Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Tellin Town

Dollano 19, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

Tellin Town

We started the day at sunrise, as usual. We headed down the mountain to the coastline so we could walk on land that was flatter. That worked pretty well except when we had to walk on loose sand. That slowed us down, but there was usually some bit of solid ground we could find.

Our destination was a small coastal town called Tellin Town. After seeing it, I’d say that it barely qualifies as a village. Couldn’t have been more than a few hundred folk there, though I was impressed by the variety. There were quite a few zweyjen (no surprise there), and then a smattering of heola, ishiri, plenty of dwarves (but not from Begkragk’s Kingdom), and some crawn. I think I even spotted a martle ambling away down the beach.

I couldn’t see why Donnessling wanted to get to this place, but I found out shortly after arriving. He approached one of the zweyjen fishermen on the beach who recognized Donnessling right away.  They exchanged a hug and some back slaps. Donnessling knows a lot of folk!

Donnessling pointed over to the rest of us and, after taking a long look, the zweyjen motioned for us to follow him (her? Hard to tell with zweyjen). We were led into a wooden building on top of one of the rocky cliffs above the beach, where we got a large meal. Lots of fish, mushrooms (a strange kind I’d never seen before), and several kinds of seaweed. Delicious! We all had seconds, and some had thirds.

“This is Sheshoffiss,” Donnessling told us once our bellies were full. He was pointing at the zweyjen. “He will help us cross the waters back to Shawmancer Island.”

That’s when Donnessling abruptly stopped and turned his head to listen, as did his nossring comrades. I heard it a moment later. There was a clang of weapons and then sounds of shouting, and battle.

We all rushed out of the building and down on the beach we could see Begkragk dwarves. A lot of them. They were attacking the fishermen, who had taken out nets and wooden poles to defend themselves. It was not a fair fight, but I don’t think the dwarves cared about that.

When they saw us on the cliff, they gave a shout and a number of them headed up toward us. There were too many of them.

I looked over at Donnessling and Sheshoffiss expecting them to be shouting out orders or running, or both. But, they weren’t. They were both just as calm as if someone just told them of plans for a picnic.

The two of them held each other’s hands and closed their eyes. It was the strangest thing. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. There was a purple light coming from Donnessling. I of course recognized it right away. He was using the Eye of Zanyr. But, Sheshoffiss was shining, but with a white light, and the two lights seemed to blend and swirl around each other. Things went so quiet. I could hear the crashing of the waves on the shore, water against packed sand, as if my ear was held right against the sand where it met the water. And I could feel a throbbing, like the pulse of a heart.

Suddenly, the purple light coming from Donnessling, streaked out from his body like hundreds of shafts of light, each shaft propelled by a white light behind it. There was a blast across the beach and over the water and the lands around us. Every dwarf was blasted from their feet and tossed into the air. Sheshoffiss’ folk and ours were untouched, but the dwarves lay scattered across the beach. At first I thought they were all dead, but then I could see chests heaving. They had been knocked out by the blast that Donnessling hurled at them, and hurled it he did. I looked over and could see him standing next to Sheshoffiss with his hands on his knees, panting like he’d just fifty miles.

“We must go,” Sheshoffiss said to Donnessling who nodded in agreement, and then said, “All of us.” Sheshoffiss nodded back.

The details don’t matter at this point. The fisher folk pulled long boats out of hidden caves. They were already loaded with supplies. We all boarded the boats and pulled out into the waters that would take us to Shawmancer Island.

Just before we boarded I heard Sheshoffiss say something more to Donnessling, “Three Eyes have not been in the presence of each other for many long years, and not with Dey.”

I think I saw something completely amazing — three Eyes from the Crown of Drawnwyn in the same place at the same time, with two of them being used, and one of those two was, if I heard Sheshoffiss right, the Eye of Dey, which looked to me like a white stone.

Note To Self: Don’t mention this to anyone back in Naldrin City, at least, not until I’ve had a chance to learn more about this Crown of Drawnwyn thing — provided I actually get back to Naldrin City alive.

The sun was setting when we landed at a safe place on Shawmancer Island. Allalling told me we were not far from Berimandry City.

I’m very glad to be safe again. And, tomorrow it’s back to Berimandry, again.

Our Solar System: The Planet Harrayem

The Three Sisters

The Planet Harrayem

The Planet Harrayem

Mean Distance from Oma: 96 WA

Orbital Period around Oma: 1.1 years

Mean Diameter: 8,850 miles

Length of day: 23 hours

Gravity: 1.0 Ethems

Description:

Harrayem is the third of the Three Sisters, the three planet Fekxtah that includes our own Ethem. This means that Harrayem is very similar to its two sisters, Ethem and Aldrem. As with its siblings, Harrayem has an abundance of living things living on it, and inside of it. There is a great variety of creatures and plantlife.

Without doubt, the most notable difference between Harrayem and its sibling Fekxtah is its plantlife. The plant life is not only abundant but it is immense compared with that of Ethem or Aldrem. The largest of these are the giant trees of Harrayem. It is common for these beings to be many hundreds of yards tall, and the ancient texts even tell of some that rise close to a mile in height. The land masses that cover almost the entire surface of Harrayem are populated by forests of these great plants, and the air high above the surface is frequently filled with large spores and floating flowers that emanate from them. These vessels are taken by the winds and it is not uncommon for them to make their way across the entire planet while never once touching the ground.

In addition to these giants, there are many smaller plants. There are long vines that spread themselves between the many trees or around their massive trunks. There are also bushes and smaller plants that live in the vast forest floor beneath the trees. These provide food and protection for the many creatures who live among the trees.

Though it is not the norm, there are some areas of land without forests. These are often covered by smaller plants. A good example is the Fellmin. These plants have large, broad and thick green leaves, and flowering stems that project themselves out of the thick leaves. The Fellmin grow to a height of anywhere between six and ten feet tall, and during the right season of Harrayem’s year they will spawn multi-colored floral blooms turning the green seas of plants into a cascade of color and texture.

Below the Fellmin is a world unto itself. The Fellmin grow closely together, and their leaves are forever battling each other, constantly contending for this light. The result is that every inch of space is taken by Fellmin leaves, leaving little or no light to fall below, and so, below the endless waves of green leaves and light brown stems, there is a world of perpetual darkness. This environment is perfect for the nocturnal burrowing creatures who live at the base of the Fellmin. They love this ecosystem, where they are well-hidden from predators, such as the many birds of Harrayem, and where there is an abundance of food such as worms and insects. The most abundant of the creatures that live below the Fellmin is a creature called the Caldook. They are quite similar to the shaloo that lives here on Ethem. However, whereas the shaloo are great tunnellers through solid rock, the Caldook can only burrow through the soil. They do not have the razor-sharp claws of the shaloo or their immensely strong forearms. The ancient texts tell of sturdy tunnels built by the Caldook that are hundreds of miles long criss-crossing large swaths of the planet.

We must also make mention of the insect life on Harrayem. They are found in every corner of the planet. They are a great source of food for Harrayem’s other living beings, and, like on Ethem, they help pollinate the many plants of their world. The ancient texts tell tales of great dangers posed to the Elzheni Travelers by these insects. For example, there are bee-like creatures that live throughout Harrayem. These swarms are highly territorial and will not hesitate to attack any who might stray into their space. As individuals, they are painful and bothersome; however, their attacks come as a concerted effort by hundreds or thousands at a time and can be very lethal to any they find.

Finally, we will mention the winged creatures of Harrayem. The ancient texts tell of only a few kinds or races; however, they are highly intelligent beings and they control the area of the world above the forests and plants. They are the intelligent sentient races of Harrayem equivalent to our own Ten Races, and they have formed great cities in the upper reaches of the trees and in the higher parts of Harrayem’s mountains. There are seven great “nations” of these sentient flyers and each has established kingdoms and nations that control various regions of the planet. There are seven of these races, and the ancient texts refer to them as the Seven Winged Nations of Harrayem. These are the creatures with whom the ancient Elzheni had to contend when they arrived, and the nations with whom they negotiated their presence on the planet.

Fekxtah Station #3:

The ancient texts about Harrayem have been damaged (or so we are told by the heolas mayam who care for these books — some scholars believe that the heola are deliberately keeping this information from us). Regardless of the truth of this matter, because of it we are missing crucial information about the Fekxtah Station situated on Harrayem.

The texts say that the station is located in a set of giant trees that form a forest ring somewhere on one of the plains of this Fekxtah planet. If so, it would mean that this station is quite different from the others. All other Fekxtah Stations are created from stone and iron and the hard substances of the world on which they are located, but the station on Harrayem would be located inside vegetation and presents an interesting conundrum for we scholars who study such matters.

The only other piece of information we have on this Fekxtah Station is an indication that near the end of the Second Era, and therefore near the end of the Elzheni’s time here on Ethem, there was a conflict between the Elzheni and the Seven Winged Nations of Harrayem. Some of the pages that describe this time period are only somewhat readable. A number of scholars have interpreted the text to say that the Elzheni succeeded in this conflict with the Seven Winged Nations and that they destroyed, or dominated, them. However, most scholars believe that the Elzheni were driven out of their places on Harrayem and eventually had to completely retreat from the world.

We will perhaps never know the full truth of this, provided of course, the ancient texts are not a fiction themselves.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Battle!

Dollano 18, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

Battle

It’s been two days since I last wrote and there’s a lot to tell, including our battle with Begkragk and his folk. I need to start from the beginning, though.

We started off yesterday waking up in the Last Palace of the Kingdom of the Elling. An amazing place. Unfortunately, though, we didn’t have time to explore. We were traveling fast and kept to an outer hallway that took us past the main parts of the underground city. This saved us a lot of time, but lost the opportunity to savor this place. Even though we moved through quickly, its beauty was on full display. A number of times we passed a large opening where I was able to get a glimpse of interior halls. They were filled with murals, carvings, statues, and tall ceilings. Opulence beyond belief. Wanted badly to stop, even just for a few minutes, but Allalling would have none of it.

I could have gotten quite a few good stories for the News out of this place. Just the kind of thing they like.

Note To Self: Go back and get the big story; the history, architecture, and the folk, of course. I should be able to get a good long series out of it. Maybe take Allalling for commentary. On second thought, maybe not.

By mid-day we were out of the Elling Kingdom, and into fresh air. A welcome relief. We found ourselves in a narrow ravine. It was dimly lit, almost like night. The sides were very steep and let in very little sun, and what light it did get was mostly blocked by the thick brush and short trees along its sides. Donnessling liked that. He was pleased that we were well-hidden.

We walked through this gully for an hour or two. Not easy walking but at least we had a fresh breeze.

I don’t know how Donnessling could find anything in the dark bramble, but he did. Before we lost the light entirely, he found what he’d been looking for — a small break in the ravine wall. When we cleared away the overgrowth we found a tunnel entrance going down into the mountain — again into the mountain!

“Here it is,” Donnessling said to us, “an old entrance into the Begkragk Kingdom.” He was quite pleased with himself, as he should have been.

The tunnel was old and it looked like no one had used it in a long time. It was not an impressive thing to see. It looked more like a passageway that might be used by workers or maintenance crews. I’ll have to ask about that later.

Once again, Donnessling proved himself to be a great navigator. There were many twists and turns and new corridors were forever opening up around us, but Donnessling never hesitated. He knew where he wanted to go.

After a few hours he led us up a narrow stairwell that showed light at its end.

“This is it. I believe we will find Begkragk ahead.” Donnessling was eager, but still calm. He nodded to Allalling to get things sorted which he did. His last bit of sorting was to pull me aside and tell me not to follow them into the room under any circumstances, unless he called me. I mumbled something that sounded sort of like a ‘yes’. He bristled, but didn’t have time to argue.

We soon found ourselves near the ceiling of a large empty hall. We had emerged between the tops of massive pillars that ran across the length and width of the hall. We were at least thirty feet above the floor, standing in a small, virtually invisible, walking lane that led behind all of the columns — for the maintenance servers. Allalling turned to me to let me know this is where I was to stay.

Suddenly, we could all hear a loud chanting down below us. It was Begkragk. No mistaking his voice for anything other than two drunk oogerts stumbling through a gravel pit. He was standing at the far end of the hall facing some kind of large statue — looked like an old warrior — and he was reciting something; perhaps an old incantation, and he was holding up a purple gem — the Eye of Zanyr!

He had a couple dozen dwarves standing behind him, listening intently as Begkragk droned on.

Donnessling led his nossring kin along the narrow path until they reached the far end. I swear these nossring just don’t make any sound when they don’t want to. He separated them into three groups and, at his signal, they all leaped down onto the floor and attacked Begkragk and his fighters.

The fighting was ferocious. The nossring had the advantage at first because of the surprise. We were deep inside Begkragk’s kingdom and they were not expecting an attack here.

A number of dwarves fell within the first few seconds, but they soon rallied and moved to protect their king, who had been attacked by Donnessling first thing. Donnessling was able to wound Begkragk, deeply along the length of his left arm, but he was quick to draw his blade with his right. The two were well-matched, and when the other dwarves stormed to Begkragk’s aid, Donnessling was forced to back away.

He had sustained several deep wounds himself. I was amazed, though, to see his wounds heal quickly as he fought on. There was a subtle green glow beneath his thick leather tunic as the wounds healed. The Eye of Darmyn. These “Eyes” were pretty spectacular things.

Needless to say, I had by this point decided that Allalling’s advice was astute and I had decided to follow it. That proved to be irrelevant, though, when a large alarm sounded a few minutes after the battle began. More dwarf soldiers would be here, and soon!

Begkragk shouted to urge on his warriors, knowing that victory was near at hand. However, his shout was premature, fatally so. More quickly than I had ever seen him (or anyone) move, Donnessling leaped between the dwarves in front of Begkragk and drove his sword into the dwarf king’s chest. Before Begkragk could choke out his final curse Donnessling had thrust his hand through the opening his sword had cleaved in Begkragk’s armor and pulled out the purple gem.

Begkragk fell to the ground awash in his own blood and that of several of his kin. The other dwarves were shocked to see their leader dead on the floor at their feet. This gave the nossring their chance to flee, which they did immediately. Allalling, had the presence of mind to look up to find my eyes and give me a  nod. I took that as a signal to withdraw back down the small passageway we had come from.

In less than a minute the nossring joined me. There were fewer of them now than there had been before they left me. There was no time for grieving, though. Several others were wounded, some very deeply. Allalling led the way as we raced down the corridor. As he did, Donnessling was using his green stone to help heal his comrades.

I am too exhausted to tell the story of the chase in detail now. Suffice it to say that Begkragk’s kin wanted revenge and in the worst way. They chased us through their kingdom for the entirety of that night and well into the next day. We finally found an unguarded exit, the one from which we entered, and scurried back into the ravine. This time, though, Donnessling led us up the sides of the ravine and into the mountains higher places.

We managed, for the most part, to avoid the dwarves who sought our lives. The one or two small encounters were quickly dealt with and no dwarves were left to send a signal they had found us.

Now it is night again, and we are all exhausted. Donnessling has found an old cave in the cold heights of the mountains, and he has kept us alive, he and Allalling, with their fierce determination and no small assistance from a powerful green gem.

I can write no more tonight. For now, though, we are safe, and tomorrow we will, hopefully, find our way home carrying two “Eyes”.

Our Solar System: The Planet Aldrem

The Three Sisters

The Planet Aldrem

The Fekxtah Planet Aldrem

Mean Distance from Oma: 93 WA

Orbital Period around Oma: 1.2 years

Mean Diameter: 9,400 miles

Length of day: 26 hours

Gravity: 1.1 Ethems

Description:

Aldrem is quite similar to Ethem, though less of its surface is made of land masses. It is not quite a “water world”, but has more extensive oceans than our own Fekxtah.

The world has two major continents, Tembra and Chongalless and many small ones, though some may view them, instead, as large islands. Each land mass has sandy plains at their edges, abutting the ocean, but their interiors contain massive mountains. The highest of these mountains is on the Tembra Continent. It is called Vellarrosz and is almost 19 miles high, a truly monumental elevation.

There are many similarities between Aldrem and our own Fekxtah, Ethem. For example, Aldrem sustains living creatures much the way Ethem does and has a great variety of them, as does Ethem. One of the major differences is that the sentient races on Aldrem live in its oceans. The abundance of creatures that live on its land have no particular intelligence, nor do they have an affinity for any of the Six Energies.

The other major difference between these two worlds is that whereas Ethem is a Spirit-inflected Fekxtah, Aldrem is instead Mental-inflected. This means that the dominant Energy, of the Six, is Mental Energy on Aldrem, and Spirit Energy on Ethem.

Neither of these differences lessens the variety or abundance of creatures on Aldrem. As a world with many large oceans, it boasts a large variety, and number, of sea-dwelling beings. In addition to being the most intelligent creatures on this Fekxtah, a number of them are also its largest. The Selleemell are gigantic sea snakes, not unlike the eels of our world; however, the Selleemell can grow to be many miles long.

The War of Sea and Land

Beyond doubt, the most famous (and infamous) of the stories from the ancient texts about Aldrem is the War of Sea and Land. This was a war fought between the creatures who dwelt on Aldrem’s continents and islands fighting against those that lived in its seas. Many scholars of the ancient texts claim that this war is more accurately described as a conflict between the Elzheni and the creatures of Aldrem’s oceans. They argue that, over the centuries, the Elzheni had come to dominate the land creatures of Aldrem, and even enslave some of them. These creatures did not have the physical or mental prowess to defy the Elzheni’s desire to rule all within their reach. Nor did these indigenous creatures have any particular affinity with the Six Energies that might have given them the strength to resist their masters. There are a few tales of singular individuals who could perform some acts of Energetic control, but these folk were very rare and, of course, untutored in how to channel their abilities.

These scholars portray the Elzheni as a haughty race that considered most, if not all, other races and creatures to be inferior to them. Because of this it was natural for the Elzheni to believe that it was well within their rights, and even their obligation, to subjugate other living beings. They easily took control of the creatures who lived on Aldrem’s land masses. However, gaining control of the seas was not nearly so simple.

Initially, relations between the Elzheni and the creatures of Aldrem’s oceans were good. Each side lived in peace with the other and there were many occasions when they would cooperate with each other. Over time, though, the Elzheni’s baser instincts prevailed. Their actions became more selfish and less honest, and, at times, even cruel.  Over the years, as the Elzheni showed themselves to be ever less reliable neighbors, the creatures of the sea became wary and prepared themselves against the possibility of betrayal by their former partners on Aldrem.

Relationships continued to deteriorate until, near the end of the Second Era here on Ethem, the Elzheni launched an assault against the creatures of the sea. However, these beings were prepared, and surprised the Elzheni attackers by their readied defense and their skills in war. The ancient texts have many tales of battle and hardship as this war continued for many years. We will not recount them here.

The war at last came to an end when the Elzheni used a special weapon they had been designed in particular against all things that lived in the waters. It was called an “Energy Bomb”. This repugnant device was an Energetic weapon designed to despoil the Spirit Energy that resided inside any living creature in the waters of the world, and it was designed such that it would not inflict damage on any creatures who lived on land. It is unclear from the ancient texts how this monstrous thing was created. However, that was done, the creatures of Aldrem’s seas had found out and they had found a way to reverse the nature of this weapon so that it would have an opposite effect. It would avoid the watery domains of the world and would only affect the Spirit Energy of living beings on land.

The bomb was deplyed on the western shores of the Tembra Continent during the middle of Tambra’s summer, buried deep in the sands abutting the ocean. Once it was detonated the effects were devastating and, for the Elzheni, wholly unexpected. Instead of making its way into the ocean waters, it created a dense cloud that slowly drifted across the lands of Tembra and into the skies above it. Once they had discovered that their device had been tampered with, the Elzheni were helpless to stop its deathly crawl across the continent. The bomb appeared to onlookers as a dark cloud of churning black and gray that crept across the lands at a steady, unrelenting pace. It took only a few days for the bomb’s cloud to make its way across all of Tembra, and then, through the air, it attacked all of the other land masses of Aldrem. Within weeks all life on the continents and islands had perished. Some of the Elzheni were able to escape before the catastrophe overtook them, but many more died before they could escape back to Ethem. One of the greatest victims of this immense tragedy was the death of the great city of Allem. This was the Elzheni’s largest and most populous city on the planet Aldrem, and contained works of great splendor and superlative construction. By the end of the Energetic Bomb’s devastation, this was nothing more than a ruin that stained the lands it had once occupied. It was a city that had become a tomb, and a place to which no Elzheni would ever return.

Fekxtah Station #2:

According to the ancient texts Fekxtah Station #2 was the most used of all such stations. Over centuries many Elzheni migrated to this lush planet, and so the station was in almost constant use during this time.

At a certain point the Elzheni migration increased significantly and it turned into something more similar to a military expedition. At this point the Fekxtah Station #2 was greatly expanded to accommodate more folk and larger objects.

This station was one of the great achievements of the Elzheni scientists and engineers. Tragically, the station was a victim of the great War of Sea and Land and the horrific weapon that brought it to an end.

The ancient texts tell of several attempts to re-open the station, but the results reported back seemed to be mired in some of the fatal politics of the final days of the Elzheni Race.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Eedard Shows the Way in

Dollano 16, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

Eedard Shows the Way in

It was another early morning start. Allalling is not subtle when he gives us our wake-up call. I don’t think that guy sleeps.

A bit of food, barely anything, and then off we went. While I was eating, I could just barely make out Therol’s Bridge far away to the west, and, on its other side, Shawmancer Island. It’s funny, but I missed the island some. I’d just started to get friendly with Horrence and a few others at the Shawmancer Journal, and I got the feeling the local baker and I were starting to get along. She had a spark to her, and I liked that.

I hope to see them all again some day.

Today was a lot like yesterday except that we traveled on the side of the mountain instead of under it. I was glad of that. The mountains are really big on this side of the channel. Shawmancer’s mountains were old and small, but the ones we crossed today were rugged and seemed a lot colder, but maybe that’s just the weather.

The trail we took all day was high up in the mountains, but not nearly as high as the peaks. Some of the trail was built-up, like a very narrow road, but most of our path was over areas where the road had been washed out long ago, or maybe just never there.

A little bit after mid-day we stopped for a meal and Allalling pointed out a city on the coast below us. It looked as big as Partameer City. Hopefully a lot cleaner. I thought we’d be heading down there, but no such luck. Eedard was still leading us further southeast along the mountain trail. When I looked at Allalling to ask, he held up his hand to stop me. He knew what I was going to say (“complain about”, he would say), and just shook his head. I like that guy and I think he’s starting to get used to me. Good enough!

It was getting late in the day, a couple hours before sunset, when Eedard led us all through a sliver of an opening in the rockface. It was narrow enough to be tough going, but we managed it.

What I saw on the other side was a big surprise, at least to me. We came out into a flat area as big as a small stadium. It had tall peaks on every side, and at one end there was a door. It wasn’t just a “door”, though. It was a big door and, though it was old and had suffered some from the weather over time, it was still spectacular. It was quite grand.

Donnessling was giving it a real look. He said, “I haven’t seen this since I was young. Very young.”

I could see Eedard give him some kind of devilish smile. I didn’t like that guy when I first saw him, and I have to say that I’ve not gotten any fonder of him. I don’t trust him one bit. I’m not sure Donnessling does either, or any of us.

Then Eedard spoke out. “I have completed my part of our agreement,” he said. “Now, I shall collect what is mine.”

Donnessling didn’t look happy. Not one bit. He also looked like he was resigned to doing whatever it was he had to do. “We shall conclude our agreement, inside these doors.”

“No, we shall do it here, or nowhere!” The belligerence of Eedard’s reply surprised me. Thinking back on it, I believe he was terribly fearful. He glanced over at the door several times and it looked like they had some bad memories for him. Some very bad memories if my sense of folk is any good, and it’s very good.

Donnessling just gave him a look and walked to the doors. They didn’t open easily. It looked like they hadn’t been opened in a long time, but, with the help of a few of his folk, they opened the doors enough and he went in alone.

It took Eedard a while. He was stamping mad, and kept yelling toward the doors telling Donnessling he owed him his part of the bargain, and other less pleasant things. But, he finally gave up, and knew it was the only way he’d get what he wanted.

He took some kind of a lantern out of an inside pocket of his coat and with a lot of cursing he went through the open doors.

Allalling ordered the doors closed, and the nossring did as their commander said.

Then we waited, and we waited quite a while. It was almost sunset when Donnessling finally pushed the door open and the two of them walked out.

Eedard was carrying a large burlap bag over his shoulder with something in it. I couldn’t tell what. He looked very happy, with a smile that looked like it would break his face if he smiled an ounce more. Without a glance at any of us, or back at Donnessling, he trudged off toward the northwest through a different mountain trail and quickly disappeared.

I looked back at Donnessling. He looked haggard, like some task had required every bit of strength he had. Allalling came forward and they nodded to each other. Donnessling turned to the rest of us, “It’s been a long day, and a good one, my friends. As you can see we have reached the ancient home of the Ellring, our cousins from long ago. Sadly, we will not meet them. No one can now, but we may meet other things, and so we must be careful. And, in the end, if we are fortunate, we will find a way into the Begkragk Kingdom, and will retrieve that which was taken from us.”

When he finished, Allalling ordered the company to make our way into the large hallway just inside the doors. He lit several lights along the sides of the room that revealed resplendent walls of carved wood and stone, and bright gems.

We are spending the night in this “entryway”. It feels strange to be sitting in our rough, dirty traveling clothes in such a majestic place.

I never thought I’d see anything more spectacular than what Naldrin City has to offer, but, I have to admit, that this trip north has opened my eyes.

Last thing before sleep — I’m pretty sure I saw a blink bat when we were outside of this place. In the morning I’m going to try to find it and get a message to Bobby. It’s been much too long, and now I’m more than just a little worried.

Our Solar System: Beoreem, Planet of Fire

Oma’s Near Fekxtah

The Fekxtah Planet Beoreem

The Planet Beoreem

Mean Distance from Oma: 23 WA

Orbital Period around Oma: 83 days, elliptical, on the plane

Diameter: 5,307 miles

Length of day: 141 hours

Gravity: 0.8 Ethems

Description:

Like its close cousin, Been, this planet is also very close to Oma and suffers from the same unimaginably intense heat and influx of fiery beings that Oma releases. It is different from Been in that it has no Fenninthengly dedicated to protecting it from Oma’s onslaught. This is why it is a planet of molten rock, lacking Been’s solidity.

Since Beoreem has no Fenninthengly to fight off Oma’s daemons, it has become home to many of them. It is also home to a race of beings that is unique to this Fekxtah. They are called, quite appropriately, the Beoreem, and they live deep inside the planet. There they feed from the abundance of heat spread throughout the planet and its resulting soft rock forms. The Beoreem are creatures made entirely out of the rock of the planet; however, it is rock that has been transformed into living things by Oma’s fierce fire. The scholars who wrote the ancient Elzheni texts claim that the Beoreem comprise a mixture of Physic and Body Energies. Physic Energy supplies the material substance for the being. It is the molten rock that forms its substance. Body Energy has taken that physical material and has been able to transform into whole bodies that can move with direction and purpose. They further explain that the Beoreem travel throughout their planet in a way not dissimilar to how lava travels on our world. From their homes deep inside the planet they find, or create, passageways that bring them up as far as the surface of the planet. Since the surface is so extremely hot, it is an environment that welcomes the Beoreem and can nourish and sustain them.

Reports from the ancient texts tell the tales of Elzheni who visited this Fekxtah. These travelers — to be exact, those travelers who survived the journey — tell of constantly raging battles among the Fire Daemons that came from Oma. They also speak of great battles between Oma’s escaped Fire Daemons and the Beoreem. These two species of beings vie for the rich, nutritious abundance of heated rocks that cover the surface of this Fekxtah, and often devour each other to obtain that sustenance.

The Blasterress

We will mention one other oddity that is unique to the planet Beoreem. This strangeness is called Blasterress. Unlike the Beoreem these are not living beings. They are naturally occurring phenomena that form out of the churning masses of rock and lava, often the result of the battles being fought on the surface of the planet. They can be likened to a balloon, comprising a thin covering of a light, molten rock and a large volume of gas inside it. The gasses that fill the thin rock sheath are the gasses that constantly erupt from the surface of this planet. Typically, these erupted gasses fly off into the atmosphere and even at times escape into the firmament. Sometimes, however, under just the right circumstances, the gasses erupt into a mass of this light lava and fill it like a breath fills a balloon. If the eruption is significant enough, and the molten rock is plentiful, it can form very large, incandescent orbs. The orbs are at times light enough that they will float for a while above the surface of the world and, if they are strong enough to remain stable for long enough, they may bounce from one place to another across the planet buffeted to and fro by the tremendous forces released from Beoreem.

The image of Beoreem included in this passage shows one such Blasterress as it was seen by, and captured from the mind of, an Elzhen traveler who had witnessed the event, or so the ancient texts tell us.

Fekxtah Station #5:

This Fekxtah Station on Beoreem is one of the smallest of all. The natural forces on Beoreem are simply too extreme to allow any structure to exist for long. The “station” is in fact an Energetic Avatar from our own Ethem that has been transformed into a physical object that is able to resist the violent forces of Beoreem. How an avatar could be so transformed is unclear to our current science, and there is no explanation in the ancient texts. That remains a mystery to this day. Even so, the texts tell us that this avatar, after it was transformed, was transported to Beoreem and placed somewhere on the planet that was less unstable than most other places.

A visit to Beoreem was a two-stage process. First, the avatar was “activated”, and would then transform itself into a container large enough to accommodate several Elzheni travelers. Once that expansion was complete, the travelers would transport into the interior of the avatar where they were, for a short time, protected from the ravages of Beoreem.

The texts contain many tales of the avatar folding in upon itself before the travelers were able to escape. Other tales tell of travelers who were able to exit the avatar’s body, onto the surface of Beoreem, for only a few minutes, to gather fragments of Blasterress or other interesting material. Travel to this Fekxtah Station required nothing less than great courage and significant physical strength.