Ancients of Gondarash (Completed)

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Entry 2379 (23/02/11 11:49) 06/08/09 00:00
They went along the bank, around the gentle curve of the river. The trees there reached out with thick roots that twisted through the air before plunging into the cool wetness. The sand was dirty and rough, and as Cliff discovered, quite rocky in parts. The other two headed onto grassy soil where it was more solid and wove there way around the trees and bushes. They approached some boulders but they were all quite stubby and mundane-looking. 

"Something useful," Gerit said as though having to process Cliff's question before asking. He and Larr exchanged conflicting glances. Gerit elaborated, "He's a Slayer. Rean is making use of him now. Don't worry about it. The more you think about it, the harder it is to think about. Right, Larr?"

Larr didn't respond -- not even with a look. He was looking ahead at a twisted piece of stone that rose up higher than them. Some sort of creeper was spiraling around its base, trying to reach up its smooth sides. Larr drew what looked like a spearhead out of his pouch and knelt at a smaller stone to demonstrate carving. 

"Like this," he said to Cliff. "In straight lines, like all jagged. And push it away from yourself, with your other hand between the blade and you. That way you don't cut your fingers off with it." He handed it to Cliff. "Arkatang Salarinias Belierahan," he repeated, slowly, somehow already knowing how to spell it. 

He walked around the stone, looking up and down at it. There was about a tenth of the stone towards the middle circumference that was bare. The rest was covered in hundreds of names. 

"I knew about this many," Larr said, waving his hand carefully over a fraction of the stone, perhaps a dozen names or so. He placed his hand on the surface and stared at it, lost in thought.
Entry 2380 07/08/09 00:00
With Gerit's answer, Cliff was reminded of the oath and Arka's claim that he was prepared to become a slayer.  That word stirred up distant memories from his time at the chapel.  Velisies had once told him a story about people called slayers.  The man had been sitting in his large leather chair housed within the study. Through one of the many windows, the sun shone down upon him, illuminating his silhouette and the ancient text he held within his hands.

Cliff, as he often did, flipped through the pages of a random book feigning indifference as the man spun a riveting story for him.  However based on that story, Cliff reasoned that these slayers could not be the same ones that Arka had been converted to.  Velisies' slayers were divine guardians, not children.  He wondered.  Cliff decided to take Gerit's advice and put the thought out of his mind.  The whole thing bothered him, even though he did not understand exactly why.

When the boys arrived at the stone, Cliff was astonished.  He expected a few names, maybe five or ten at most, but hundreds seemed unfathomable.  "So many," Cliff mumbled to himself.  Dazed, Cliff took the tool from Larr and delicately ran his fingers over the stone, feeling each the names engraved on it.  "They must come often," Cliff stated with a heavy sadness in his voice.  He was again worried for his friend.  Placing a palm firmly on the stone, he quietly muttered, "I really do not understand this place."

With the blade in hand, Cliff carefully made the first mark.  Although not without effort, Cliff was surprised at how easily the character took to stone.  To the boy, it seemed almost as though the stone wanted Arka's name.  He spelled out each letter of the name before setting it to stone.  After a few minutes had passed, the engraving was completed.  Cliff found the process almost therapeutic in a way.  There was something soothing about working with his hands.  With only a few minor flaws, he had successfully matched the previous carving style.  Reclaiming his walking stick, he let out a stress ridden sigh.  Cliff turned to Larr for approval.

Entry 2381 (23/02/11 11:51) 07/08/09 00:00
Larr inspected the carving briefly and nodded with a smile. 


"One for me," Monopa said, her gaze shifting up to everyone watching her. She turned the paper round for everyone to see and reached in for the next piece. "One for Larr. One for me. One for Larr."

Already a perfect tie between the two serious candidates. Larr sat beside Monopa, arranging the pieces into columns for easy counting. Some of the handwriting was a little distinct, but Larr made no effort to recognise who voted for who. 

"One for Larr. One for Tex. I wonder whose vote that is..." 

Tex gave a small jolt with joy. He was in the race, thanks to himself. 

"One for Larr. One for me. One for Larr. One for me. That's Larr at five, me at four, Tex at one." Slowly, she put her hand in the box and closed her eyes. She drew out the piece, unfolded it, and read it out. "One for me. If the next one is for Larr or me, that person wins." Without wasting time now, she drew out the last piece. "One for Larr." She let down her shoulders. "Larr wins."

"That's not fair," Jed said. "Cliff's vote got Larr through."

"You don't know that," Larr said, trying to hide his joyous smile. "He could've voted for Monopa."

"Yeah, right... You wouldn't have got that many votes! Monopa should've one!"

"Jed, it's all right," Monopa said calmly. "Larr won and that's fine with me."

"Wait," Tex said, staring at the papers. "So... nobody else voted for me?"

Everyone went quiet. Tex threw back his chair and ran out of the commons.
Entry 2382 07/08/09 00:00
Although Cliff couldn't help but shamefully blush at Jed's accusations, Monopa conceding the race to Larr lightened his spirits.  Now he and Larr could build the library as they planned.  When Tex burst from the tent, Cliff actually found himself wanting to go after him.  Cliff did feel bad for the boy, but at the same time he just wanted to be free from the village politics for the evening.  The meetings made him feel too much like an outsider. 

"Do you think he will be okay," Cliff inquired while rising to his feet.  When no one immediately replied, Cliff stated, "Larr and I should go after him... to make sure he's okay."  Cliff grabbed his walking stick with one hand and Larr's arm with the other.  After dragging Larr outside, Cliff waited until they had gotten a bit of distance away from the commons before saying anything.  Cliff realized his odd behavior probably left Larr a tad confused and perhaps even worried.

"Sorry, I know you probably needed to talk to them about stuff.  I just had to get out of there, to much, um... thinking."  They were walking towards Tex's tent, but there was a gap in the canvas opening and it was already clear he was not inside.  Changing the subject, Cliff inquired, "Where do you think he went?"
Entry 2383 29/08/09 00:00
Tex was nowhere in sight. He left no obvious footprints or any other traces. He couldn't be heard. Wherever he had gone, he went there very quickly. Larr and Cliff circled the camp a couple of times, tiptoeing everywhere for fear of surprising Tex, lest he was sitting around the corner of a tent, crying. Larr happened to look up at the last minute, gazing westward, and he saw Tex and another unfamiliar boy heading away, almost invisible amidst the maze of trees and bushes. Larr looked at Cliff and whispered with peculiar urgency. 

"Let's follow them."

They looked about to check whether anybody was watching them and then headed into the foliage in the direction Tex had gone. It may have crossed Larr's mind that he needed to tell somebody where they were going, as he had just become the leader, and to simply vanish without notice for an indefinite length of time was definitely an argument Jed would use against Larr's famous reliability. Larr, however, showed no sign of thinking about anything else but following Tex. It was almost as though the boy he was with was dangerous. They were now only heading in a general direcion, and could not see anybody else. 

"Are you good, brother?" A boy was standing to their left, nearest Cliff. He was looking from one to the other with eyes keen as an eagle's. "Hard in the ear, are ya?"

He wore a rough brown-orange jacket and had a great number of makeshift belts and straps wrapped around him, all of them seeming to carry some item of significance. The most offensive visible item in his possession was an old dagger set in his left hand. He pointed it at Cliff and nodded towards him. 

"This boy, then? Larr? You know his name? Your tongue bit?" He stared at Larr for a moment, who didn't respond, and then he shook his head. "What's your name now, brother?" he asked Cliff.
Entry 2384 30/08/09 00:00
Surprised by the knife wielding boy, Cliff turned and stepped backwards almost colliding with Larr.  The unknown boy had dark eyes with brown hair and he stood to be about their height.  Despite Cliff's alarm, he quickly noticed that although this boy didn't live in the village, Larr already knew who he was.  It was the terms of the relationship that he couldn't immediately detect.  With the immediate rush of the ambush having passed, Cliff stepped away from Larr returning him his personal space.

Looking between the two boys, Cliff tried to judge the situation based on his friend's expression.  In an attempt to seem unphased by the sudden encounter, he casually tugged on the cuff of his shirt as though to shake off dirt.  Nonchalantly, Cliff replied, "My name is Cliff Rammes."  He spoke his name with an air of importance, as though the boy should have already known.  Shifting onto his good foot, Cliff added a tilt to his posture by leaning on his walking stick. "And who might you be?"
Entry 2385 30/08/09 00:00
"Name's Selari," the boy replied. His eyes darted to his left and then back again. "But you can call me Selari. Tex tells yous are being horrid again. I'm inclined to believe and agree. You won't find him and I shant tell you where he went and hidden."

He jumped down from the rock he was standing on and walked in front of them, blocking their path. He looked from Cliff to Larr and back again several times, and then a grin broke onto his dirty face. He held up the blade and pointed it at Cliff. Larr flinched and gripped his walking stick as though contemplating its effectiveness as a club. 

"You right know you can't 'urt me, Larry," Selari said, not taking his eyes off Cliff. "So you shant even try, ya hear me good son? You shant even try."

"We just... want to find Tex," Larr said, clearly nervous. "We just want to talk to him. What happened in the camp was really an accident. Nobody was trying to hurt him."

"Try or not, is what you did anyway, think that makes it good then? I don't. Don't be stupid, brother. How could you think such a thing? Gimme one good reason I should let you talk to Tex now then, aye? One good reason, if you would." He tilted back his head slightly and shifted his foot, still pointing the knife at Cliff which was less than an arm's length from the boy's face.
Entry 2386 30/08/09 00:00
"If he does not want to talk to us then I guess there is nothing more we can do.  We only came out here to apologize."  Cliff shrugged and turned his back to Selari.  "Let us go back to camp Larr.  I do not want to converse with someone who speaks with the edge of a knife."  He started to walk back towards camp attempting to hide the gimp in his step.  "Tex can come back when he is ready," there was a confident tone in Cliff's voice, despite his concern that he was about to get stabbed in the back.  He listened, hoping for the sound of Larr's footsteps behind him.
Entry 2387 31/08/09 00:00
"Hoy! You!" There was a shuffle and then a tickling sensation on Cliff's back, as though a twig from a branch was just touching it. "Don't turn your back to me, brother. It's terribly rude, aye? We was talking, face to face, so you don't go turnin' round and leaving me with naught but your bum to talk to."

There was an awkward pause as though, unlikely as it seemed, Selari was lost for words. The birds sang and the trees whispered in the breeze blowing above them. Something small and quick rustled in the bushes nearby. 

"Selari!" Larr suddenly cried, smashing the silence into tiny pieces. 

"I didn't touch him!" Selari yelled back. "I swear it! Look, my knife is clean!" 

"Cliff, your back is bleeding again," Larr said, grabbing Cliff's shoulder to examine his face for signs of pain. 

"I didn't! I didn't!" Selari kept saying, now afraid.
Entry 2388 02/09/09 00:00
The other boy's voices became muffled to Cliff. It was as though he had been submersed in simmering water. With eyes squeezed tightly shut, he tried to scream, but instead found himself gasping for air. The brief pain that he experienced the previous night paled in comparison to the sharp pains now running down his back. It felt as though he was being slowly crushed. The boy didn't feel his friend spin him around, but he did sense the disorienting feeling of falling sideways to the ground. Even through his closed lids he could feel the sunlight leaving him.

The impact with the ground was disorienting, for it felt as though he landed into a pile of feathers. When he was turned over onto his back, the pain subdued to a dull throbbing ache that ran throughout his entire body. When he tried to move, his body refused to respond with anything but a weak shake. It was as though the event had robbed him of all his energy. Slowly, the light around him seemed to grow warm. Opening his eyes slightly the world around him appeared as a familiar blur. The muffled creaks and cracks of an old building brought back soothing memories to his mind.

The sun shown down on him through a small window near the roof. The room smelled of old books and it had a warmth to it that Cliff could identify with no other place than this. Although he didn't understand how, he was definitely in the Chapel. "Have I come back," Cliff thought to himself. Still unable to move, he lazily scanned his peripheral. To his side, in a large burgundy chair, sat a blurry figure who seemed to be asleep. Although he couldn't make out the man's features, the boy was convinced it was Velisies. Along all the walls were shelves lined from floor to ceiling with books.

Cliff tried to call out to him but only managed a weak whimper. He tried again, this time throwing all his energy into trying to sit up, but again the attempt was futile. Although he couldn't see, there was a soft sound of feet shuffling at the door. A voice called out causing Velisies to jerk up. Although Cliff tried, he couldn't understand the words. The world around him had been muffled to a whisper. In a rush, Velisies moved to Cliff's side. As though fate was trying to rob him of understanding, the boy found himself without energy. He tried to remain awake, and understand the man's words. In a last effortful struggle Cliff focused on the man's eyes so intently.  He heard the words, "Do not be afraid, child." His lids fell and his world returned to darkness.

The soft touch of a breeze blowing across his cheek stirred him from what felt like a restful slumber. The pain had left him and the boy stretched out with a groan. Still groggy, Cliff rubbed his eyes and questioned the air, "Was I dreaming?"
Entry 2389 02/09/09 00:00
Most notable was the coldness of where they were. The sun didn't reach them though there was enough light to see. They were in a large groove in the ground which sloped gently down at one end. Logs and branches crossed over the top and some thick bushes blocked the entrance, so that, were one a mere passerby, the hideout would go completely unnoticed. Larr was kneeling over Cliff and Tex was seated nearby, frowning. Selari was grinding something with a mortar and pestle but he looked across when Cliff spoke. 

"Easy. Rest," Larr instructed, gently pushing Cliff back down. "Selari is making you something to help with the pain. You... you bled again."

There was a short silence and then Selari shuffled across and offered Cliff some dark green paste of some kind. "Be chompin' this aye. What did ya dream about then, brother?"
Entry 2390 03/09/09 00:00
Cliff looked down at the paste uneasily. The last thing he could remember was Selary holding a knife to his back. "No, I am alright," Cliff insisted, but when he tried to sit up, he felt another sharp twinge that sent him back down. The pain wasn't actually that bad this time. It was definitely not as devastating as before, but he still grimaced anyways in anticipation of another episode. When the pain faded once more, he found the gesture to be an overreaction and slowly started to relax again.

This time, Cliff took some of the green paste and began to chew slowly.  He looked over to Larr with uncertainty and stated, "I was back home, at the chapel I mean. At first, I thought I was really there and that this was the dream. " The boy let out a nervous chuckle. "I was in Velisies bed, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not move or say anything." He paused, allowing Selary to put some more paste into his mouth. "It was strange... so very real, but dreams are like that sometimes, I suppose. Anyways, it is not important. It was just a dream."

The medicine seemed to be working, or at least it was functioning well as a placebo. Cliff unsuccessfully tried to feel under his back. "Did I have marks this time?" Before he allowed Larr to answer, his gaze quickly shifted to Tex and then back to Selary. Remembering the day's earlier events, he inquired, "Wait, who are you exactly?"
Entry 2391 (23/02/11 11:59) 03/09/09 00:00
They all seemed relieved that Cliff was now so coherent and conscious, and they all listened carefully to his recollection of the dream. When he concluded with a small wave of questions, Larr and Selari both tried to answer at the same time, but their words were tangled and they gave one another fierce looks. 

"Exactly?" Selari repeated, his voice easily more powerful than Larr's. "Who be I, vaguely? Or remotely? Or any less accurate? I could be a lil big one for all ye know."
"But he's not," Larr said. "He was one of us, but now he's..."
"I still am," Selari said, frowning. 
"I didn't mean like that."
"Then how? I aint different 'cept in that I don't live in a herd. How's that makin' me not liken you anymores?"
Larr sighed loudly. "You can probably see why he doesn't live with us."

Selari smacked Larr over the head, and quite hard, too, as the boy almost toppled onto Cliff but he quickly saved himself. Tex had slid to the very back of the hideout, his legs splayed out carelessly. He had begun reading a tattered book. Along the spine, its title could be discerned, 'The Life of Adwa'. 

"Your dream seems weird," Larr mused. "But don't worry; it seems like one of those things that just doesn't make sense, to me..."
Entry 2392 09/09/09 00:00
"Hey!" Cliff cried at the assault on his friend.  Despite still being somewhat puzzled by the exchange, he stared at Selari coldly.  Although Selari seemed to be feigning indifference towards them, Cliff reasoned that it wouldn't take much to set him off again, and in his current condition, he had no desire to do that.  Thinking for a moment, he turned to Tex who still wore a deeply engraved frown.

Determined to try to get up again, Cliff slowly propped himself up with his elbows. The pain in his body seemed to have subsided for now. When he stubbornly tried to stand, Larr came to his side offering assistance.  "I feel like I am falling apart," Cliff complained.  With a grunt, they stood him upright, which caused his back to let out another unnerving crack. Although there was no pain, the two exchanged uneasy glances.

Cliff hobbled over to Tex's side. Nearly forgetting about his injured foot, he stumbled gracelessly over an exposed root.  Once his balance was regained, he placed a hand on Tex's shoulder and empathetically said, "You know, we came out here to check on you. No one was trying to hurt your feelings. It is not that we do not like you, right Larr?" Larr gave they boy a nod, "You are just too young to lead." Selari looked up. For a moment, he and Larr seemed to have an unspoken conversation.
Entry 2393 11/09/09 00:00
Tex spent a moment considering Cliff's words. He was staring intently at his book and Larr didn't add any comments. 

"I lost my place now," Tex murmured into the pages. "Thanks."

Selari got up into a half-crouch, peering skyward and with the knife suddenly in his hand. Larr went to speak but was silenced by Selari holding up his hand. Larr obliged. Then they could all hear a noise outside. It sounded as though there was somebody walking noisily nearby, dragging through plants and kicking leaves as though wanting to be heard. Then they stopped and there was only quietness. Even the birds stopped. 

"Cliff," said a familiar voice. "I know you're here somewhere."

Selari shot Cliff with a glare and shook his head slowly. Larr looked worriedly around but there was no time for silent conversation. 

"If you're not out here by the time I count to ten, I'll pretend they didn't ask me to bring you peacefully," the voice added, and it began to countdown.
Entry 2394 12/09/09 00:00
Cliff let out a surprised gasp and spun towards the voice. Wearing a perplexed expression on his face, he turned back to Larr as though seeking direction. With the start of the countdown, Cliff only took a moment to try to peer through the thick foliage covering the roof. The boy released a heavy sigh and accepted there was little choice in the matter.

Motioning the others to stay where they were for the time being, the blond child turned and started making his way out of the hideout. After grabbing his walking stick, he pushed the foliage blocking the entrance out of the way. He half-heartedly moved some of the branches back to obscure the hideouts contents, while still leaving enough room for the others to rush out if need be.

He stepped out from under the cover and announced, "I am here." When the boy didn't immediately seeing anyone, he asked with an edge of annoyance in his voice, "What do you want?" When he spotted the giant, he again had to resist the urge to turn and run. There was something about them that terrified him, although he wasn't certain what exactly. He tried to say something, but found himself with a lack of words. He instead stood there with his mouth half open.
Entry 2395 16/09/09 00:00
There was only children for such a long time that it was completely understandable how anyone taller could be deemed a giant. The one that stood near Cliff was a massive man, twice the boy's height, with arms and hands like a gorilla. He wore a large hood pulled over his head and covering all but his grizzly mouth and wiry beard. He stood silently and stared ahead. There was a peculiar long weapon attached to his back, which was almost three times as tall as Cliff. 

"You are to come with me at once to Gianthands where you will be questioned and judged," the man said, his voice hissing like leaves and groaning like old trees. "Any form of retaliation or attempt to escape will be viewed as criminal and you will be punished for your cowardice and ridiculous behaviour. Should you wish not to undergo walking the distance, you will be made unconscious and carried. If you cooperate, no foreseeable harm will come to you."

By now, Selari and Larr were outside, moving near to Cliff to back him up, but the giant didn't seem to care or even acknowledge they were there. 

"Do you understand? Choose now."
Entry 2396 16/09/09 00:00
Cliff looked to the other boys and then back to the giant.  Although he was confident in Larr's abilities and overall intimidated by Selari, he doubted either boy could do anything to help him now.  He scanned the perimeter for any other guests.  Seeing no one else, he didn't reason that it was the giants style to lie in wait.  He briefly considered making a run for it but that fantasy was slashed when remembered his foot.  He might have had a chance to escape in a normal circumstance, but this man could most certainly catch him in his current state.  

With a sigh, Cliff resigned, "Alright. It doesn't look like I have much choice.  I cannot walk very well however."

Pausing to consider what little options he had, he tugged his clothes to straighten them from their wrinkled slumber.  He wasn't quite sure how long he had slept after the dream, and the trees did an adequate job of obscuring the sun.

"Can one of them come with us?"
Entry 2397 16/09/09 00:00
"Certainly not," the giant replied. "If you cannot walk, you will sleep."

He stopped and at first nothing happened. Larr went to Cliff's side to ask what that meant, but Cliff's eyes were closed. A heavy slumber was overtaking the boy's body faster than any of them could comprehend. As Cliff fell forward, the giant was suddenly there to pick him up and place him over his shoulder. 


The sound of people talking echoed loudly. The floor was stone, the walls were stone, and the ceiling was too high and dark to see. There was a low window to one side where sunlight beamed into the small round room. Cliff was leaning against a crate, seated on the floor. A man in white was standing in front of a door. When he saw that Cliff was awakening, he left the room and returned with a woman. She stood in the middle of the room and addressed Cliff. 

"Do you realise what is happening?"
Latest Post Entry 2398 16/09/09 00:00
Cliff tried to stand up, but in his disorientation, slumped quickly back down. Whatever magic was used on him left him groggy. "I am tired of sleeping," he mumbled.  Slowly he parsed the woman's question and tried to find an answer.  He laughed a soft chuckle while standing up a second time.  Bracing against the crate, the boy managed to stay upright despite a wobble in his knees.

"Nothing makes sense here. I do not know why anything is happening. Are you going to throw me out?" His head was hung down, not meeting the eyes of the woman.
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