home.

Her home was right down the street to the Thebes Market. People passed hither and thither, flitting from one task to another in their busy, yet simple lives. It had been a whole year since the last Cyclops raid. No problems from the brutal Myrinian Warriors either. Ever since the Atom Pylis (Portal People or those who came from the door) showed up, things have been fairly easy going. Calling themselves First Wavers, they brought magic from another world and were constantly hunting the beastly foes of Thebes. For what reason, the woman could not tell, but the upshot of this was the relative peace that settled in not long after.

She rounded the corner and set her vase full of water down. “Father, I’m home!” she called.

A strong voice answered her, it was masculine yet gentle. “Tera, my daughter. Did you bring the water?”

“Yes, father. I just set it outside the door.” She entered the house and closed the door behind her. She would get the water in a minute, but first she would rest inside the cool, terracotta home.

“Oh good,” he sighed coming out of a back room. “I’m parched.” He came up to her and the two embraced like a father and daughter are wont to do. “What would this old man do without his beloved girl?”

She beamed and let go of their grip with one another. “If it weren’t for me, you’d probably not even be able to find your head,” she joked.

“As long as it’s still attached,” he grunted as he walked over to the dining room table and sat down.

Tera giggled like a child. Just then, there was a knock at the door, which was alarmingly loud.

The man looked from his daughter to the door, “I’ll get that,” he said as calmly as he could muster. Tera was confused. Just a moment ago the atmosphere was light and full of levity, but now it was much heavier, and her father seemed worried.

The man answered the door and found two other people standing at the threshold. They were in strange garb and wrapped in other-worldly armor. Even their faces were covered with helmets that were smooth and had no openings, which looked strange to the people of Thebes. Many wondered aloud how they can see or even breath. But this was just the nature of the magic used by the Atom Pylis. The two strangers stared into Tera’s father’s eyes.

“Creon, Archon of Thebes?” the apparently male voice asked.

“Yes? I am Creon.”

“We have a situation that we need to brief you on,” the other Atom Pylis, a female judging by the voice, stated formally as if in military cadence.

Creon looked them up and down with slight skepticism. Tera stifled a cough.

“Very well. Would you like to come inside?” Creon asked the two strangers.

“I’m afraid that is not an option,” the male said officially. “We’ll meet you at the temple.”

“I understand,” Creon lied, “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

The strangers left and melted into the bustling crowd. Creon waited until they were gone, then grabbed his walking stick.

“I’ll be back, sweetie.”

The walk to the temple was usually a pleasant one. The air was warm yet brisk, as usual. The leaves of the trees danced in the slight breeze, as usual. But this wasn’t a usual stroll up to the temple. There was a feeling of dread for Creon that was hard to put his finger on. When he got to the temple, there were four Atom Pylis standing outside. They all looked similar, all wearing the same uniform armor with their glass visors covering all of their faces. Creon walked up to them and saluted out of respect.

“Creon, Archon of Thebes,” a low voice said from behind one of the visors.

“Don’t worry about being formal, gentlemen,” Creon said exasperatedly. “What is the emergency? You’re interrupting my day of rest.”

“Dire news,” The speaker appeared to be the one in charge. “I will get right to the point. There is a virus spreading through Thebes.”

Creon’s eyebrows raised.

“We have identified several cases and they are currently being treated. We think the virus originates from the First Wavers who came here through the teleporter from Next Island. The people here do not have immunity to it, though it would appear that it laid dormant inside us for decades.”

“What are the symptoms?” Creon asked, concern in his voice.

“It starts with a cough. Then the body develops lesions. Finally, the body’s organs start to shut down. Scientists are calling it Papoo Pox, as it seems the original settlers of Next Island might have contracted it from the indigenous Papoo populations.”

“How long does it take to die from this pox?” Creon continued to press for answers.

“The gestation is usually one week.”

“So, you’re saying that in seven days, we could have a lot of dead people on our hands?” Creon’s voice quavered slightly.

“It would appear so. We are quarantining Thebes.”

Creon massaged his temples, a sign that he usually exhibited when he was distraught. “What do you need from me? Surely there is something we can do?”

“That is the good news. There is something you can do.”

Creon was now waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Something that I can do?”

“If we were to do anything, we risk spreading the virus. You, on the other hand, appear to be immune and not currently a carrier.”

“Ok. What do I need to do?”

“Your mission is to find the cure. Our research suggests that only the blood of a God has the strength to give the people of Thebes immunity.”

“You’re joking,” Creon said incredulously.

“We’re dead serious,” the Atom Pylis man said earnestly. “And if we don’t act fast, a lot of people will be seriously dead.”

“And by ‘we’, you mean me.”

The uniformed man nodded solemnly.

“I’ll start immediately,” Creon said as he grabbed up his walking stick and started back to his home. When he got there, he entered and found Tera sprawled on the floor, her eyes barely open, coughing uncontrollably.

“Tera!” Creon shouted as he went to her and knelt beside her, lifting her head in his arms.

“Father? Is that you?” Tera said weakly between coughs.

“What is going on?” Creon asked, though deep down he knew the answer already.

Tera went into another fit of coughing in answer to his question.

“Never mind. Don’t speak. Your father is on it.” Creon carried her to her bed in the next room and rested her on top of the sheets. She felt like she was burning under her skin. This was a symptom the Atom Pylis did not speak of. Was the virus already evolving? “Your father is on it.”

Entry #5

A Day in Ancient Greece Part 2– A God’s Judgment
Short Story by Fatteus “Fatty” Thorsson

Creon poured through dusty volumes written about the Gods of Ancient Greece. He had studied them studiously since becoming the Archon of Thebes, but there was still a lot he did not know. He pondered how much his fellow First Wavers knew that he didn’t. He read entries on Hephaestus, Apollo, Hades, and others. Nothing seemed to jump out at him as a possible answer to this dire problem. In the next room, Tera was having another coughing attack. Creon sighed in despair. He would not let his daughter go the same way as her mother, who had died mysteriously several months before. Then no one could say what caused her to go ill. Now, Creon was putting the pieces together. It must have been the earliest case of Papoo Pox. Thinking of her symptoms, they did seem eerily similar.

Finally, he found the last entry, Zeus. There it was, in plain ink. Zeus is unique amongst the Gods, not only because he rules over them, but because he has a special property to his blood. A single drop is rumored to be able to cure any illness. Of course! Creon bumped his head on an open cupboard door and more books tumbled on top of him. He rubbed his aching cranium and then brushed himself off. His eyes devoured what they could from this entry about Zeus. The Lord of Gods does not suffer mortals. He smites anyone foolhardy enough to approach him. No one has ever gotten him to agree to help them without copious offerings, and even then, he has been known to be stingy and tricky. Creon shook his head. What would Zeus want in return for his blood? Creon realized he had nothing he could give. He had to think of a way to pull one over on the God.

Creon closed the tome, dust blowing from between the pages. He cleared his throat. In response, Tera went into another coughing fit in the next room. Creon went to her.

“Hon, I’m going to save you.” He said, gently caressing her forehead, which was hotter than a stove, it seemed. “Please stay alive.”

He hurled himself out the door, walking stick in hand, pack on his back. The door to his home slammed behind him. A storm seemed to be rolling in, the wind picking up. There were fewer people milling around. Perhaps they all had succumbed to the Papoo Pox. How could he have let this happen? Was it his fault, he thought? Had he brought the virus?

The journey to Zeus’ home on Mount Olympus was not a stroll in the park. It was fraught with danger. More than once, Creon had to duck behind a tree or bush or hill to avoid being seen by an Arges Cyclops Bloodrager or Warrior. Finally, he reached the foot of the mountain of the Gods, Olympus. Lightning writhed across the dark cloud canopy. Then a gale rushed by Creon and a booming voice punched his eardrums.

“You are trespassing on sacred ground, mortal! Turn back now, and I may spare your miserable life.”

Creon puffed up his chest and responded forcefully, but with respect for the Divine entity. “Your majesty, Zeus, king of all Gods, I merely request a little of your holy blood so that I can save the people of Thebes- and by extension all of Ancient Greece.”

The voice laughed, malice tinging every boom of resonance. “It is your fault they are sick, First Waver.” The last two words rang in Creon’s ears, dripping with contempt. “You brought the pox upon your friends and family. I’m sure you would find it commodious of me to solve your problem for you.”

The voice echoed in the maelstrom and eventually faded. It was then that Creon spoke. “I have nothing to offer your greatness, but-”

Zeus’ voice boomed again with mirth as it roared with laughter. “Of course, you don’t! Now, begone!”

Creon hung his head in defeat. He pivoted and headed over the next hill. Once there he balled his fists and clenched his teeth. He would not let his daughter die like her mother did. He wouldn’t let his beloved people suffer either. He would get Zeus’ blood one way or another, with or without his permission.

The sky darkened with night and the storm calmed. A soft, rumbling sound issued from somewhere atop the God’s mountain. He must be asleep, Creon thought. Even Gods had to rest from time to time, but there was no telling how long he would be out. His chance was fleeting and quickly evaporating. He climbed the side, alighting the mountain agonizingly slowly, but inexorably surely. Once he got to just below the summit, he found himself on an earthen balcony formed from the very rock of Olympus. At the center was a nimbus, crackling with light and electricity. At the center of the cloud was a massive man, muscles rippling, eyes closed, his beard and mustache blowing in and out with each snore. He was most unnaturally grey-skinned, which was slightly unnerving.

Creon couldn’t believe his fortune. He got his syringe and needle out of his pack and crept up on the dozing deity. He slowly stuck the needle into Zeus’ left arm. Zeus twitched slightly and grunted, then fell back into unconsciousness. Creon sighed with relief and drew back the plunger. The blood was bright blue, almost glowing and humming with power. He slowly and carefully placed the syringe in his pack and started to back away. As he did so, he unintentionally slipped on a flat stone and fell onto his backside, the wind getting knocked out of him… The syringe rolled across the stone floor.

Zeus grunted and then opened his eyes. He saw Creon and then the vial of what appeared to be his own blood. A wrath filled his eyes, which burned even brighter than they normally did.

“Mortal fool! You dare defy the edicts of the God of Gods!?”

Creon scrabbled around on the ground, grabbed the syringe before it rolled away, stuffed it back in his pack, strapped it on, then scrambled to his feet before dashing away from the enraged entity who was now spitting lightning all around himself. Creon barely managed to dive behind a large boulder before a massive explosion hit the side he was just on. The boulder shuddered violently, and Zeus roared.

“Idiot! Imbecile! Worm! Do you not think I can destroy you AND that puny rock you’re hiding behind?!”

Several more blasts and thunderclaps emitted from the other side of the boulder, and then the boulder shattered! Zeus huffed and puffed, looking all around him. The Human mortal was nowhere to be seen. Had he evaporated him with the last blast?

The truth was, Creon had cleverly used the thunderclaps to make his escape without being noticed. By the time the boulder was pulverized by Zeus’ power, he was already sliding and clamoring down the mountain.

Creon was drenched in sweat, drawing in painful breaths from his labors. He made it to the bottom of the mountain and quickly checked behind him. A new storm was brewing in the sky. Zeus was clearly antagonized. He didn’t have much time, so he made as much space between himself and the incensed God as possible.

Hours passed, but Creon ultimately made it back to Thebes in the early morning. He rushed up the temple steps and burst into the room where the lab was set up. He set the blood onto the table and looked at the other First Waver. “Please save my people.”

The scientist nodded gravely and took the sample. Five agonizing days passed before the serum was finished. Every day, Creon held his daughter’s dainty hand, which was limp and lifeless, but she breathed still, between coughing attacks. A few elders didn’t make it, but at last, the Serum was finished before too many others died. Creon knew he was being selfish, but he begged that Tera be the first one to receive the cure. The other First Wavers understood his fatherly instincts and agreed. Creon took the medicine to his dying daughter. His heart sank when he saw her laying in her bed, her skin tallow and stretched across her bones. She hadn’t been able to eat much more than broth since she had gotten sick. He gingerly stuck the needle into the vein on her right arm and let the life-giving liquid go into her frail body. Her flesh immediately brightened as the blood flow was restored. She had been on the very threshold of death and now she was apparently recovering. Creon cried openly.

“Oh, my daughter! I knew everything would be alright.” He wept into her bedding. “Everything is going to be alright.”

Ok! See you all next month!

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Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
Entry: #95

Data - Encrypted:

The sun rises and I watch flagons of wine and carts of fresh food coming in and out of Thebes. While my associates and allies were busy with our little mining operation, I decided I should begin looking less suspicious by resuming exploration activities in this strange land stuck in time. Security reports for the past while have been nothing too crazy, other than a Resa identified as “Harriot” roaming the land near one of the northern Loyalist listening posts.

I have been interested in researching the strange disappearance of some of the citizens on one of the southern islands. The Haruspex have warned against me going to explore around there but I do not care about their threats, curiosity cannot be stopped!

“I’ve lost a neighbor down south a few months ago, went there looking for rare flowers but never came back”, someone in the forum told me.

“They’ve sent search parties to try finding the missing people but even the search parties go missing”, said a soldier of the city watch.

I think the majority of the people around here know of some strange phenomenon that has been making people disappear, but no one wants to investigate the cause due to the high risk of also disappearing.

The locals have a tale they tell to children, of a demon who drags them into a cave and absolutely eviscerates them if they leave after bedtime. The firepit flickered as the wind blew, my heading? Sparta! From there I hope to charter a ship to the southern islands. I have never sailed by boat here, so this will be my first time. The sun continues to rise, I must ride to Sparta before the sun makes it too hot to travel.

“You are a fool to risk your life for this Draken, there must be a reason why no one returns”, said a merchant.

“And yet I’m the only one with the courage to do it. You are a merchant, whose profession is to trade. Mine is exploring, and to investigate is to explore”, I replied with a smirk.

My strider was fueled up and ready. Before departing, I took a last look at “home” and smiled, a voice in my mind kept warning me to not investigate, but it just kept me wanting to investigate even more.

Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
Entry: #96

Data:

MYRINIAN AMBUSH! MYRINIAN AMBUSH!

On my travels to the southern part of Ancient Greece, the hostile Myrinians ambushed me from high ground on a ridge. My current status at that moment was: delayed, looted, and stranded. Another day of bad luck for the dear captain, oh how far I’ve fallen from favor and how far I’ve fallen from grace.

However, during my moment of despair and utter defeat, a familiar voice asked “This is not a good place to rest my friend” as I stared at my ruined equipment and strider. Who may this familiar voice be, a friend, a foe? A Haruspex!

Another wandering Haruspex, living among the people of this land, blending in and embracing the lifestyle of the past. A slight smile came to me when I saw him offer his hand to help me get up.

“You should abandon your investigation, after all our time here, not even the Haruspex have figured out where the poor people end up that wander into the darkness” he suggested after I told him where I was going.

“But that is the reason, to seek answers, to know where the abyss leads, to riches or to death” I replied.

“I can get you on board a galley. Sparta is patrolling the waters for sea monsters and the ship will be leaving port in 2 days. If you change your mind and want an adventure, reach Knossos instead”

“I can’t land at Knossos, my deal with your people was that I don’t explore Knossos and they won’t disturb my faction’s business here”

He smiled, shook my hand, and then offered to lead me to Sparta, which I graciously accepted.

From the ambush point to Sparta, we talked about adventure and treasure, and the objectives of an adventurer and explorer.

Approaching the outskirts of Sparta, a small group of hoplites standing guard welcomed us to their city-state home. A great place to hunt less-aggressive cyclops, Sparta also seems to be a lead exporter of vibrant sweat, a key ingredient in much of our manufacturing. A potential business opportunity? Maybe, however, I do not wish to crash the Loyalist sweat industry since it does make up a significant amount of our exports.

Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
Entry: #97

Data:

Day 1 of staying with my Haruspex friend in Sparta has been a wonderful experience of combat training, hunting, and exercise in general. I am really out of shape for an explorer and probably would get destroyed by a larger monster if it weren’t for my high-powered weapons and gear. But what if I don’t have the gear? Do I simply take the hit and be on the verge of death?

The spartans train daily and, I am lucky to get a 5km run into my schedule. In terms of food, I survive mostly on rations nowadays compared to the spartans and my dear Haruspex friend who embrace a diet of real foods instead of processed rations.

At precisely 5:00, we went out on a run and surely enough, I lacked the agility to keep going and couldn’t even outrun the asclarias companion my Haruspex friend had. A slight embarrassment, but it didn’t compare to me being smacked straight to the revive by a cyclops club. I think I broke something and used the last of my fast aid pack to fix it. I’m not sure whether or not this is discouragement or a move to decrease morale, but it is working. I feel discouraged from going on my journey but realize what I have to improve on to have an edge against hostile enemies.

“How did you survive this long on planetside?” the Haruspex scoffed.

“Sheer luck maybe? I swear I was fit back in the day” I said, running out of breath

“It’s because you’ve been traveling too much on skyrippers and striders. What you need is to experience walking on your feet and eat natural” he added.

When we started walking back towards the city, he told me of treasures he found, the origins of the asclarias, and how his most trusted companion is a cute robot that does not exactly fit into the surrounding tech period. Another adventure for another day? Maybe.

A strong gust of wind suddenly blew and I stumbled a little. Trying to regain my footing, I turned around to check on my Haruspex friend and noticed he was gone. Where did he go? What kind of Haruspex sorcery is this? There is no physical way someone could suddenly disappear into thin air so fast. He didn’t run off, he didn’t die, was he just a figment of my imagination? Classic Haruspex, always up to mischievous things.

Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
Entry: #98

Data:

Day 2, today is the day to depart from Sparta. The weather seemed calm and the lack of wind might be a problem but I’ll let the Spartan navy figure it out. For now, I just need to get to the docks.

“I’ve been told you can get me to the southern island”

“You must be the explorer I was told about, come aboard sir”

And just like that, my passage to the southern island was arranged by a Haruspex I met months ago while wandering around Orpheus’ Cave. To call this an act of destiny again is an understatement. I feel like I’m being played, Haruspex and ancient greeks both come in to help me at convenient times. I’ll play along still, but to be fair, my suspicions among the various factions are still not gone.

The trip on the galley was a routine patrol along the waters around Sparta territory to keep sea monsters away. The first part of the patrol was overall very boring, I think I ended up playing games on my datapad while they were looking for monsters.

At noon, we started getting into some trouble. The waves started picking up and there was a storm brewing. It got to the point where I stopped playing on my datapad and began wandering the ship. The crew looked uneasy and judging by the general sentiment, something bad was going to happen.

“Best you stay below deck traveler, if the waves come crashing onto the deck, they could pull you into the water”

“A little water doesn’t scare me, it’s just a storm”

“On this boat, you’ll be afraid to get wet sir”

Just as he finished saying that, a loud shriek echoed across the stormy sky and a bolt of lightning struck the ship’s mast. Luckily this was made of wood, but a small fire was lit on the very top, threatening our very survival.

“Must be a sign from Poseidon himself to turn you back from your destination hahaha”

Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
Entry: #99

Data:

“Fire on the mast!” someone yelled as I started climbing up to extinguish it.

“WAVE!” yelled another as another wave crashed onto the deck and swept away a bucket and a crate.

On planetside, we never have these problems, we are in enclosed metal ships that have somewhat decent structural integrity and do not fear the heavy storms unleashed by nature.

“INCOMING!” yelled a crewman and a wave came crashing down, sweeping him into the waters.

I continued up the mast, struggling to climb due to the rain, and after struggling to gain some kind of footing, I finally reached the top and started frantically patting the fire with my bag but something wasn’t right, it wasn’t extinguishing, even with the rain wetting it, it wouldn’t go out.

“What’s taking so long up there? Why is there still a fire?!” yelled the captain

“It’s not going out, must be some kind of magic” I exclaimed.

Continuing to smack my bag on the fire, I remembered something from a history lesson. Back on earth, scientists sought to replicate a certain type of chemical that could keep a fire going even when in water. Then it hit me, “could this be ‘Greek Fire’?” I thought to myself.

“Anyone knows if it was lightning that struck the mast?” I yelled down to the crew below.

“Why isn’t the fire out yet? What’s going on up there?” complained the captain.

“There’s no way a bolt of lightning hit it with Greek Fire, we might be under attack”

“Just put it out and get down from there”

Just as he finished saying that, I looked around and saw a ship in the distance coming towards us on our left side, wading through the waves and through the storm, unphased by the continuous crashing waves that hit it.

“Ship on the left! We gotta pivot”

Hearing my warning, the captain looked at the ship and told everyone to prepare to brace for impact. Taking another look at the ship, I squinted hard and couldn’t believe what was coming to us.

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Character: Dalia Vivian
Month: July

5 Lore Submissions:

Entry #16

– Sebastian! What are you doing with my diary?

This was how I woke up today! I was dreaming, imagining the leaves on the trees swaying in the morning breeze, but that were actually the pages of my diary being written and ripped out… So my beautiful dream ended when I opened my eyes to see a bunch of torn and crumpled pages scattered on the ground.

This Sebastian… I didn’t even manage to scold him properly! He was so happy that as soon as he saw me he came running and jumping like a child to show me his drawing: “Dalia, we are going to have a new home!”, he repeated excited as he gladly handed me the notebook with his drawings.

Maybe I was too hasty yesterday to convince him that if he lived with us he could have food and everything he needed every day. I know I wasn’t allowed to promise something like that, but I’m sure a thinking and speaking papoo can be well trained and will be of great use to our community.

On the way, Sebastian told me about Dr. Kylon and his experiments. I knew that papoos always aroused the curiosity of our scientists, but I never imagined that they were actually testing them. Is there anyone else who knows about Sebastian? Dr. Kylon hasn’t been with us for a while, maybe a year. Has Sebastian been alone all this time? This could explain why he seems so excited about “having a new house”.

Although his drawings aren’t exactly what we would call “a house”… well, what was I expecting from a papoo?.. he would be happy to have space and freedom… but will they really agree to make the large natural reserve that Sebastian drew and planned for him and his papoos friends?

The meeting has been running for a few hours now so we’ll probably know their decisions soon!

Entry #17

“I even drew flowers there to match with your name!” Sebastian said. Looks like he was serious about his plans for “our new home”. I don’t even know where he got that idea… although it was so sweet that he thought about me.

Of course I already have a house… I mean, it’s not a house, but I do have a place to stay… and although it is not exactly “mine” I have been staying here for a few years now. It’s not that I was bad before, but Helen was quite insistent on this point: “You’re growing up, you need privacy!”. That day if Sara and Miranda didn’t hold her, I think she would have hit Arthur on the head with her Walking Stick! Among all men, Arthur was the one who definitely didn’t have any sort of hidden motives in telling me I could stay at his house. After all, his entire heart and mind only belong to one person. But that’s a thought for another day, what matters now is that I really wish I could help Sebastian get his house too.


Sebastian’s drawings


Oh, that’s right, Sebastian’s drawings are still here in the middle of the diary. Fortunately, the plans for the natural reserve were approved and our engineers immediately started looking for a suitable place to build it.

Meanwhile Sebastian went looking for his papoos friends to convince them to join the future reserve. “Papoo Village” is what everyone is already calling it. Everyone is excited to start construction.

Today one of the engineers came to ask me what was this house with flowers. I ended up answering that it is a sort of “community center”, “a place to hang out, have a drink together, laugh and have a lot of fun.”

– This sounds more like the description of a bar. – Jonas intervened.

– No! More than a bar, this should be a club! – Answered Ben, and as always he began to tell the stories of Earth and its famous places.

So in the end they decided that that house would be the “Carolines” in honor of a place on the old Earth!

Entry #18

How tired! No, it wasn’t just the construction of the reserve! Well, that was tiring too, but it was worth it. Or at least that’s what I thought when we finished it. The problem was the Boars!

But maybe I should start at the beginning… after all I ended up not even writing anything because I was so busy the last days… actually it was a lot of hard work, but finally everything was ready! And the grand opening was scheduled for the next day!

No one could have imagined that today, the day of the opening of the reserve, we would wake up to find the boars invading the entire area. Especially the fence suffered a lot of damage. It seems that when Sebastian came with the brown papoos from the NEO mountains in the North, they passed the Mountain Boars halfway. They started following them to the new Papoo Village and then they were attracted by the fruits planted inside the fence.

Even worse, they destroyed the entire plantation and the big boars started to spread out in the habitable zone to the west and attack people! They were so many that our soldiers could not stop them on their own. But we couldn’t stand by and watch them invade houses and destroy everything in their path. Then everyone started to join East of Crystal Bay to block the way of the boars. All those who could grabbed their weapons and the others took whatever they could use to fight the creatures: torches, sticks, canes, frying pans, etc…

It was a hard struggle, but finally the boars began to retreat… After many hours, we managed to eliminate the threat, and the remaining boars, finding themselves at a disadvantage, began to head back to the North.

Only the little Mountain Boar Piglets stayed inside the fence. And as they are not a danger to the community, we think it’s good to create some there for consumption.

The feeling of having finished a job and doing it well is great. Seeing everyone together, hanging out at Carolines and resting and talking out here around the fire. This is a priceless moment.

Well, speaking of campfire, it looks like everything is ready to start roasting, so maybe I should go help now… in the end, trying to look at things positively, I think we’re going to have big boar steaks for the whole year!

Entry #19

“What a wonderful day!” I thought to myself looking up at the bright blue sky. The sunrise, Igor’s papoo pet making noise in the morning, the waves on the beach and the wind blowing in the bamboo forest… “I really like this place!”, I smiled, looking at the fishes in the small pond.

And in an amazing way, today I didn’t feel like every day here was the same anymore.

First, I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive… I feel like I haven’t explored many things and I’m already back… I haven’t even gone far enough! “What if they don’t like my reports?” I was quite worried… After several hours of waiting, the council finally came to an agreement.

And in the end it looks like they liked it! They congratulated me on my work and asked to continue with my journey! I even got an armor and a little robot: it’s a L.A.R.A., which is supposed to help me with the data collection.

I’m ready to go again. I’m just sad to leave Sebastian like this.

“I’m going to destroy all these boars!”, was what he said angry.

The reserve was built, but in the end the boars chased away the papoos, and it was a big mess. The gray papoos ran away to the plains northeast of the reserve, near Neophyte Village. The reds returned to the Ancient Ruins, leaving only a small wave of them next to the reserve. The brown papoos seem to like more arid and rocky terrains, so they settled next to the rocks, East of Shepherds Beach.

So only the yellow papoos stayed in the North and East of the reserve, enjoying the oasis.

Even the climbing zone is empty. We’ll probably have to find another use for it.

The fence now is full of small piglets, so it has been decided that we are not going to plant the fruits there again. It was also determined that when the big blue eggs brought from the screecher grotto hatch, some of the small schechers can be raised on the fence along with the piglets.

And Sebastian got upset and went to live in an old ruin that is East of Papoo Village. Maybe with time his hate for the boars will decrease, I hope.

Entry #20

Why is everyone in this place “shoot first, ask questions later”? And he still asks me if I’m upset! Of course I’m upset! What did he want? That I thank him so much for getting me out of the mess I ended up in and for bringing me to this place? I didn’t ask him for anything! I could have made it by myself… I mean, I probably would have thought of a solution… well, maybe it wasn’t that easy… after all I’d already heard those rude men talking to each other about how they should get rid of me…

“I was so happy when I started this trip!”, I sigh.

I had no idea that those rude men from Resa would rob me. They took my stuff, put me in a tent at Resa Docks and didn’t even bother to tie me up properly, claiming that the only way I was going to get out of there would be becoming shark food.

But in a short time the silence turned into a chaos. The gentle lapping of the waters on the pier started to become stronger. “Is there a vehicle approaching?”, I thought, peeking out of the tent. But none of the Resas seemed to notice. Suddenly a burst of shots echoed, followed by screams, more shots, what sounded like engines from some kind of helicopter, and strong footsteps running along the wooden walkways… it was scary! And then the silence returned…

I waited a few minutes to gather my courage and leave the tent… and maybe I should have stayed quiet… the Resa men were… on the ground and… I don’t want to remember those images anymore…

I turned around so I wouldn’t continue to look and I came face to face with a soldier who quickly put a gun on me. I fell back and the few moments I saw the gun reload seemed to be in slow motion, and still I couldn’t move, not even say a single word.

– Eleanor? – A woman’s voice called – Stop! Are you Eleanor’s daughter?

So that’s how in the end I came with NEO to their territory.

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Lore submision by: Nakor of Boreft.
The search for Daniel

Part 1
Who is this Daniel character? What is his plan for Chloe?? He seems to know things and be able to do things, but who is he? Or, what is he?? Chloe gave me the Haruspex recording device Daniel gave her. He could be Haruspex. We don’t know much about them yet. What would they be doing here in Ancient Greece? I do know they have a strong connection to all living things on Next Island. There’s so much we don’t know about them. Like that recording device. I immediately recognize it as being Haruspex technology. Yet, we only see Haruspex traveling with their wagons. Like Earth’s gypsies of legend. But those were mostly musicians and artists. Like what we see of the Haruspex. I’ve never seen a Haruspex engineer. But they must exist. Where does their technology come from? Where do their wagons come from if they don’t build them? I think my best bet is to assume Daniel is a Haruspex. I’ll go to Next Island and ask some Haruspex there. Maybe someone knows Daniel or can point me in the right direction of someone who does. From what I’ve seen from the Haruspex, they’re very open and friendly people. I saw some of their wagons near Orpheus’cave, but no people. There are Haruspex at Tanzanite view. They’re always looking for big, blue flowers and for lesser elysium. Wait! Big, blue flowers? Magical flowers! I never gave it any thought, but could they mean actual magic? Hearing about this Daniel character made my mind spin. Magic isn’t real! Is it? I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for this Daniel is and why he did as he did. But still, the more I think about it….them. The more questions I come up with. And why hasn’t anyone asked them before? I’m getting more and more determined to get answers. Though it also gives me shivers to think of what those answers might be.

Part 2
As I’ve said before, there are Haruspex at Tanzanite view, so that’s where went. They were more wagons and people now than a while back! I remembered Frederick from the magical flower mission and May who is always in need of Lesser Elysia. But there were more wagons now! I asked Frederick and May if they knew anything about a certain Daniel, but they said they had never heard of him. Next, I tried to walk to one of the new wagons, but suddenly I stood next to the teleporter again! What was that?! I tried walking to another of the new wagons and the same thing happened! I was stunned! What was going on here? I saw a woman standing a bit in front of one of the new wagons. She waved to me and she smiled friendly. When I walked up to her, she introduced herself as Flora. Flora told me the area behind her was for Haruspex VIPs only and if I wanted to go there I needed to craft some real Haruspex clothes. As I think Frederick’s clothes look very good, I immediately went to collect the necessary materials. And it was a little easier even.
I did not need to craft the clothes. I just needed to try 3 times for each piece of clothing. I already knew I could get the needed blueprints easily enough and the needed materials were easy enough to get. Most of them I already had. Only Anhydrqate Crystal was way out of my league to get myself, so I bought that from the auctioneer. Each time I had enough of the materials needed to try to craft one piece of the clothes. I went to the crafting terminal. Slowly I turned into Nakor the white! These clothes look so nice and they are comfortable to wear! When I had all 4 pieces of clothes on, I felt like a true VIP. So proudly I went back to Flora. She look at me, smiled approvingly, and made a little bow. “You are now a Haruspe VIP. Welcome”, she said.

Part 3
Now that I could enter the Haruspex VIP area, I decided to look around a bit before asking, what may be sensitive, questions.
In the first wagon I entered, I found something that I did not expect! A naked woman was standing there! It made me think of the shy Vixens on Rocktropia, so I expected her to run towards me and start yelling “I don’t see your name on the HOF list”, but I was very mistaken. She was calm and introduced herself as Lady Fri. A Haruspex artist. She makes the most wonderful paintings. She apologized for not having any clothes on. She’s a unique person I think, but she seemed nice.

In the second wagon I entered, I found a big, muscular man who only introduced himself as the Hunting specialist. He was more a silent type, but he fascinated me anyway. I did not know Harupex hunted. I always thought they were vegetarians. Eating only what the land provided them with.

The next person I met had a very large, peculiar-looking backpack. Alve was his name and he kept on talking. Where the hunting specialist was the silent type. Alve made up for that more than enough! He told me he is a miner. I guess he spends so much time all alone that he was glad he finally had someone to talk to. He kept on talking about all of the enmatters and ores he found. About the tools, he uses to find them, and extract them. About the different depths, you can find things at. He is really the most passionate about mining I’ve ever seen!

By now, it had become evening and I could feel a strange sensation in my head. It felt like something. or someone! Was ‘pulling’ at my right temple. A feeling I had never felt before and though it didn’t hurt. It felt uncomfortable. Then I heard my stomach complain and realized that I hadn’t eaten n some time. The Haruspex eat together and Flora waved me over to join them. So I did and had a wonderful dinner with them. There was even boar meat, so now I’m sure they’re not vegetarians. Though come to think of it. |I didn’t see any of them eat it. When we were all full of food and drink. Instruments were brought out. I decided to just enjoy the evening and ask for Daniel the next day.

Part 4
After a very nice evening of music and dancing, I felt very relaxed the next day. The strange sensation in my head, that I had felt the evening before was all gone now. I was ready to learn more about Daniel that had been teaching Chloe how to use weapons. Part of me still couldn’t believe it if he were Haruspex. they seem so peaceful! How could he be the teacher he described? But if he wasn’t Haruspex, what was he then?? He did give Chloe that Haruspex recording device. I couldn’t make any sense of it at all.

First, I went to ask Flora. She greeted me as friendly as she had done the day before. When I asked if she knew Daniel, she looked at me puzzlingly and said she didn’t.
Next, I went to lady Fri. When I entered her wagon, I called out her name. She said something, but I couldn’t make out what it was. As my head turned and I saw her, I realized that she had said she’d forgotten to put her clothes on. Like the day before. She was standing in front of me, fully naked! When I asked her if she knew Daniel, she took her time to think. Her eyes lost focus as if she was remembering something. When her eyes got into focus again, she looked at me and said. I think it was Daniel who made that painting of the harbour.
Alve was the next person I met. I don’t even think he heard my question. The moment he saw me, he started talking about a great claim of dark lysterium he had discovered and how long it would take him to extract all of it.
The Hunting specialist had seemed my best bet from the start for information about this Daniel character, but when I asked him if he knew a Daniel. He didn’t flinch or think twice. He said he’d never heard of any Haruspex called Daniel.

Part 5
Asking the Harupex at the camp didn’t really give me much to go by. Lady Fri had said that she thought Daniel had made that painting of the harbour she has in her wagon. But that can’t be true. It can’t have been made by the same Daniel as Chloe described! She said he looked a little older than her. That should be around the age of 17 years. That painting looks like it is at least 200 years old! Maybe it was made by a different Daniel. I was back at square one it seemed. When I walked away from the wagons, I noticed something. A purple light floated there! I was stunned! Something I had never seen before. The light didn’t move, not even when I approached it. When I was standing really close to it, I could hear its voice! Not with my ears. It didn’t have a mouth to speak with, but I heard a voice in my mind!! It said it was a Hasuspex elder and continued to explain they had created Ancient Greece from the memories of some first-wave colonists. It was a world meant for them to look familiar. He, or it. I don’t know if they have a gender, continued to tell me they are peaceful and they need our help. Their intentions for creating Ancient Greece were good but something went wrong. Terrible evils appeared as time passed. One of those evils I knew bout, it told me. The Gorgon. But it warned me of an evil I did not know of yet. The Moloch it called it.
This did convince me there is much, much more to these Haruspex than we know. We see the people living in their wagons. Leading a relatively simple life. Occupied with arts mainly, but this floating light is also Haruspex! He says they created an entire world! How is this possible??
As for Daniel. I don’t have any new leads……

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Isme’s Journey

Isme’s Journal #19

I am trying hard to be perky and positive today. So far its not working.

I should be happy. I really should. I got all the things I needed for Audrey. I even found a new teleport location. So Yay!

But I am not feeling it. It was a really hot day today. I to take the teleporter to Tanzanite View and walk the rest of the way. I really only had to choices 1) take the teleporter to Tanzanite View and WALK to Audrey or 2) take the teleporter to Tanzanite View and RUN the rest of the way to Audrey.

With the heat I thought I would walk. I thought maybe I might even find some rocks or dung or fruit for that crazy lady planning the party.

I actually did find almost 60 fruit! So that was good. I then found that same field of boars.

I actually made out pretty well there. I did not even have to work hard taking a single boar down. I even took them down in pairs! I was feeling pretty good!!!

ISME GOTITT SUPER HUNTER was on the prowl!!! Then I saw a shadow and then a revive terminal

I am not really sure what got me. The sun was at my back and I saw a shadow moving up on me and then it was over. I didn’t even know what the shadow belonged too!

Once I sort of collected myself, I started to look around. It wasn’t the revive at Tanzanite. It was a new one. Its called Fenster Landing. According to my mini map its closer to Audrey’s location than the one at Tanzanite. So it there for means that I am also closer to Audrey’s location then I had been, but…. But … but… but.

Why does this particular mission have to take so much travel time? I need to save for an airship and fuel. That would solve all the problems with boars, and drakes and other assorted things that seem to want to kill me.

I wonder how much one costs and would it improve my “super hunter” status. That is a question for tomorrow.

A Next Island Love Story by Pope L’Brung

Book 4, Chapter 1

At First-Wave Settlement there is a moat with some small wooden bridges that cross to various terminal centres. PK and I walked along the paths looking for our contact, Lee Davies. We had no idea what he looked like. We asked a group of people on the bridge if they knew where to find him and they just shrugged their shoulders and continued taking photos of themselves. Damned tourists.

The terminal centres looked like ampitheatre bandshells. Tall, concave structures that enclosed banks of various interactive terminals. PK suggested we use one of the storage terminals to store our excess gear. He appeared to put some stuff into storage and take some stuff out - I didn’t really pay attention. I packed lightly and didn’t have any ‘excess gear.’ I opened my storage terminal anyway and was delighted to find 3 pec of shrapnel. It’s the small, simple victories in life that keep me going.

“Pope,” PK whispered to me from the next terminal over. “Look at that view.” He motioned by nodding his head toward a viewing area outside the terminal structure. We walked out onto a platform that overlooked an amazing sight. Lush trees and waterfalls framed a footpath that led downhill to sparkling ponds nearly 100 metres below us. Beautiful and breathtaking…like Jihkanna. I wished she was here to see this with me.

I noticed a gentleman to our left. He was standing next to a stack of crates and didn’t look like a tourist. He was wearing armor and appeared to be military.

“Excuse me,” I said to the man as we approached him. “We are looking for someone called Lee Davies. Do you know where we might find him?”

“I am Lee Davies,” he kindly replied. He seemed to be expecting us. “I have heard about you and your exploits. How are you liking this crazy planet so far?”

Book 4, Chapter 2

Lee Davies was kind and talkative. Very talkative. He seemed to be a low-ranking military guard and he spoke to us as if we were military too. He told us that someone called General Beckman wanted us to deliver a package to the Haruspex people. Apparently, they accidentally hacked some private data regarding portal technology and wanted to return it to the Haruspex leader. Returning the data would establish an effort of good faith and prevent the information from being leaked to opposing factions, primarily N.E.O., Stel, or Resa. He assured us that the intent of this mission was to co-exist peacefully with the Haruspex.

Stories of warring factions always bothered me. Luckily, I grew up in an area where diversity and integration were commonplace. Our biggest foes were rabid mobs and the occaisional thief. Our community had no enemies and people weren’t judged by their ethnicity or origin. I was naive to hateful discrimination.

Lee Davies continued. He informed us that Operation ‘Meet the Neighbours’ would send us north to deliver the data to a Haruspex leader. Our mission was to meet with the leader and return the hacked portal data as an act of peace. He handed me a small electronic device. I took it willingly and placed it in my pocket. He gave us a waypoint and then dismissed us as if we were soldiers.

PK didn’t waste any time. He quickly summoned his Sleipnir. “Hop in, kid.” he ordered.

We flew northbound toward the provided waypoint. I gazed down at the beautiful Haruspex land below us, spotting the occaisional cluster of travel trailers. I wondered if she was down there.

We arrived at the waypoint within minutes and we both exited the vehicle.

In front of us was a Haruspex apparition. It was similar to the one we saw when me met Ayinde at Tanzanite View. A voice spoke gently as if from the echoing corners of my mind. “Hello humans, why have you sought us?”

Book 4, Chapter 3

PK and I arrived at the waypoint given to us by Lee Davies. There were a few Haruspex buildings and trailers circled about. In the centre was a green, glowing apparition that hovered in mid-air. It spoke to us, almost telepathically.

“Hello humans, why have you sought us?”

I looked around for Ayinde. This would be the perfect time for a Haruspex guide. He was nowhere to be found.

PK nudged me forward. I guess I’m taking the lead on this one.

“Hello,” I stumbled nervously speaking aloud. I wasn’t sure exactly how to comminuncate with it. “We are here to return something that belongs to you.” I took the small data device from my pocket and held it up toward the green glow. “This contains a data log that was taken from your people by colonists. We were asked by these colonists to return it to your leader.”

The apparition spoke. Again, it seemed to be telepathic. “Thank you human, but we have no leader as you speak of. You have much to learn. I cannot take your offering but I can send you to another to hear your tale and assess your information.”

Ugh, a dreaded chain mission - I silently thought to myself. I wondered if the Haruspex apparition could detect my thoughts?

I looked to PK for instructions. He just winked and pointed his finger at me as if to unhelpfully say, “You got this, kid.”

“O-Oh-Ok,” I stuttered, returning my attention to the Harsupex apparition. “We are happy to help. Where shall we go?” I aksed.

The Haruspex guard provided us a waypoint and cautioned us about the various sects that new colonists were joining. It thanked us and stated that it was hopeful for the future of humans.

PK again summoned his Sleipnir and loaded the new waypoint into the sat-Nav.

What do you know…back to Tanzanite View.

Book 4, Chapter 4

I was learning the lore and getting a history lesson about the various factions here on Next Island. As waves of colonists arrived, some of them formed tribal sects. Territorial possessiveness and power over resources seemed to be the driving factors. These divisions slowly grew to become oppositional. Time passed and tensions grew. Small skirmishes turned into small battles. Causualities added up and lines were drawn. Each faction was now trying to defeat the other. They tirelessly fought in raids against each other while also attempting to recruit new arrivals to join their ‘cause.’ This was a side of Next Island unseen by the tourists.

As PK and I flew back to First-Wave Settlement, I took a moment to think. I was happy to be helping the Haruspex. They appeared to be the ‘peaceful’ faction here on Next Island and Jihkanna was a part of their community. I found myself being willing to do anything to keep in their good grace.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t skeptical. I was still unclear as to why we were being sent on a wild goose chase. Surely, these simple tasks could have been completed by someone more capable than us. Why did they need us to play courrier?

“You Ok back there?” asked PK from the Sleipnir comms headset.

“All good,” I replied while staring down at the beautiful scenery below.

“What do you think is on that data device?” he asked. “Lee Davies said it contains portal information. Do you think it has to do with time portals?”

“Dunno,” I mumbled into the headset. I hadn’t even thought of it. I just wanted to find Jihkanna. I wasn’t a courrier. I wasn’t a soldier. I wasn’t a time traveller. I was a miner from Calypso that fell in love with a Haruspex girl. I only wanted to hold her in my arms again. Everything else was secondary.

We touched down at First-Wave Settelment. We exited the Sleipnir and used the portal to teleport to Tanzanite View.

Ayinde was there waiting to greet us.

Book 4, Chapter 5

“Greetings, my friends!” exclaimed Ayinde as he walked up between us and placed his arms on our shoulders. “Well done, both of you!”

I wanted to ask Ayinde why he had left us and where he had gone. Honestly, I was more grateful that he was here and just hugged him back.

I told him about the data device and our conversation with the green Haruspex guard. He seemed to already know.

“I want to introduce you to the Elder,” said Ayinde. He tugged on our arms and lead us over a grass knoll and toward a tree. Hovering in mid-air was a purple globe apparition. This is what we saw Ayinde speaking with earlier. “Don’t be scared, my friends.” Ayinde assured. “The Elder is peaceful and is expecting you.”

A powerful voice overwhelmed my psyche with a calming wave.

“Greetings humans. One hopes you are well.”

I bravely inhaled and returned the greeting the Elder. I offered the data device from my pocket and relayed the information given to us.

“You are remarkably direct for one of your kind, terran.” the Elder replied.

Terran. I think that’s what they call humans.

The Elder took the data device and thanked us for its delivery. I heard Jihkanna’s voice whisper “thank you” in my ear. I turned quickly to see her but she was not there. Only PK and Ayinde.

The Elder again thanked us for our honesty and spoke optimistically about the relationship between humans and Haruspex. He then attempted to abruptly excuse himself stating that he had a pressing security concern.

“A security concern? Anything we can help with?” interjected PK confidently.

I rolled my eyes.

The Elder informed us of an imminent attack organised by the Stel using mutated beasts.

PK volunteered the both of us. I felt like we had completed the mission and I wanted to find Jihkanna. I didn’t want to fight.

“Please,” I heard her voice whisper.

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Isme’s Journey

Isme’s Journal #20

I… I…. hmm, well….

Well I…

Okay I will just write down that the last time I saw Audrey, I was apparently overcome by frustration and exhaustion and a little shaken from the drakes, and that was why I failed to get the totally visible, in plain view, not in anyway obscured, obvious to anyone except a certain Super hunter named Isme Gotitt, teleporter.

That clearly must have been the reason. Clearly.

I mean the Draken Stand teleporter is a whole 10 feet away from Audrey. So…

Ya….

Anyway, I turned in the mission to Audrey. She took the samples. She said the NEO tech was very interesting. And then said “thank you” followed by “here is something to help you level your skills” and hands me a stack of universal ammo. I looked at her. I think I thanked her with out looking to disappointed. I use a claymore.

You know maybe, just maybe there is something in the air in that location, now that I think about it. I missed a totally in the open teleporter and she missed the fact that instead of a gun, I carry a SWORD THAT IS AS TALL as I am.

The whole thing is silly. I went to learn about the NEO and while I did a lot of work for Ben and Audrey. What I learned is the NEO do something with tech and Audrey finds it interesting and If I would like to learn more I have to find Ben and talk to him again.

With how silly this whole thing has been so far. Its more appropriate then I thought that while I walked over all the hills and mountains to get from Fenster Landing to Audrey, I sang the “Bear Went Over the Mountain Song” but changed it to “Isme Went Over the Mountain”

Because after the first two or three peaks what Isme saw was another mountain, rinse, repeat…. Ugh

had a slight break at the river only to resume with the mountains on the other side.

IN SEARCH OF USEFUL

To turn in results was Isme’s plan
To increase her knowledge would be grand

bravely walking through the sward
silent traveling, not a word

The mountains of solid rock were made
the grasses were of a muted shade

Green and gray those were the hues
all across those majestic views

As up and down climbed our Isme
On task on point
in fact she was busy!

Fruits a plenty? There were not
stones to find? Not a jot

Oh this way she had to travel
if not fruit on a mountain
then surely gravel?

What else had depleted?
what other items where there?
What had she needed…

fruits and rocks and magic flowers.
These last could take hours!

The last thing on the list
she would not miss

From the presuming lady she had got the scoop
that she also needed poop

Over the hills of delicate green
walked Isme, searching for dung unseen

On the way to Audrey Niles
Isme was sure to find some piles

Isme with Audrey spoke
the things she had brought were no joke

as she talked Isme sighed
at seeing the teleporter on the side

Audrey was impressed she said
but Isme had better talk to Ben instead

If she wanted knowledge more
of the NEO then she had had before

As for Audrey’s great reward
She gave Isme bullets for her sword….

When Isme homeward went
for no fruit, no stone, no nothing
her time was spent

When she tallied up the days events en mas
She found a pile of dung at last

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Aeon and the Guardians - Part 16 to part 20
By Auberon Night Night

Part 16 - Community

Many of us if not most of us will understand the feeling of not belonging. I guess in many ways that is what the changes in the world is all about. Everyone wants to feel they belong somewhere and are wanted by someone whether in a platonic friendship way or in a romantic way. The feeling of loneliness is a major reason why so many might lash out or alternately withdraw from the world.

Aeon was no stranger to this. For most of his life he has been solo in the world. From the previous world and his journey here and even his time here. The few times he interacted with others from various origins he enjoyed it but still preferred solitude. Having no responsibility to others and their feelings and being able to do what he chooses when he chooses. Enjoying the view on this planet and the places to explore along with a drive to eliminate the guardians and collect materials from all over to make new tools to be even better at his task. But in some ways he was looking for a place to belong.

The time here, now, with these people, sitting in a circle around a fire drawing energy from the flames in a way and sharing stories, he suddenly felt different. Not home really as what is home. But happy to be here. Happy to share this time with these people.
Part of him started to realise that this is what it is all about.
The place is spectacular. Whether you call it Next Island or Terra Firma or whatever name you wish this place is beautiful. Scenic nature views and stunning sunsets that will inspire the artist in you and the most sublime night sky views. The entire place will make you hear music that relaxes and makes you want to smile or bob your head.
But the people. They are the real attraction. The community. There is not many of them here but they joke and laugh and chat and live life with a smile.
Even the sad moments are shared and made a bit easier to bear that way. While he is new and not part of them he already feels himself a part of it in spite of himself. In spite of years of solitude.
This place, these people, they could very well be the home he has been looking for. Even if just for a little while.
Being very aware he could be ripped away at any moment back to the reality he is used to.

Part 17 - Gathering

The next morning while sitting outside enjoying a nice coffee and just feeling relaxed Miranda walked up to him.
“Hey, wanna go look for fruit with me? We always need more fruits and they are not that hard to find but goes faster when we work together”
Honestly she could have asked him to clean toilets and he would say yes. Her smile was so bright and the way she talks to you made you feel the centre of the universe.
So off they went to look for fruit.
“Fruit can be hard to spot as they are not visible from that far away. You can find them on the ground about a maximum of 5paces away from yourself. So we walk in straight lines about 10paces away from each other. So we can chat and fruitwalk at the same time.”
The walk itself was refreshing. The view was great and the conversation was fun and stimulating. On the way he collected some interesting stones that made Miranda so excited saying she can use the texture to make clothing look amazing. Even found some dung that had them laughing all the way back. Heavy as hell and not sure why he kept it but he figured it would have some use.

When they returned to the camp the guys were busy sweating a mob.
“What on earth are you doing?” Aeon asked
“Just like all the animals here has some crystals inside them that are useful to us they also have something we call vibrant sweat. Unlike normal human sweat this sweat is filled with energy particles, hence the term vibrant. We extract it from the animal and use it so strengthen certain materials such as the fabric over over there. The sweat makes the fibers water resistant, stronger and adds some flexibility to it.”
“Wow. I would never have guessed sweat can be useful. Can I help?”
They handed him a sweat extractor and explained the basics of point the device at the animal and activate.
So for the next few hours Aeon and the others stood around sweating some animals. With the green clouds formed as the sweat evaporates from the animal and is sucked up it felt much like sitting around a campfire. The clouds of green almost the same as the flames of the fire. Aeon felt his mind drift in thought while staring into the green “flames” and enjoying the conversation and companionship. This went on deep into the night until the need for sleep forced him to grudgingly step away.

Part 18 - Time to hunt

“We cannot live of fruit alone Miranda!” Helen was not angry but still not going to accept fruit as the only food.
Watching Miranda and Helen argue about fruit vs meat was funny as it was obvious neither would change her mind but they still in no way seemed angry at the other. This was more a joking disagreement than a real one even though each felt strongly about her standpoint.
‘What do you think Aeon?”
Suddenly he felt like an animal being shot at and knew that no matter what answer he gives he will be in trouble.
As he had his mouth half open trying to find the word to get out of this he realised there was a figure near them, just in his peripheral view, with some object that flashed green. The same as what he saw 2 days ago. He turned his head quickly but saw nothing again.
Aeon got up and moved quickly towards where he saw the figure but was unable to find anyone.
Am I losing my mind or what?
Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder
Turning around he saw Helen.
“Well done on getting out of that question. Lets go hunting. You like meat too don’t you?”
Not waiting for an answer she walked off and he could not help but smile as he followed her.

She handed him a laser pistol and some ammo and they grouped up for the hunt.
“I love hunting boars. Specifically mutant boars. They have the best meat and crystals”
So for the rest of the day they hunted mutant boars.
Being in a group meant that all loot was split based on the damage each did to the mob so it was a fair distribution. And having someone with him to hunt meant that the mob attacks was shared between them so he could hunt for longer without having to stop and heal up.
And of course double the damage meant the kills went faster.
It was exciting to hunt these mobs and see what they dropped. Having Helen there made a mundane dreary task a lot more fun.
Obviously being a pretty girl helped but the real difference was that they could chat and share the experience making it much more fun.
They stopped when they were too loaded with loot to go on and returned to camp laughing and joking. Nothing like a shared hunt to build the friendship.

Part 19 - Crafting clothing and coloring

The next day while sweating a mob Aeon noticed Miranda wearing new clothing. While the clothes itself was stunning and made her even more attractive to him what really caught his mind was where did the clothes come from since it looked brand new. So he asked in the group about new clothes.
“Well we have a terminal over there we can a construction terminal. You enter a pattern and add the required materials and the machine fabricates what you want”
“So wait, you don’t need to clean the hide and stretch it and work it for days before making new boots?”
“Well that is actually a refiner that does that. We place the hides inside and it makes us leather. We then use the prepared leather in the construction terminal with the pattern for boots.”
Aeon felt his mind struggle with this.
A machine that makes what you want instantly without the hassle of spending hours, days or even months to prepare the materials and assemble the item.
Having seen many technological marvels he should have been more prepared for this but the concept was way more than he had expected.

“Come let me show you”, Miranda said.
Well hell, why say no when someone you like wants to show you something you want to know more about. So with a quick step he went over to the terminal ready to learn something new.
“First you need a pattern or recipe which we call a blueprint. Some blueprints are like a data storage and can be used again and again and as you use it so the terminal records the lessons learned from making the item and makes the coding better. So increasing the quality rating of the blueprint.”
Sounds easy enough he thought
“Then we have some that are one use only. They are coded from lessons learned and cannot be improved but are already at the best quality it can be so they are easier for you to use.”
“Here. I have some extra of those for a pair of boots. Enough for 5 attempts”

So you open the terminal and it reads all the blueprints you have. Since you have only this one it will then only show this. So you select the fabrication window and there you see the materials needed and that you have them all.”
“But I don’t have any of that on me”
“The terminal can also access the items in your storage so not everything has to be on you”
Aeon felt like an uneducated child here as everyone else seemed to already know this and here he is completely unaware.
“There are so much in this world to know that no one can ever know it all. And this world is only a very small portion of the universe. So never feel stupid for not knowing something. We all started without knowing anything and we are all still newbies in most things.”
She smiled at him after saying that and it helped him feel less overwhelmed.
So he looked at the terminal and pressed the construct button and after a few ticks he saw a success pop up and there was his new boots!
Aeon decided this is his new favorite thing to do.

Part 20 - Exploration

With the new boots on and feeling great Aeon could not understand why he felt the need to explore again. But it was clear he was not the only one who wanted to go explore and so a few of them packed some backpacks and fitted some armor to go explore the area.
But to Aeon’s surprise they readied some hover bikes and loaded it with more heavy equipment.
“We need to explore and set up some fast travel portals so we can move around easier”
“So like a teleportation spell?” Aeon asked
“Well yes! So these will then be teleportation points”

So they all stocked up on some ammo, weapons and food and got on the hover bikes loaded with teleportation points and set off.
Aeon being the only one who explored the area in depth before led the way.
With the ease of traveling on the bike they reached the places of interest much faster than he imagined would be possible.
Taking them to the mountain he crashed on he showed them the cave with the massive crystals in. Exploring the cave with some companions was much more fun than when he originally started his time here and he had time to marvel at the beauty of the light inside the cave.
“We should call it Crystal peak”, Helen said.
Everyone loved the name so it was decided.
But climbing the peak to the top to show them his crashed ship looked almost impossible until they opted for using the hover bikes. Surprisingly powerful these bikes went up the side of the almost vertical mountain with ease and once they were all on top they stood there enjoying the view for a while before anyone said a word more.
They all decided that they needed a place up here. Somewhere they could all get together and enjoy the view and hang out. Like a community hall almost or a bar.
No matter the origin humans enjoy a good drink, a good meal and some good friends to share it with especially with a view like this.
But for now it would have to wait they still had much to explore.
From the top they could see a few interesting places and decided to split up the team and each of the 3 hover bikes would go to explore a different location and set up a teleporter at points of interest so they could use that to return to the base camp and continue exploration the next day.

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Harriot’s lore for August

Death Gem
Entry #140
“Would you move this sword now?” My grip tightened.
“Why involve me? If you have this then why involve me.” His eyes darted to Charlotte.
“Honestly, if it were my choice I wouldn’t have. Too many liabilities, but Charlotte vouched for you. So we tested you. You really think we need information when we have Charlotte?” Everything I once thought I knew about Charlotte was shattering before my eyes. Did he really know this whole time what they needed? I let out a sigh. Charlotte would have a lot of explaining to do later. My sword lowered, I hadn’t realised how sharp the sword was until I saw a faint red line trickling from his neck. I still didn’t trust him but at that moment in time I wanted this over more than ever.

“These drake eggs hold a special property. It’s almost ironic that the ‘death drakes’ are producing new life. Once refined, these eggs become super valuable.” As we approached one of the eggs the death drakes began to swarm us. I knew there was no way they’d let us take one without a fight. “Hold them back while I refine this egg. It’ll take a few minutes before the process is complete.”

Carlos and I took up a fighting stance, he was using a ranged weapon. The gun itself was odd like nothing I had seen any tourist with. It was almost midnight black and looked way over-amped. My sword was only good for close range stuff so while Carlos held them away from afar I got up close and personal with the drakes. They were almost too majestic to fight and, at times, I had to remind myself that they were trying to kill us. The only thing that snapped me back to reality was Elliot.
“Got the gem, let’s get out of here.”

Elliot ordered us to retreat and the turrets took care of the rest that had followed us. The Gem itself was green in colour almost echoing the colour of the egg itself. Charlotte and I couldn’t help but stare at it.

“So, you’re telling me that was one of those eggs over there?” I had no clue how such a big egg could form such a small gem.
“It’s no more crazier than Zeus, of all the gods, forming a gem.” Elliot wasted no time at all placing the gem into the medallion. There was one stone missing, and it was the biggest stone.

The Guardian’s Gem
Entry #141

In the translation Charlotte had given me, it mentioned something called a ‘Moonstone’. It was a stone that captured the essence of all 4 drakes into one. The original Moonstone was held by the guardian and broke into many pieces when he died. According to Charlotte’s translation it was gifted to the guardian by one of the original inhabitants. She added a side note
-Possibly an ancient one? Like the one we met, could create a new one.

Was this what Charlotte had been planning? To use me as a gateway to the ancient one we laid to rest. I was starting to think Charlotte didn’t stick around for me but to gather information to send back to Calypso.

Elliot seemed to examine the medallion.
“All that’s left is the Moonstone, if Charlotte’s theory is correct then we have a good place to try ‘invoke’ the spirits of Next Island. All that’s left is the vessel.” Elliot was sounding more unconvinced than when I told him we should ask Zeus.

“We need a crystal. From my years of knowledge, it needs to be something capable of holding all the power of all four drakes. Something capable of holding fire, ice, lightning and death.” Was that why Charlotte had been looking through my collection of crystals back at the house? I needed to talk to her alone. Something was off.
“Charlotte and I will go back to the house to look through the crystals I have, Carlos and Elliot should scout out the location.” Elliot was about to say something when Charlotte spoke up.
“Sounds like a good plan to me. We’ll meet near the ancient ruins.” Elliot let out a gruff sigh
“Fine, but any trouble contact me on this.” He handed Charlotte an old fashioned walkie talkie.

On the way back to the house Charlotte didn’t say anything. I had grown so used to her chatting nonstop that the silence was almost deafening. The moment the front door was closed I turned on Charlotte.
“You’d better start talking. I want to know everything. Starting with who Elliot and Carlos are.”
Charlotte had a worried look on her face letting out the longest sigh I had ever heard from her.
“I want you to know that what I’m about to tell you has nothing to do with our time spent together. And I hope you of all people will understand me better than anyone.”

Charlotte’s Story
Entry #142

“We are Relic hunters, we have a small team, just me Carlos and Elliot. I mean there was a 4th member but she died on one of our most deadly expeditions. We heard rumours of the treasures left on Next Island from the old world. Things people back on Calypso would pay a pretty penny for. We came here at first just to pick up a few items and scout the area for anything of potential value. But we didn’t foresee the land looking different to what we had been told. A dodgy merchant sold us that map. We had a tour guide but during that tour I thought I saw something in the corner of my eye and before I knew it I had been separated from the others. From what they told me, they had been chased away by a pack of very angry boars. And assumed I was lost or dead, our line of work death is a common occurrence. Without me and my research to guide them on the relics here, they left and travelled back to Calypso.

I had no way to contact them and frankly after meeting you I didn’t want to go back, thinking maybe I could start a new life here. They however, carried on our work back there. We still had a lot of relics we’d collected over the years and I guess they must have hoped I was still alive as they saved some of the money they had made aside for me. So when I showed up at our main headquarters there was a small fortune waiting for me as my cut.

When they heard about my time on Next Island they showed me the relic that they had found before leaving Next Island. It was that medallion, there was an inscription on the wall where they had found it. It was more like a warning that instructions to reform it. There was a part that Elliot didn’t want me to give you. It said ‘He who seeks the Drake King of bad intent would perish by his hand, but he who seeks to restore his power shall be rewarded in eternal glory.’ I have a feeling Elliot has a bad intent towards the Drake King. I thought the medallion with the 4 stones would be enough for him but now he wants the moonstone. Which can only mean one thing. He intends to seek the Drake King and take whatever treasures he holds dear to him in that chamber.”

The Power of Crystals
Entry #143

Charlotte looked like she had more to say but I didn’t push it further. My mind was trying to take in all the information she gave me.

“So you hunt for relics, I guess Ancient Greece to those unsuspecting is a treasure trove of relics. And people actually buy that junk? sorry ‘relics’. I mean don’t get me wrong they are interesting to look at but surely they aren’t worth that much?”
“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, but this time it’s different. Next Island objects hold powers unbeknown to us. Who knows what would happen if someone got hold of them” A small chuckle escaped my lips.
“Sorry you just reminded me of someone.”

“What do you plan to do about Elliot?” Charlotte was quiet for a moment.
“There’s no evidence to prove anything just yet. Our group has grown up together like brothers and sisters. For now, I think it’s best to follow his plan. But the reason why I wanted you involved is that the ancient one entrusted the protection of Next Island to you and I guess in part to me. The time I’ve spent with you I have grown fond of Next Island and if you’ll let me I want to stay when they leave.”

We spent the afternoon going through my hoard of crystals.
“It’s interesting, these crystals here have similar properties to those on earth, I can see where they got their names from. If I didn’t know any better I would have said these were brought over from earth. This one,” Charlotte held up a Quartz Crystal. It was a clear crystal that when the light hit it it spilt into a rainbow pattern all over the walls “it’s called a Quartz Crystal. Have you heard that back on earth they use this in all kinds of electronic devices as its good at withstanding electricity. But there are some that believe crystals hold a certain property and well Quartz is said to be useful in revealing a person’s true identity, not that I believe in that stuff. Maybe though, it would be a way for the medallion to detect your intentions and alert the Drake King, not that he’s real, on your intentions.” It was a scary thought, I didn’t even know what my ‘true identity’ was and if it could detect my intentions or past wrongdoings then this would not end well for me.

“So you believe this is the crystal we need?” Charlotte stared for a moment as if lost in thought.
“If it’s not this crystal then I don’t know what else it could be.” I took a deep breath.
“Well I guess it’s time to put that thought into practice, let’s get this over with.”

The Moonstone
Entry #144

Ancient Ruins was just as creepy as the last time I had been here. Elliot and Carlos seemed to have been waiting a long time for us, there was a look of fury on both their faces.
“What took you so long, we thought for sure you’d been eaten by wolves or something.” Charlotte glared at me
“Wait, there are wolves here?” I shook my head. She was far too gullible.
“Is that the crystal we need?” Charlotte seemed to perk up
“Yes, you see, I figured out that…”
“There’s no time for a lesson on whatever you discovered we’re losing the daylight here thanks to you two taking your sweet time.” Elliot placed the Quartz crystal in the middle of the medallion. Unlike all the other gemstones this one didn’t mould into the medallion. Elliot stared at it for a moment as if something was supposed to happen.

“If you had let me finish talking you would know that placing the Quartz in the medallion wouldn’t work. We need to take it to the ‘ancient one’, only they can harness the power of all four drakes into one.” Charlotte gave me a glare as if I knew what she meant by it. “This is something only me and Harriot can do.” Charlotte gracefully removed the medallion from Elliot and grabbed my hand as she ran towards the ancient ruins. I shiver ran down my spine. The atmosphere in the ruins just got creepier over time, even more so now that I knew it was a burial ground.

Charlotte placed the medallion in the spot where we had laid to rest the ancient one, she had the same stare that Elliot had, expecting it to do something. When nothing happened Charlotte seemed to whisper under her breath. “This was the spot right…”
“Can we go now, this place freaks me out. If the ‘ancient one’ doesn’t want to rise from the dead, that’s all the better for me.” At my words a bright blinding light seemed to shine from the Quartz. It looked as if the Quartz stone was sucking the life out of the other gems. They turned pale in colour while in the place of the Quartz shone a multi-colour oval gemstone.

-I leave you with a warning: the Drake King is not a creature to be trifled with.

The ancient one’s voice was much fainter than before but it was clearly the voice of the one we had brought here. A longer cold shiver ran down my spine

“Well you heard it from the ancient one let’s just pretend like it didn’t work” I tried to remove the gem but like all the others it was stuck fast.

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Lore for August:

The Art of Craft - Continue…

Part 1

When Katalina arrived she found me sitting with an ice pack on my head, trying to reduce a lump the size of a lemon… Fortunately there was no serious damage, just a strong pain in my forehead that would last several days…

The BP had disappeared… No doubt the thieves were already far away on another planet trying to create something that would unbalance the Entropy Quadrant… But Katalina made me happy:

-Listen… those criminals haven’t been able to leave the planet… a few hours ago Chief Socrates decreed the closure of the airspace for two days… Apparently a gang of pirates in Quad Wing are stalking the planet for some kind of commercial agreement or merchandise, that was not clear to me… In short, for two days no ship can enter or leave here…

Two days!!! That’s the time we have to find the thieves and recover the BP… But where do we start?

I had a copy of the bill of materials… Sinew adjusted, Simple II Conductors, Fine Lens… If the thieves were in a hurry, they should try to buy the stuff as soon as possible at the Auction House… That’s where we should see the materials…

An hour later we saw an order for Fine Lens and Adamite Crystal sold… both to a mysterious character: Byron Dillon Ameter… We already had a suspect…

We consulted the Entropia Life databases… This Byron had few entries in his achievements, so it was deduced that he was dedicated to other things, perhaps resales or rentals… Time to look for him…

The most sensible thing is to keep track of the Sinew… there was nothing in Auction, nor in any of the stores in NI or Greece… We also checked the direct buying and selling forum #nitrade… nothing… So they should try to get it directly on the land Chimera hunting…

In the last two days no adjusted sinew had appeared… Maybe he was about to fall into the loot…

We arrived at Misty Outpost… My head felt like it was about to explode as I heard the hunters talk and brag about his achievements… and a casual conversation put us on track…

-Of course I never saw anything like that… That guy dispatches the chimeras as if they were simple pleaks… of course, with that FEN mace… I wonder how he can see with those lenses… -said one of the hunters laughing…

FEN mace, glasses… it was almost clear… Still I asked the hunter… the answer put us on alert…

-That guy? He’s never seen him around here before… and besides, he’s a Turrelion.

He’s here, we already knew where Byron’s acolyte was… Time to hunt, but no chimeras…

Part 2

While we were heading to the hunting ground, we unexpectedly saw the appearance of a Sinew Adjusted on our tablets… and we heard in the distance the sound of the rare loot indicator… The guy was nearby…

We saw him in the distance… the hunter was there, finishing off the chimeras… no doubt the Turrelion or Byron would try to contact him to get the sinew…

We hid… among the tall grasses we saw the whole scene… The hunter was looking for another animal to kill when, suddenly, we saw him waver and collapse among the grasses, as if he were sick…

We approached carefully… We saw him trying to get up when, suddenly, his body convulsed and he fell… maybe he had been shot? Apparently he was unconscious, because he didn’t start the Revive process, nor did he try to activate the Fapper… We stayed on the prowl…

We heard footsteps, and Katalina pointed in a direction… We saw him…

The Turrelion was slowly approaching, with an Eron Soulreamer in hand… where the hell had he gotten that weapon???

No doubt he was coming to loot the hunter and steal his sinew, since apparently he hadn’t gotten any yet… Time to go for him…

Katalina and I got up in unison, with our weapons in hand and, despite the prohibitions outside PVP zones, we fired in unison…

The Turrelion moved like a cat as soon as it heard us… it dodged our shots with ease while throwing the rifle and drawing its FEN mace… With an agile jump it stood in front of us… Our weapons were already useless in close combat… It was time to draw our swords…

The duel was epic… despite our numerical superiority, the Turrelion’s ability was impressive… a minute later he managed to disarm Katalina and, with a strong blow, threw her a few meters totally stunned…

The Turrelion turned towards me… Its lens-hidden eyes were not visible, though I could feel its penetrating gaze sizing me up… With a gesture, a second FEN mace materialized in its other hand, and it began to move both mace masterfully…

I tried to parry his blows, but he hit me on my old Viceroy over and over again… In the end I bent the knee… in a few seconds that guy was going to send me to a Revive…

He advanced towards me with both maces…he looked at me from his tall stature and raised his arms to hit me…

A roar in the vicinity made him stop and alert… A nearby chimera!!! Attracted by the noise of our fight, a chimera was stalking us… we didn’t see it yet, but we heard it… The Turrelion looked at me for a second, and turned looking for danger…

From among a pile of foliage, a huge figure made a huge jump and fell on the Turrelion’s back… its claws began to slash at the being that, with great difficulty, was trying to defend itself from a monstrous chimera that was destroying it…

Amazing!!! That animal had appeared at the most opportune moment and had saved us…. If we were in Ancient Greece watching a classical play, this would be the perfect “Deux-ex-Machina”!!!

Part 3:

I ran towards Katalina, who was recovering from the terrible blow that the Turrelion had given her… Meanwhile, the chimera was struggling with the Turrelion… The Turrelion had one arm hanging useless, and its cloak and clothes were torn showing many lacerations… The animal crouched as if if it were a Kiana, ready to jump…

-Hey!!! ugly bug!!! – Katalina, already recovered, called the animal.

It diverted its attention from the Turrelion and the hunter and turned to us… Be careful… Although we had a good memory of “Snow”, this animal was completely wild.

The Turrelion took advantage of the circumstance and stood up… It looked in our direction and immediately ran limping in the opposite direction where we were… Leaving the unconscious hunter abandoned with the newly obtained sinew…

The chimera looked at us, then looked at the unconscious hunter, expectantly… and suddenly, Katalina took something out of one of the pockets of her clothes… A handful of Nutrio Bars… She threw them in the animal’s direction…

The chimera caught the Nutrios in flight between its strong jaws and, when she realized that it was food, with a great jump it entered the bushes, disappearing from our sight…

Katalina and I went back to the hunter’s body… we got him to regain consciousness, and we applied the Fapper…

A few hours later we were back at the barracks… We had got the hunter to safety and, in gratitude, he gave us a very good price for the sinew, so now it is no longer available for sale… Possibly we can use that circumstance in our benefit…

Once our wounds were healed, we went back to the tablets and connected to the Auction House… Byron had bought more necessary ingredients… He only needed the two Sinews and the Blazard…

For the Blazards, the thing was clear: In the Screechers sweat circles there could be business, since they gave that drop… We went straight to Crystal Peak…

We asked the sweat circles and the occasional hunters there… and one of the sweaters pointed us to a nearby area where a guy was asking everyone about Blazard… It was possible that it was Byron…

We saw him… he was closing the deal with one of the hunters… he was paying him… without a doubt, he already had the Blazards!!!

-Byron!!! Damn thief, come here if you dare!!! - I yelled at him in a fit of desperation as he ran in his direction.

Byron looked at me… and looked at the sky… A Quad Wing approached him and from the ground we saw the figure of the Turrelion in the cockpit… He didn’t give more time, with an incredible jump for Byron’s short stature, he climbed on the hatch without the need for the Quad to finish landing… It rose and accelerated incredibly… It was a quad Wing, yes, but different… perhaps one of the few UL units that existed and that had a little more speed without being warp units…

Byron had escaped us… And the worst was yet to come…

Our tablets flickered… unbelievably a new Adjusted Sinew had appeared… a minute later it was up for auction… and as we headed back to Misty Outpost, the sinew was sold to… Byron Dillon Ameter…

He already had all the ingredients except a Sinew Adjusted… Which we happened to have… Maybe we could set him up.

Part 4:

While we rested for a moment in the Stel barracks, Denver passed us by… One of the last Stel recruits, who looked at Katalina and me as if we were mythical heroes… Let’s see, the adventure with the Gorgon and our collaboration with the crisis of animal possession had created an aura of invincible heroes around us…

I greeted Denver and at that moment I knew that if we asked him, he would help us without question… So I called him:

-Hey Denver, wait… - I said. He turned and looked at me like someone looking at a higher being.

-Mr. Dante, hello sir, how are you? – He looked nervous.

Katalina looked at me and she knew something was running through my mind…she nodded.

-Listen Denver… We have a crisis on us, and we need your collaboration… Could you help us?

Denver looked at us in amazement, puffed out his chest like a conscript at his first parade, and said:

-Sir, yes, sir!!!… Willing to help, sir!!!… mmm… what to do, sir?

Actually, there wasn’t much he had to do, but Katalina and I needed an external element that wouldn’t arouse suspicion…

-You see… We have a top-level investigation in hand… It is necessary to make a sale on #nitrade, but our names cannot appear… Therefore, you will make the sale for us and show up at the delivery… that’s all.

Denver was full of gratitude for having had him… it was an honor to help two heroes of Next Island in an investigation, he had always wanted to dedicate himself to the investigation, etc, etc, etc… All this he said as he opened his terminal, entered the forum and announced the sale we had prepared:

[#nitrade] [Denver]: SELL [Advanced Sinew Adjusted] 400 peds… PM

The price was exaggerated for everyone, nobody would buy it… except someone who was in a hurry, as in this case our “friends” Byron and the Turrellion.

There were a couple of private ones who tried to buy it but doing sales… that if the MU was very high, that if it was crazy, etc, etc…

The third private was our man:

[#nitrade] [Byron]: hi…last price?

[#nitrade] [Denver]: Yes… I need money… :slight_smile:

[#nitrade] [Byron]: It’s very expensive, but I need the sinew… okay, well?

[#nitrade] [Denver]: I’m a bit far, but it’s here…

Denver had given some coordinates previously set by Katalina, in order to move away from populated areas… We had to resolve this discreetly among ourselves…

Denver went to the PT to present himself in the vicinity of the meeting area… For our part, Katalina and I went a little further and we walked closer little by little, paying attention to what was happening…

We were about to end all this…

Part 5:

We were lurking at the rendezvous point…a lost outpost with all instruments except the TP. Denver was looking everywhere, when suddenly two bright blue lights appeared: Two Teleporting chip arrivals… they were Byron and the Turrellion.

Denver’s role was over, now it was our turn. As soon as they finished appearing, Katalina and I emerged with our Armatrixes in hand, pointed in their direction.

-Stop there!!! Quiet!!! Drop your weapons!!! – We tried to appear threatening, but in a place where death is fleeting and Revive is next door, it was useless.

Sure enough… with a strong blow from the FEN mace, Denver was knocked out while Byron unsheathed two Katsuichi… He caught us by surprise as we didn’t expect such a stocky guy and not so tall to be so agile: He leaned on his bent knee Turrelion, using it as a springboard, and jumped on us…

Our astonishment was our undoing: he cleanly cut our Armatrix in half, leaving us unarmed… and facing the Turrellion, we already knew we couldn’t compete in close combat… It was a losing fight… time to use swords…

Less than five minutes later, Katalina and I were unarmed, on our knees and with our hands on our necks… Gods, we have fought many times not only against animals, but also humanoids, robots and other beings, and it was the first time since my distant mentoring that from the beginning we knew was a useless fight… That Byron guy was definitely a guy experienced in PVP with melee weapons, and the Turrellion… well, he was a master with maces…

Byron aimed at our heads with two Piron… and we were next to the Revive… Dying was not the solution, since we would appear next to it again and start again… That was going to be long.

The Turrellion was holding Denver, already awake but still dazed… he had tied his hands and feet with plastic ties and was also on his knees… He was looking at us with fear.

With the other hand, he was equipping an S.I. Knife close to Denver’s face. Byron spoke.

-Well… The sinew you announced… where is it? – Byron rested the barrels of his weapons on our necks.

-Sir, don’t say anything…- Denver was trying to stir, but he was well tied up…

Byron looked at the Turrellion and nodded… the being made a movement with the S.I. Knife, and a long, deep gash appeared on Denver’s right cheek… An agonized scream pierced our ears.

-Enough, Byron, leave the boy alone! - Denver looked at me trying to appear strong while the blood dripped from his jaw.

-No… give me the sinew and let’s make the weapon… only then will I leave the boy… - Another gesture to the Turrellion.

This one didn’t think about it… he directed the tip of the S.I Knife upwards and blew out Denver’s right eye… gods, the pain should be unbearable judging by the screams…

Katalina looked at me sadly… Denver would be cured, but the agony must be immense… and this could last for hours… Denver didn’t deserve that…

-No… Sir… Don’t give him the sinew… - Denver looked at me with his only bloodshot eye…

Another flick of the knife, and Denver’s mouth fell open from ear to ear, like some kind of grotesque hogglo… moreover, the depth of the cut had severed the tongue, which fell to the ground in spurts of blood… It wasn’t screaming anymore, now they were muffled sounds of panic and pain…

-In accordance!!! In accordance!!! Stop, damn!!!.. - I couldn’t take it anymore…

Byron looked at the Turrellion, which let go of the now inert Denver… he walked over to me and grabbed me hard, dragging me to the instruments…

-The Sinew, and let’s get this over with… -Byron kept pointing at Katalina…

-Listen… that weapon shouldn’t be manufactured, it could…

-I’m not interested in what it could be… I’m only interested in what they’re going to pay me for it… That robot promised me a million peds!!! Byron said…

a robot? Did you say a robot? The incident with the planetary teleporter and General Kratos came to my mind… Suddenly I had a bad feeling…

-Listen… if there are robots involved it’s a bad thing… Was it in Calypso? -I was trying to find out everything.

-Yes… it was in Calypso… but it came from someone from Monria… Who cares? Money is money… -Byron was losing patience…

Monria… maybe that AI from DSEC-9? This could be of great interest…

-When the robots invade this, not even a hundred million peds will save you, stupid… -I told him with all my hatred…

–Come on, the sinew…

I opened the storage and handed him the sinew… the turrelion gave me a strong blow that made me fall to the ground… Byron approached the machine, turned on the terminal, looked at the list and…

A torrent of insults came from his mouth… Apparently he wasn’t level enough to successfully craft the weapon… He turned to me…

-Listen, Dante… I know you have the right level, so you craft the weapon…

-Don’t dream of it, Byron…

-Okay, it’s time for my friend Turrelion to start playing with your wife…- He looked in Katalina’s direction…

Not!!! Not that!!!

-Ok!! Ok!!.. but leave her alone… Give me the materials - I said with regret.

Byron smiled, took the materials and handed them to me along with the BluePrint…one shot, the Turrelion knife to my neck, Byron’s pistol to the back of Katalina’s head, Denver moving feebly as blood ran from his ruined face and his tongue cut out… and the future of the Entropy Quadrant at stake… I pressed the “Start” button… the machine began to make the only click… the lights blinked.

No… There are things greater than Katalina, than Denver, than me… Sometimes we must make sacrifices…

With a quick gesture, slide the control to Red… Condition only…

-Nooooooooooooo!!! – Byron’s scream was heartbreaking… It was almost impossible for a single hit from a high-level BP, in red, to give anything…

The machine stopped… And a swirl of lights in a double helix enveloped me… HOF??? Discovery???

“Near Success” appeared on the machine… over 20k peds in residue, no weapons… and the only BP with a single attempt that would never appear again vanished…

-Damn, damn, damn!!! What have you done? -Byron screamed like a man possessed. With a gesture he cocked the gun and prepared to blow Katalina’s head off.

BLAM!!! A sound of a gunshot, and the Piron fell to the ground… Drawing strength from his agony of pain, Denver had sat up and, with his Elysian Prototype (L) noob weapon, struck Byron’s elbow… Byron was stunned, staring. incredulous his broken arm.

I didn’t think twice… I jerked my head back and slammed it into the Turrelion’s face, which stumbled backwards, tripped and fell down the Outpost stairs…

Everything had changed… Denver continued to empty the weapon on Byron while blood flooded his chest and his tongueless mouth, open from ear to ear, emitted disjointed sounds… One of the bullets hit Byron’s helmet and, although it did not pierce it, , the impact had to be like a hammer blow, because Byron collapsed unconscious… Denver struggled to his feet and sat on top of Byron, holding him to prevent his escape when he woke up.

For my part, I threw myself down the stairs on the Turrelion’s back and began to hit its kidneys… The being stirred and tried to grab me by the neck… to fall on my unconscious… Katalina was holding a huge piece of Zinc that she had crashed into the head of the Turrellion.

It was all over…

Epilogue:

That same afternoon we returned to the barracks… we brought two “robot spies” to be brought to justice, and Planetary Chief Socrates decided what to do… Also, one of them was an illegal Turrellion here, so we would have to contact with Cyrene and the ambassador, to avoid diplomatic problems…

We put Denver in the infirmary and looked for the best Fapper around… In his immense agony, Denver squeezed my hand and looked at me with his one eye with gratitude… He felt good for having helped two “heroes” of Next Island.

A few hours later Denver appeared, already with his mouth healed and his tongue intact, but… He still had the scar on his cheek that entered the lower part of a black patch that hid his right eye…

-Denver!!! What happened??? He has not healed the eye well ??? -I said with concern.

-Sir, everything is fine, it’s just that… I asked the doctor to leave the scar and the eye to be glaucous - He said while lifting the patch… the eyeball was already intact, but the pupil was light blue almost white, as in people who previously suffered from infectious eye diseases…

-But man, why did you do that??? - I could not get over my astonishment…

-Sir… With a scar and a patch, the girls will see me as a tough guy - He smiled as he told me - And so I can tell adventures without them thinking I’m exaggerating…

Demon of a boy!!! Able to go one-eyed and slash-faced so he can show off to the girls… well, deep down we both know he can fully heal whenever he wants with the right Fapper… He walked down a hallway waving to other recruits who looked at him with awe and respect , as if he were already a VIP…

I felt a hand on my shoulder… Katalina…

-Hello love…-he told me softly as he hugged me – What do you think?

-Well, I think I’ve won 20K peds… I think the only BluePrint of that epic weapon has been lost… We have conjured a danger, but I won’t be able to put the BP on our trophy shelf in FOMA Alpha West 11D… -I said half jokingly half seriously… Katalina knows how I like to collect trophies; she sometimes says that our apartment looks like a charnel house, with so many bones and animal heads…

Katalina gave me a mischievous look… and she put in my hands one of those old Julklapp boxes, those blue gift boxes with a red bow… a gift?

I opened the box, and couldn’t believe my eyes… A facsimile reproduction of the Fenix ​​Fury BluePrint… An almost perfect imitation… what the hell?

-Katalina… what is…? – I managed to say.

-Well, a cheap copy for you to put in FOMA’s apartment… let’s see if I can get you to remove a bone or a head from that cemetery - She said between laughs…

I absolutely love this girl…

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Character: Dalia Vivian

Month: August

5 Lore Submissions:

Entry #21

Where did I get it wrong? I was naive to think that this time everything would go well and that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes I made the first time. I had even decided to take seriously the advice of the man in the Scheecher’s cave not to go too far North or too far West, and so I had decided not to leave our quadrant. But in order not to go back to Tanzanite this time instead of exploring the Northeast area I chose to go to the Northwest.

I just didn’t imagine that those bad guys from Resa were there too. They ambushed me, took my things and kept me prisoner. But soon they got some kind of communication… it looks like there were problems… we went by boat to Resa Docks. Resa’s men seemed so confident that those docks were safe, but the fact is that in a short time the “problems” showed up.

Anyway, what meant trouble for them, turned out to be an escape for me. The New Elysian Order! In theory I knew about them… and in practice I was supposed to… I mean, if things hadn’t been the way they turned out… maybe, actually it’s very likely that I … well, that’s a long story…

About what happened at the docks, I can only say that I wasn’t expecting to see something like that. I refuse to believe that they are bad people. They must have had a good reason to do that. I don’t know the details and I don’t need to know. I only know that they were looking for something specific that Resa stole from the Haruspex: the continuum transf-something, or a weird name like that!

Luckily Alice was there and recognized me. But the mission was not successful, as they did not find the device they wanted. So we came to Sypherton Gardens in a kind of rusty flying vehicle, which from what I understand it was made by the Stel but it was in Resa’s hands at Drusy Blue Ridge and NEO stole it so they could get into the docks.

Entry #22

“Now, no matter what, you need to go through the portal! Run! Don’t look back! I want to see you enter first!”, that’s what my mother said, after kissing me and reassuring me that they loved me very much.

This was my second night here at Sypherton Gardens and I keep having the same dream. Well, it’s not just a dream, they are the memories of that day.

After everything that happened at the docks and now being with these people again… it’s normal that those memories are coming back… the noises, the gunshots, the confusion, the screams…

It’s like I can still feel my mother carrying me in her strong arms, as she ran quickly through the corridor, in the middle of the commotion… I remember so vividly hearing father’s voice talking to her on the communicator:

– Have you reached the chamber yet?

– We’re almost there. – she replied.

– Good. I have already contacted everyone under my command, they are on their way. … I… I’ll only feel safe when I know the two of you have made it through the portal.

– … What does that … You’re not thinking about …

– Dear…

– No! You cannot do this! Mr. Spencer has already given the order for all of us to go through the portal! Post and his soldiers will keep the place safe for us to go!

– Yes… well… no, this is hell!… they won’t be able to…

Mom hugged me tighter at that moment!

– I… I’ll leave Dalia safe and come back to help you…

– No! You do not come! Eleanor, I am your commandant and this is an order: you two go through the portal now!

And it was at that moment that we arrived in the chamber.

“We can’t change our past, but what we do today can change our future!”, thinking this way always helped me to move forward and not give up. And the memories of that day were never something I wanted to forget. They’re just something I can’t change. So why do they seem to be bothering me now?

Entry #23

Today I woke up early to see the sunrise. Well, it’s not like I was actually sleeping, with all these memories flooding my mind…

Even the smell in this place seems the same… How is that possible? Our soldiers also have armor and weapons, even me, I’ve already got my own new armor. So why is there this metallic smell here? The same I used to smell at home when my parents were cleaning and preparing their weapons and armor? Why does this remind me of the scent Dad used to bring when he came home after a day at work and hugged me?

Anyway, today is a new day. Alice convinced me to stay here for a little longer and said that someone, who will arrive today, will be able to show me the region. That grumpy soldier, who almost shot me, left yesterday. He was assigned to another outpost, Flash Point was what they called it.

I need to try to deal with all these feelings better. The landscape here calms me down. It’s quite different from the green, well-watered territory I usually see. The mountains are dry and the terrain is very rough. But it’s still very beautiful! I can feel peace in this silence, looking at the same bright blue sky.

“Look at these colors, Dalia! We don’t know if we’ll ever see them here again. The blue sky, the green of Earth’s vegetation, the light of our Sun! This is Earth’s sun. Where are we going today we will see a new sun and a new world!” We were looking at the blue sky for the last time together. It was supposed to be a good day, the day everyone had been waiting for so long…

I really wish they had the opportunity to see how beautiful this world is… they would have been happy to at least know that. I know how much they believed that this world would be a wonderful place!

Entry #24

I’m so happy! Today I met an old friend, Nathan! He’s a bit older than I am, but our parents were pretty close, so we used to be together all the time.

He came with Major Hoffman to meet Alice. He seems to be nice, the Major. He insisted on getting to know me and said that he worked with my father for many years. “You have the same curious eyes he had! I bet you ended up here because you are determined to explore the whole world!”, he laughed. It’s not that he’s wrong…but how did he know? I didn’t even tell Alice about the reason for my trip.

So Major and Alice are working on a new NEO training program and Nathan has been assigned to this base. But first he needs to go check out some places to help prepare the tests, as the two officers are too busy to go explore the terrain. So I can go with Nathan and get to know the region better.

The purpose of the test is to check some skills more than strength. Of course, it will have to include some hunting mission, but before that the person must prove to be someone intelligent, able to follow clues, locate lost objects, understand enigmas, be an explorer, be willing to go to distant and dangerous places and even have good communication and persuasion skills. (I bet most soldiers I’ve come across so far would fail this one!)

Today we’ve already been checking the area around here. There are some unusual rock formations nearby, south of here. But what really made us more curious was the forest to the southeast, which in a small space has a wide variety of different and unique trees! The Major was quite happy with the place and asked us for a full report.

Tomorrow will be a great day: we’re going to explore more distant places to try to find locations where the terrain has peculiar characteristics and leave clues for future trainees.

Entry #25

Oh! I never imagined it would be so difficult to travel in these lands! It’s so hot, it must be 20 degrees warmer here than on crystal beach. How I would like to be there, swimming in those refreshing waters right now. Even my little LARA is making weird noises!

– Did you put oil in it? – Nathan said, while picking her up in the air as if she were a toy.

– Nobody said to oil it. What are you doing? Don’t scare her!

– This thing is metal so it must need oil.

– She is not a thing! Don’t talk like that, she’ll be sad. Give me my LARA back! – then I took her but she is still heavy! Nathan lifted her up so easily!

– So do you think this is your puppy now? What should I call your pet so “she” doesn’t get “sad"? You must be happy, you wanted so much to have a puppy when you were little and that was not allowed!

Well, Nathan was right about something: I wasn’t being a good owner… with so much confusion the last few days, I wasn’t paying much attention to my pet, I hadn’t even given her a name yet!

– Right! You must also be happy to be here exploring the land… with me… who would have thought? – Nathan added. I didn’t get if he was somehow trying to be ironic about the situation, but of course I was happy despite everything!

– Nathan, do you remember when we were imagining what it would be like to explore this whole new world together and make a lot of wonderful discoveries?

– Of course I remember. How naive we were at that time!

“What does he mean?”, I thought. His words weren’t ironic, they sounded really sad. Now that I think about it, he looks so different from the joyful and dreamy Nathan I knew.

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