Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: The Way Out

Dollano 30, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

The Way Out

A number of events from this day must be faithfully recounted.

First of all, the creature that had the gray stone in its possession, the enemy who pursued us for so long, is gone and, according to Donnessling, was hurt badly and won’t be coming back any time soon. Second, it’s not dead, also according to Donnessling. I trust that he knows.

The third thing is that Sheshoffis cannot be woken. The good news is that he’s not dead. Donnessling tried everything that he could, but the wound was simply beyond his abilities to heal, even if he had not been wounded himself and utterly fatigued as he tried. Tollerring had urged him to use the white stone, but he told us that he could not. Apparently each stone requires any new master to learn about the stone before they can use it. As Donnessling told it, the Stone and its user must bond with each other, and that process could take a good deal of time. Much more than what Donnessling had.

Note to Self: So, how is it that Donnessling could use the purple stone that he captured from Begkragk so quickly? There is more going with that than meets the idea. A good story to investigate if we live to tell the tale!

When Donnessling finally stopped his efforts to cure Sheshoffiss, he told us that he had been able to save Sheshoffiss from death, but just barely, and that the zweyjen required more skills than he could provide. He said he knew of a sorcerer’s cabal in Berimandry that could aid our friend.

Last thing, and the worst (but perhaps most expected) was that we could hear the moraktatha advancing toward us. They had clearly been frightened off by the gray creature, and then even more by the battle of lights, but at last they were regaining their courage. Or, perhaps their hunger was proving greater than their fear.

Whatever it might be, we had to leave and leave immediately.

Donnessling told us that we could not go back the way we had come. It was too dangerous, and, though no one said it, we were all relieved that we would not take that course.

The exit that we had originally sought only hours earlier was not far away and we made haste for that with several of us carrying Sheshoffiss’ unmoving form. I also noticed that Tollerring was helping Donnessling forward. They were trying to hide it from the rest of us, but I could tell. I’m sure Donnessling wanted none of his to know just how weakened he was.

The exit was not hard to find. It was a large opening and looked as though it had at one time been quite elegant. The remains of columns bordered the opening on either side and beneath there was a border trimming the doorway that had once been elegant and, I think, contained words in an ancient language. Once inside I could see that the tunnel walls were old and covered in grime. There were patches where well-fashioned tiles shone through.

I was sad to leave these mysteries behind, but time was of the essence, and I could already feel the tug of Emotion Energy from the mass of moraktatha approaching us.

As we made our way down the tunnel, I could feel the malevolent pull of those foul creatures lessen. It would seem they would not pursue us past the confines of the cavern. I could feel the fear leave me, and I could see the shoulders of my nossring comrades ease as they, too, could tell that we were now beyond their reach.

We marched through the passage for many hours. It would frequently turn one direction or the other and there were many passageways that we met and crossed, and sometimes took. Donnessling’s knowledge of this place was impressive. Even amazing, though there were a couple times when I thought I saw a quick flash from the green stone as he took a minute to consider a direction for us or a choice among alternative tunnels.

The first sign that we were near the end was the fresh smell of trees and some flowers. As the tunnel turned sharply to the left and veered steeply up we could see a bright stream of light ahead. Our pace quickened and the tunnel suddenly turned into a wide, tall cavern. At its end was a doorway that must have been at least sixty feet high, and the sunlight was now strong and clear. We covered the last few hundred yards in no time and emerged onto a wide, flat shelf far above the plains below. There, far below us, tucked into a pocket between two spurs of the mountain, was the City of Berimandry.

It was mid-day. We had traveled through the night, and had traveled and fought before that. Our exhaustion finally settled on us all. We would have continued if Donnessling had commanded it (that is how loyal his nossring comrades were to him, as was I), but he could see our state, and his was no better (likely worse), so he gave instructions for us to eat something and to rest. The words had barely left his lips when he lay down against a mossy covered side of the small plateau and fell asleep.

At that point Tollerring took charge to make sure everyone had food and he stood guard as the rest of us slept.

When he woke us, the sun was low in the sky. The last of our journey took us down the mountain and to the outskirts of the city. Donnessling led us to the house of a farmer who knew Donnessling and welcomed him with open arms, as did his family.

Here is where we will spend the night. The farmer, a man named Kellen, sent two of his sons to fetch the sorcerers who would, hopefully, help to heal Sheshoffiss from his deep wounds. They should arrive first thing in the morning.

And now my day is done. We are safe in this place and we were fed again, with an abundance of fresh food. That has restored at least some of our aches, and it gave me the strength to write this entry.

Now I will join my companions for a long night of needed sleep, and we will see what comes to us tomorrow.

Our Solar System: The Gollanir Civilization

Our Solar System: The Gollanir Civilization, of the Planet Cantoss

The Gollanir Civilization: The First Civilization of the Very Far Fekxtah

In consultation with, and approval from, the Guild Committee for the Proper Disposition and Dissemination of Historical Science Documents, we have chosen to include in this tome a short break from our descriptions of Oma’s planetary Fekxtah to provide information on a highly important finding of the ancient Elzheni Astronomers. As we have stated before, we report from the Elzheni texts not to affirm their truth, but rather to provide a rational summary of the assertions and claims put forth by these documents and their authors, the Elzheni Astronomers. Though a debate still continues among today’s scholars about the full veracity of their documents, it is agreed that the Elzheni possessed a compelling and keen understanding of the world of our home planet Ethem and of the greater world outside our own planet which, of course, includes the planetary system of which our home world, Ethem, is a part.

We ask only that our dear readers understand the diligence that the Guilds’ scientists have given to these ancient tomes of significance, and recognize our deep belief that only science can give us a true understanding of the world. Therefore, intelligent, rational investigations, even those whose conclusions may not be agreed to by all who study such domains of knowledge, must be included in our efforts to put the conclusions of all examinations into the hands of all who seek knowledge so that they may make their own conclusions.

That is our disclaimer and now we present some of the astounding (some would say “fanciful”) information included about this race of creatures.

The original home of the Gollanir was the innermost ocean level of Cantoss which was known as The Red Ocean because of the color of its waters and the reflections of the fires that burn across most of the ocean’s floor.

The Elzheni first came into contact with the Gollanir as they were building their Fekxtah Station #12 on the surface of Cantoss. The ancient texts note that, “As we were building the lower level of the new Fekxtah Station, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by more than a dozen objects floating a few feet above the surface of Cantoss. They appeared to us as bags filled with a thick, brown liquid which had something sloshing around inside it. We initially took them to be some kind of natural phenomenon that had bubbled out of cracks in the surface of the Fekxtah since they seemed to us to be no more than fluids encased in a six-foot tall gelatinous capsule. Upon closer examination, though, we discovered that each enclosure contained a living being, somewhat resembling an octopus, and that they seemed to be examining us.”

The texts went on to describe the details of this encounter. Each of the jelly-like globes contained a single occupant of the race that would become known to the Elzheni as the Gollanir. They had large heads with three bulbous eyes, a tough leathery skin, and a long even slit below the eyes for speaking and eating. They had two sets of tentacles; one set of four that were short (about one-and-a-half feet long) that were in constant use manipulating various protrusions inside their shells that controlled their movements and their inner environment. Then there was another set of 8-10 tentacles that swirled about in their container and would, at times, push out and extend their shell to be used like we use our arms for grasping, pulling or pushing.

Though it took some time, the Gollanir were eventually able to communicate with the Elzheni in the Elzheni language. The Elzheni Astronomers quickly came to understand that these creatures were spectacularly intelligent, and, to their surprise (and dismay) seemed more evolved than the Elzheni themselves. The Elzheni’s fear of this new race of creatures was dispelled when they discovered that the Gollanir had interest only in the other Very Far Fekxtah and had no interest in traveling any nearer to Oma than their home world of Cantoss took them.

The ancient text that describes interactions is voluminous since it includes both the history of interactions between themselves and the Gollanir Civilization over the course of several hundred years as well as detailed descriptions of Gollanir history, life, and their sciences. We will very briefly address each of these below.

Gollanir History

The Gollanir are a life form that goes back hundreds of thousands of years or, in the case of its predecessors, millions. They began as tiny creatures living near volcanic vents that were ubiquitous across the floor of the Red Ocean, which extended around the entire inner core of Cantoss.

Over eons the Gollanir grew ever more intelligent and capable. It was said that they started as a race with only two or three tentacles, but as time passed, and as need drove change, the number of their tentacles and the dexterity of each increased.

Living so close to the core of Cantoss, they were always exposed to the Fekxtah Energy Filaments, which will be described below. Over time they developed an affinity to these tendrils of force and began to study them and, eventually, to use them.

Eventually, the Gollanir learned how to control the Fekxtah Filaments, and, remarkably, discovered ways to travel along these filaments providing them a way to travel from one Fekxtah to another along these Energetic Tendrils that connected them.

Gollanir Life

In addition to the development of their remarkably deep scientific studies of the Fekxtah Filaments, the Gollanir also developed a sophisticated society. By the time the Elzheni first encountered this race of creatures, many thousands of years ago, there were millions of Gollanir who lived on Cantoss. Food was abundant and procreation was controlled so that their population size would never outrun their food supply.

Over the millenia, the Gollanir discovered natural passages between their own water kingdom deep in Cantoss to the other two water worlds under Cantoss’ surface. In addition, they constructed a number of tunnels that provided them with easy, fast access to the other layers of Cantoss, even to its surface. Of course, the Gollanir were accustomed to the immense pressure of the Red Ocean so deep inside the planet that they could not survive in the areas above their own. Being a resilient and inventive race, they developed strong spheres with tough, flexible skins that they could fill with their own waters and food. They called these spheres jellin capsules. The jellins maintained a constant pressure inside them so that the Gollanir were always enclosed in a welcoming and safe environment, and they gave the Gollanir the ability to travel widely about their own planet and to the other Very Far Planets.

Gollanir Science

The Gollanir have a connection with all of the Six Energies; however, they have a highly attuned affinity with a particular kind of Physic Energy known as Fekxtah Energy Filaments (aka Cosmic Sinews) which are an immensely powerful subtype of Physic Energy that connects the Fekxtah of the world to each other. The Sinews originate from deep within all living Fekxtah (e.g. suns, planets, moons, and even the winnomarn) and they manifest as invisible lines of force that draw Fektah toward each other and sometimes push them away.

As mentioned earlier the Gollanir had found a way to travel with the Fekxtah Filaments and could do so while contained in a jellin to keep them well-protected.

Over many thousands of years, the Gollanir explored the world of the Very Far Fekxtah and populated much of it. From these other Fekxtah worlds, they found new and interesting races of living beings, they gathered an enormous amount of knowledge about the Very Far Fekxtah, and so about Fekxtah generally, and they built an elaborate system for travel among all of the Fekxtah in these outer parts of Oma’s Family using the Fekxtah Filaments as their highway system.

There is brief mention in the final passages of the ancient texts that we were allowed to see that the Gollanir had not encountered any other race of creatures as intelligent and capable as themselves and they were very glad to have found one in the Elzheni. It seemed to provide them with a delightful new perspective on the world and with a completely different source of folk with whom to share the wonders and delights of exploring the world, especially what the Elzheni were able to tell them about the inner worlds of Oma’s Family.

Current scholarship believes that the Elzheni had extensive contact with this civilization and that they two races worked on many projects together, each sharing their knowledge with the other which added to their overall ability to explore the outer parts of Oma’s Family and beyond.

Current scholars believe that there exist many volumes written about the cooperation of these two folk and their many accomplishments, and we have approached the Heolas who control the ancient libraries, the libraries that the heola refer to as their mayamar. 

Much to our chagrin the Guilds have not been provided access. To be accurate we will say that we approached many Heolas scholars and Mayam, even the illustrious heolas scholar, the Mayam (Protector of the Library) named Hemma. All we have approached have denied that such tomes exist. However, we believe, quite strongly, that the heola who control access to the ancient books have deliberately kept them from us. We would in particular welcome any comment from Hemma, who happens to be the mayam in charge of the great Desert Mayamar (Library) known as Hehhollow, as to the veracity of this statement. Much to our dismay we received no response to our repeated requests for his wisdom before publication of this work.

Hallsassring’s Journey: The Story of a Nossring

Chapter 4: The Dust of the Road

Hallsassring’s Journey: A Vision From Far Away, Long Ago

As she continued her march to the city, Hallsassring found herself refreshed and eager for the next encounter. The good food and cheerful company of a kind family had removed much of her weariness. She even found herself enjoying the warm sunlight, which surprised her, given that its dry heat was so different from the cool damp she was used to at home.

She noticed that the farms around her were getting smaller and closer to each other. Soon they gave way to houses and sheds on parcels of land barely larger than the houses themselves. The outline of the city loomed ahead of her and she was struck by its size. The prospect of being surrounded by so many buildings and folk was daunting, but not enough to disturb her current contentment.

Earlier she had been the lone traveler on the road, but now there were many folk and a great variety of them. She was particularly struck by a band of massive bull-like creatures marching steadily toward the city.They must be Ushen, another of the great Ten Races of the Tamarran Continent.

She had just been passed by several wagons when she felt a sense of unease, a twist in her gut that did not come from anything she saw or heard. She was familiar with the sensation: all Nossring possessed an ability to sense when something was out of place or unnatural in the world around them. It was an instinct as ancient as the race of Nossring themselves — a perception she trusted as much as her eyes or ears. 

She scanned her surroundings, looking for the cause of the disquieting perception, but it revealed nothing. As she strolled forward the feeling grew stronger and her unease turned into dread. Something was out there, unseen, always just outside the corner of her eye. It was dark and foul, and it was powerful; and she knew that it had noticed her and was following her as she walked.

Her judgment told her not to stop or slow down so she pushed ahead, ever watchful of her surroundings. As her next step slapped against the hard stone road, a powerful image invaded her mind. It was a vision of danger, of an imminent impending battle. The memory did not belong to her but she could not tell to whom it belonged.

She shuddered as her mind, unbidden, showed her an ancient cavern, deep under a mountain. She realized that she was looking through another being’s eyes, peering into the darkness of the chamber. Her foes were not far away, but they had not yet noticed her so she had the advantage.

A gray mist slowly wrapped itself around the tall, thin body she occupied. The mist was strangely substantial: thick, almost viscous, it clung to her skin. She could touch it and even, she knew, control it.

Then the fog around her took shape, transforming into a flinty gray shaft. It burned with power, and she was the source of that power. She folded the light between her fingers, feeling the immense force that lay curled in her hand. Malice consumed her, a hatred deep and ancient that would only be satisfied by slaughter and the subjugation of any who might stand in her way.

Suddenly, she realized that her enemies had become aware of her. There were two of them, and she could sense them bringing forth their own sources of power to resist hers. A light grew from each opponent and penetrated the cavern’s darkness. One of her foes conjured a verdant green light from one hand and a solid, unwavering purple from the other. From the other foe came a separate light, also of immense power and in some way related to the other lights of power. The second foe produced a brilliant white light, clean and pure. It pierced the two lights, the green and purple, and it drew them together, making the three of them into a single unified force.

Without warning, the three entwined lights of its foes surged toward her. She was unprepared for such a swift strike, but even so, quickly formed the gray mists of her own power into a shield to strike aside the blow. It redirected the enemies’ blow, but only for a moment. The braid of lights pushed aside her parry and pierced her gray defense. The shaft of green and purple light united by white struck the center of her form and buried itself deep in her chest. She wailed in pain and wild despair, shocked to have been bested and in agony from the deep wound that crossed her breast. She screamed again, this time  a shriek of hatred, of loathing aimed at those who had too easily defiled her. She groped at her gray power and dragged it back to her body to expel the enemy’s weapon from her chest.

She was deeply wounded but not fatally, but she knew she must retreat. Focusing her strength, she summoned the image of where she must be, and with a twist of her will she transported herself. A flash of emptiness told her that she had succeeded, and had moved among the shadows. She no longer stood in the giant cavern where her enemies remained.

Inspecting her new surroundings she was comforted by the familiarity of the nine pillars that now surrounded her. They had been her protection for as long as she could remember and protected her still. She had found this place, deep underground, hidden from others, millenia ago and it had become her home. As always, in the center of the nine tall columns was a dark well, deep beyond measure. Within that well there was that which could heal her and could …

“Move along!” The shout broke her trance.

She was standing in the middle of the road, shaken, panting and sweating. A wagon behind her was trying to pass. The cart’s occupants shouted again and this time she reacted, moving quickly to the side of the road. A number of folk were staring at her, clearly wondering whether she was in her right mind. She was not. She had just been in another’s mind. Hallsassring came to her senses enough to give them an angry glare, which seemed to satisfy their concern. They shook their heads and moved on.

The feeling that she was being watched and followed was now gone. Hallsassring wiped her sleeve across her face to brush away the afternoon’s sweat and try to rid herself of this fear. Never in her life had she experienced such a vivid sense of evil or a vision of such force. The final pieces of the horror drifted away, but not before she grasped at it one last time, trying to understand what had happened. She could sense only that the vision had been real; and that it had happened long ago and far away. A final glimmer told her that the creature whose memory she experienced was still very much alive, and very dangerous.

Then the dream was gone. Hallsassring felt her muscles relax, and a deep sense of relief rushed over her.

She looked back to the road with its steady stream of passersby, and remembered the quest that had brought her here. For a reason she could not explain, she found herself thinking of her beloved mentor Fellspring. One memory in particular presented itself, one of his many zealous admonitions to her; “Hallsassring, the world is right here in front of you, not in your head.” She smiled as she remembered his stern, caring face and his finger poking her forehead. She missed him.

But now it was time to focus. The city was only a few hundred yards ahead.

Stowing away the last vestiges of the episode, she resumed her quest. There would be time later to consider the meaning of what had just passed. She would finish the first leg of her journey to the City of Tarnath so that she could begin the task that had brought her here: rescuing her beloved Alliss.

Our Solar System: Cantoss

Volcanic vent deep in the underground ocean of Cantoss

Cantoss, the first of the Very Far Fekxtah

Mean Distance from Oma: 4,088 WA

Orbital Period around Oma: 336 years, elliptical, 90 degrees to plane

Mean Diameter: 9,885 miles

Length of day: 17 hours

Gravity: 4.4 Ethems


The Fekxtah planet Cantoss is the first, the innermost, of what the ancient Elzheni texts call the Very Far Fekxtah. They are called this for the simple reason that they are extremely far from our sun, Oma, and, therefore, from our own home world, Ethem.

The ancient Elzheni texts describe Cantoss as a world of earth and water. What they meant by this is that the planet comprises layers of earth and stone interleaved with layers and oceans. The surface of Cantoss is a huge land mass with a number of large, shallow oceans, and it is extremely cold given that it is directly exposed to the emptiness of space. Cantoss has little atmosphere to speak of. Of course, at this remarkably low temperature the oceans and lakes of Cantoss are not made of water. That would be frozen as hard as rock in this environment. There are instead made of a substance that the ancient Elzheni called “Desslenelt”. It is a material not found on our own Ethem or on any of the inner worlds. If it were, though, it would immediately turn into a gas because of the difference in temperature.

Beneath the thick surface layer of the planet there are three individual layers of liquid with layers of earth (or stone) between each. We will describe each in separate sections below.

The core of Cantoss is hot and fiery and the Elzheni believed it to be made up of either molten rock perpetually spinning to generate its heat or that one or more celestial beings are trapped, embedded in the very core of the Fekxtah. It was surprising to our current scholars that a race of beings as intelligent and as scientifically minded as the Elzehni would put credibility in the latter belief since that seems closer to religion than to science. Regardless, we simply convey the major points of the ancient texts for educational purposes without making judgements as to their correctness or fitness.

As one moves further away from the molten core of Cantoss, the extreme heat lessens and eventually cools allowing the earth and stone to become solid though it does remain pockmarked with many volcanic outlets where the core’s heat manages to rise through cracks in this material. Some of the outlets are quite large (as large as a mountain here on Ethem), and others are quite small, no bigger than the well-ventilated crawl space at the base of a fine home. The layer that contains these hot geysers is encased by a great ocean, hundreds of miles thick. At its top, the points farthest from Cantoss’ core, the liquid becomes slushy and eventually quite solid forming another of Cantoss’ layers with earth and stone lying at the top of this layer.

Another layer of liquid follows this layer of solid, which is again followed by a layer of solid, and then yet one more layer of liquid the top of which touches the bottommost part of Cantoss’ surface layer.

In this manner Cantoss has three distinct layers of ocean each of which surrounds the entire planet. Each layer contains its own ecosystem which is home to many living beings, and every layer is distinct from the others.

The three ocean layers are described in greater detail below.

The Hyless Ocean

The topmost of the three layers of ocean within Cantoss is called the Hyless Ocean. It is the coolest of the three as it is closest to the surface of the planet and is furthest from Cantoss’ hot core. It contains an abundance of life in two forms. The first of these is a race of creatures that the Elzheni called the Hyless, for which this ocean layer of Cantoss is named. The Hyless are gigantic creatures made from a thick organic slime. They move slowly and deliberately around the full extent of the planet. They survive by consuming a thick, gooey brine that grows in large patches on the bottom of this ocean, and, it should be noted, they feed on each other. The ancient texts say that it is unclear if one creature actually devours another or if they simply merge with each other going from two large creatures to one single, much larger, one. The texts also mention that these creatures have seasons of growth, but also seasons of shrinkage. Over time these creatures become ever larger, and at the appropriate season each of the truly gigantic creatures will begin to vibrate quite violently and will eventually shake themselves apart, or simply explode, into ten of thousands (or perhaps more) smaller versions of themselves which then begin the cycle again.

The Hyless have a stiff outer shell that provides a barrier between the ocean’s liquid and their own inner body. Their inner bodies contain a plethora of hand-sized “organs” that travel throughout the Hyless repairing parts that are ailing or broken and giving the large creature some semblance of intelligence, though perhaps not enough for actual sentience.

The Ocean of Lights

In this hidden ocean deep beneath the surface of Cantoss lies one of the most spectacular sights in Oma’s Solar System, if one could only see it, which the ancient Elzheni claim to have done. This layer contains countless numbers of luminescent water-bound creatures. Most are almost completely transparent, but all of them emit lights into the dark ocean, and every light seems completely unique in its color, its luminosity, and the frequency of its bursts. Some are constantly lit and one can watch as they move throughout the watery world. Others blink intermittently or only under specific circumstances, or in reaction to events such as being threatened by their neighbors.

These creatures feed on each other and on an abundant life form that grows from the rocky bottom of this ocean. These creatures, known to the Elzehni as Farddissil, are thick, smooth stems that can grow to be as much as a mile high, supported by the thick fluid of the ocean. Many of these have at their top a soft light that mimics that kind of fishy creatures that live in the ocean. This is an elegant disguise, and a highly efficient method for capturing, and devouring, its fellow inhabitants of this watery world.

The Red Ocean and The Civilization of the Gollanir

The bottom-most of Cantoss’ three ocean layers is called the Red Ocean because of the red hue of its water and the vast number of volcanic chimneys that line the bottom of its extent. These chimneys are constantly spewing fiery detritus from the earth and stone layer that lies immediately underneath the Red Ocean which is closest to Cantoss’ molten core.

This ocean is quite warm and because of this it is made of liquid water. The water is warm throughout and the parts near the volcanic chimneys are boiling.

The warmth of this layer and the richness of the earth that encases it both above and below, have given rise to many intelligent life forms, and one in particular that has excelled all others that was known to the Elzheni as the Gollanir.

The Gollanir will be described in greater detail in a subsequent chapter of this document. Here we will state that this race of creatures had developed a very powerful science of their own based on the Six Energies, and on Physic Energy in particular. Their master of Physic Energy gave them great power that allowed them to create a civilization that spanned the layers of ocean of their own world and it gave them the ability to extend their reach to the Fekxtah that lie further from Oma. The Elzheni discovered that the Gollanir were a very old civilization, older than any of the races on Ethem, and that they likely had dominated this part of the Solar System for tens of thousands of years. They had created alliances with other races on other Fekxtah, and so the Elzheni were careful in their efforts to establish, and maintain, a close friendship with this Civilization and its many members.

Fekxtah Station #12:

This Fekxtah Station is unique among all other stations in that it served as both a station from which exploration could be made, but it was primarily a diplomatic outpost where the Elzheni could maintain and extend their relationship with the Gollanir.

The station was built on the surface of Cantoss. Originally, it was small, holding only a few dozen Astronomers, but once the Gollanir contacted the Elzheni the station was built into a much larger structure, much of it with the help of the Gollanir.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: A Last Battle

Dollano 29, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

A Last Battle

We were exhausted from our exertions of the last few days, but, even more than that, we were weary from the loss of our friends. Or, at least, I was weary. My nossring companions showed little emotion, but I’ve been with them long enough to know when they’ve been affected, and I could tell they felt the loss deeply. Even so, they carry on.

Note to Self: Someday that will be me!

We started the day’s journey by trying to find the way out. The one that Donnessling had told us about. We had traveled for a while, and Donnessling had just told us that we were close when we heard a huge crashing sound up ahead. It sounded like some of the tunnel had caved in.

Donnessling sent two of his commands ahead to see what had happened. They returned soon and told us that the ceiling up ahead had caved in and the tunnel was now blocked. They told us that the collapse was extensive and not something we could simply dig through.

Donnessling looked at Sheshoffiss whose eyes were closed. He seemed to be trying to recall something, perhaps some very old memories. When his eyes opened he looked back at Donnessling, and said, “There is a place, further on, which leads out of the mountain onto its western foothills.”

“Wells’ Cavern,” was Donnessling’s response, “It is a dangerous place. For many years now it has been overrun with moraktatha, if the reports are true.”

Sheshoffiss agreed with this assessment, and emphasized how foul the moraktatha are. Snakes are bad enough, but these are large ones — some are longer than an ushen is tall — and they are particularly loathsome. The worst thing is that these creatures don’t just swallow their prey whole; they devour our selves, too. All of our memories, thoughts, and feelings become a part of the moraktatha that eats you. Not a pleasant way to die — as if there was some way to die that was.

The two of them debated while the rest of us waited. Neither seemed to like the notion of Wells’ Cavern, but they decided that it was either that or going back to the horror of the ancient city we had just escaped.

Once they made their decision, Donnessling gave instructions to Tollerring and told him to lead the way. Tollerring has taken the place of Allsassring as Donnessling’s commander. Neither of them mentioned Allsassring’s name when the assignment was decided.

It was not a long journey, and we arrived outside the cavern in the late afternoon, stopping before we entered to prepare ourselves. The plan was for Donnessling and Sheshoffiss to use their stones to form an Energetic shield around us as we moved forward and the fighters would form a ring around us to kill any that might get through. It was key that we all stayed together, inside the protective field, as we moved across the cavern to the exit.

Donnessling and Sheshoffiss stood close to each other and chanted to their stones. As the light rose, Donnessling nodded to Tollerring, who slowly led us out of our hiding place.

All of our swords were drawn and the light was enough for us to see a dozen yards in every direction.

Our gait was disciplined and slow, giving us time to search the smooth floor around us. The sleek gray skin of the moraktatha might easily blend in with the stone of the cave, making them all but invisible to us.

The minutes passed slowly. Our concentration never wavered and the stones emitted a steady stream of white light tinged with green and purple.

When we had marched about halfway across the cavern Donnessling whispered a word for us to stop.

“Something is wrong,” he said.

Sheshoffiss responded, “We know that this is their…”

We heard a soft hissing from the far end of the cavern. Donnessling cocked his head to listen carefully and drew the green stone, the stone that matched to Spirit Energy, closer.

“It is the moraktatha. They have drawn away to the far end of the cavern, and they are afraid.” He looked at Sheshoffiss. I could hear the surprise in his voice and I could see his brow furrow when he added, “But they do not fear us.”

A loud cracking sound broke the silence. The stone under the feet of the Nossring to my left broke apart and our companions fell. To my astonishment, they were sinking into stone as if its hardness had somehow become soft and malleable. I could see their eyes lit with pain.

“It is here. The creature that carries the Gray Stone,” Donnessling announced to the air around him. “There,” said Donnessling, pointing toward the other side of the cavern.

As one he and Sheshoffiss leaped forward. We were now in the dark, but could see their light as they swept toward some unseen destination.

I could see streams of green and purple light twisting themselves around each other to form a long, focused stream. Then the white light completed the braid and the three lights shaped into a sleek, powerful spear of light. I could hear sharp popping sounds and see sparks of light as the streams merged with each other making this weapon ever more powerful.

Without warning the three braided lights hurtled themselves into the dark. There was an explosion as they crashed into a dark gray cloud that had something hard and gray in its center. Something in the grayness struck back to deflect the assault, but the white light burst into brilliance and drove the spear of the entwined lights forward.

Suddenly a cry of pain pierced the cavern’s air. Then, unspeakable words in an ancient tongue rang out with what had to have been a terrible curse. When the curse completed, the gray cloud snapped out of existence and its remaining misty shards dissolved into the air.

Tollerring ran forward accompanied by three other nossring to see after our companions. I quickly ran after them.

We arrived to find Donnessling, depleted but still conscious. He was leaning over Sheshoffiss holding the green stone against the zweyjens chest. Sheshoffiss had the white stone in his hand, but it gave no light, and he was lying stiff on the floor and barely breathing.

I could see the green stone throbbing in Donnessling’s hand as he rallied against his exhaustion to try to keep Sheshoffiss alive.

Our Solar System: Oma’s Very Far Fekxtah

Oma’s Very Far Fekxtah

The Disk of Itennin, showing Oma and Her Children

The group of what are called The Very Far Fekxtah are so distant from Oma, and therefore, from our own Ethem, that they could not be detected by any device created by the ancient Elzheni Astronomers. They were also too far to be reached by the machines the Elzheni had created for travel from one Fekxtah planet to another (from one Fekxtah Station to another). Therefore, the ancient Astronomers who explored the Very Far Fekxtah had to travel first to the most distant of the “inner” worlds, the Fekxtah Station on the planet Mammarrell. From that station they could then transport to the Very Far Fekxtah. This worked well for the most part in that it allowed travel to take place. However, because each Fekxtah had its own orbital period around Oma the outer Fekxtah were not always close enough to Mammarrell for transportation to take place. For example, it was often the case that the Fekxtah to which the Elzheni wished to travel, was on the other side of Oma from Mammarrell, or somewhere in its orbit such that the distances between Mammarrell and the destination were too great.

The effect of this was that there were only windows of time when the alignment between Mammarrell and one of the Very Far Fekxtah were close enough for transportation to take place. The Elzheni Astronomers called these windows of time the Positional Transportation Alignment Opportunity (PTAO). A PTAO might be as long as several years or as short as a week, which also meant that the time between PTAOs would vary considerably. Sometimes the Astronomers had to wait for decades for another transportation window to open up.

These alignment challenges were the cause of many tragedies usually because a Fekxtah Station would be left on its own for many years and encountered a problem but no help could arrive in time to assist. We will not, in this document, tell the stories of these many difficulties, and instead refer the reader to the original Elzheni Astronomers’ tomes themselves. Of course, one will need to be well-versed in the ancient Elzheni languages or have access to someone who is. For those who are interested in pursuing one or more of these documents, the preeminent heolas mayamar (library) in Tarnath contains the vast majority of the writings of the ancient Elzheni Astronomers, and that would be a good place to start.

The details of the Very Far Fekxtah are straightforward. They comprise four Fekxtah planets and many smaller worlds as well as countless fragments of stone and ice. These will be described in the pages that follow. As with all other sections of this book, these pages contain only a summary of the information carried in the ancient texts.

We will conclude this overview of the Very Far Fekxtah with a note about the Disk of Itennin. This disk is one of the great artifacts that has come down to our scientists from the previous time of the world, the Second Era of the Fifth Age of the World. During the long years that made up that Era the Elzheni there were many races. It was, after all, the first time in the history of our world that races of creatures came into being, as opposed to individual creatures. Of all the many and various races that occupied this time period, the Elzheni were the greatest of all, and (rightfully) claimed to be Masters of the World. Sadly, their brilliance also led to a level of arrogance that eventually destroyed them and much of the world. That story is told elsewhere.

What is relevant to this short document is that the Disk of Itennin contains great knowledge of Oma and Her Family. The Disk itself is a beautiful thing. It is a circular disk made from various metals and precious stones that is six feet in diameter. Its beauty is sufficient to make it a work of wonder. There are many who want nothing more than to look upon it, sometimes for hours, because even the tiniest portion of the Disk allows the viewer to see much that is hidden to an untrained eye, and even much that is not visible to the eye alone. There are details that can be seen only by Energetic sight that allows one to see details ever smaller, even smaller than we can imagine.

The Sorcerers of Shawmancer Island possessed the Disk of Itennin for the first centuries of this the Third Era of the Fifth Age of the World, and they claimed to have discovered incantations and Words of Power that unlocked many parts of the Disk. I mention this claim for the sake of accuracy, but, of course, any such claims of using “magic” to unlock a physical artifact are simply not credible.

The Disk had a long history of passing from one powerful kingdom to another, but once the Guilds were fully formed and functioning, they rescued it from those who could not appreciate its scientific importance. We, The Guilds of Tamarra have uncovered great amounts of the information stored in this disk, and we believe there is even more that may be found as we continue our methodical work to reveal the secrets of this ancient thing.

We would recommend attending any, or all, of the Guild meetings that update the community on new discoveries.