Fallen Dreams Chapter 1
By Nassaire Blue
It is estimated that in circa sixty-five million BC, humanity embarked on its quest to gain immortal power. As legend goes, a strange, burning beast from outer space crashed into the planet called Terra. The beast was so immense that its impact with the world caused a significant increase in volcanic activity. This, in turn, clouded the sky with soot and blocked out most of the suns light. Since no warmth reached the surface, temperatures plummeted and all of the cold-blooded creatures that once dominated Terra became extinct.
Ever since humans had evolved from apes, they had been suppressed by the intellectually superior race of mammal-like reptiles, called Reptites. This burning beast was thus a glorious blessing bestowed upon humanity. Because the burning beast crashed right into their palace, most of the Reptites died during the collision. The remaining were left to freeze in the changing climate. This allowed humans to come to power over the ruined the world. And it was under one powerful village leader that this great movement began.
Ayla was the influential chief of the village of Ioka. She started, fought, and won two wars with the Reptites. Having thus earned great respect for her intelligence, Ayla was able to convince the only other human tribe, the skittish Laruba, that the Reptites had been totally destroyed by the beast and that it was safe to start walking Terra without fear of attack. The Larubans were still set in their old ways though; they habitually glanced over their shoulders and never walked the land without company of several others.
Since Reptites had almost completely burned the Laruban forest to ashes, most Larubans made residence in Ioka. The chief, however, became scared as snow began to fall. Since no snow had ever appeared on Terra before, the chief of Laruba assumed that it was dead Reptites souls bent on engulfing the planet. He believed that the snow would swallow those who harmed Reptites. Fearing for his life, the chief quickly gathered his people and returned to their forests remains.
Ayla was upset at her failure of linking the two villages, but new troubles kept her distracted. As the months passed and the temperature reached new lows, many of the mammals that roamed Terra went into hibernation. Food was thus becoming scarce and the Iokans turned to their leader.
As if on queue, the weather took a turn for the better. When Ayla ventured out to begin a week long hunting trip, the clouds parted and many animals woke up to enjoy the rare sunshine. After merely two days of hunting, Ayla brought back enough food to feed Ioka AND Laruba for four or five months. But Ayla was not satisfied. She decided to venture out for one more day of hunting.
The third day of hunting was perhaps the strangest. As Ayla passed by the site of the beast crash, chasing a rare Schist Beast, she stumbled upon a small bed of jagged, red rocks. She pulled one of the rocks free and clenched it in her hand. As she gazed at the rock in a hypnotic-like trance, she began feeling powerful, giddy, and strong. Ayla liked that feeling so she gathered every pebble in the bed and quickly returned to her village to share her discovery.
Upon Aylas return, the whole village of Ioka had assembled in the meeting hut. They asked Ayla what sort of game she had brought with her. After she replied that there was no game, she described how the magic stones she found had sidetracked her. She added that holding the rock made her feel special. The Iokans were excited about these new talismans and Ayla gave one stone to each villager.
After the exciting day had expired, an exciting night began. While deep in slumber, the people of Ioka experienced something they never had before, a dream. Although their bodies lay dormant upon fur mats, the Iokans felt as if they were awake. Happy images of friends and family filled their minds. They danced, sang songs, ate good food, and enjoyed themselves. As the torpid hours of the night lagged on, the sleeping Iokans revisited fun happenings from youth in their heads. When morning light reached the settlement though, the dreams disappeared.
The Iokans yawned, wiping remnants of sleep from their eyes. They marveled at the fact that sleep could bring such pretty pictures to the head. Wanting to share their amazing experiences with the other Iokans, everyone crowded into the meeting hut. Once gathered around a morning fire, they gaily jabbered at each other in their primitive tongue, sharing their cheerful dreams with one another. Ayla was beaming with happiness and pride as she watched the people of her village bond and form friendships.
A delicious meal of eggs and Kilwala meat was served. During the meal, Ayla gained everyones attention and began making an announcement to her people. Ayla exclaimed that the rocks, which she now fairly dubbed, Dreamstones, had inspired the dreams they had all experienced. Dreams came with a purpose, too. They were a blessing, a form of compensation for controlling the Reptites. Ayla then lowered her eyebrows and glared in the direction of the Laruba Forest. She stated that since the Larubans hid during the Reptite attacks, they did not deserve to posses Dreamstones and experience dreams. They did not deserve the feelings of pleasure and power the Dreamstones had to offer. They deserved to be punished for their cowardice. Punished by serving the strong.
A silence first fell upon the bunch, followed by increasing murmur. Ayla leaned against a tree as she awaited Iokas response. Suddenly, three men in the crowd jumped to their feet and howled. Ayla smiled, as this was a prehistoric form of ovation. Others followed by standing and howling. Ayla herself stood tall and let out a mighty howl, ensued by the rest of Ioka.
A dead quell overcame Laruba as they listened to Iokas howl. They sensed some twisted event would soon occur. Sure enough, the night after Aylas speech, Ioka raided the Laruban forest. Carrying torches and spiked, wooden clubs, the Iokan warriors offered the Larubans slavery or death. The cowardly Laruban chief decided it was futile to fight so he simply submitted his people to Iokan control. Ioka proudly dragged their new slaves to a prison-like hut called Algetty.
Years passed and the Iokans, renamed who renamed themselves as the Aylans, discovered that when a Dreamstone is in constant contact with the body, it allows the wearer to draw energy from it. This made the wearer stronger, more enduring, and more powerful. Carrying Dreamstones in a pocket all day was quite annoying, so many Aylans strung leather stands through their Dreamstones and wore them around their necks. Soon it became fashionable to wear these amulets. And aside from being the first trend, these amulets allowed the Aylans the ability to exert complete control over the rebellious Larubans.
The powerful Aylan community was growing tremendous. But as more babies were being born, more problems began to arise. Even though amulets required very little Dreamstone, the growing demand for them severely drained the small supply that Ayla had provided. Another problem was the constant use of amulets. While a great source of energy in their prime, Dreamstones had very short lives, and eventually lost their effect. This also depleted the dwindling supply of Dreamstone.
The situation nearly caused the Aylan leader to panic. He worried that the next generation of Aylans, if without Dreamstones, would be powerless and weak to Laruban revolt. Then a simple cure to this mess came to him. More Dreamstones must be found at all costs. This, of course, meant at all costs to the Larubans.
Motivation inspiring his best ideas, the Aylan leader divided the male population of Laruba into two different working sects: the Surface Team, who would scour Terra from Ocean to Ocean, and the Sub-surface Team, who would try to locate any underground locations of Dreamstone. These teams, of course, would always be under the careful supervision of three Aylan supervisors. The supervisors, instructed that not a grain of Dreamstone was to fall into Laruban possession, hurriedly gathered their crews and left Ayla in search for power.
The Surface Team scouted every corner of the continent searching for any sign of Dreamstone. Many Larubans became sick midway and died. Morale was exhausted and many just committed suicide. What few still living of the Surface Team returned empty-handed. The Aylan leader was disappointed that after a five-month trek spanning the entire continent, no Dreamstone could be found.
The Sub-surface Team met with instantaneous results, unlike their counter-crew. In the five-month absence of the others, the Sub-surface team managed to recover a total of nearly three hundred and fifty pounds of Dreamstones. The Aylan leader was extremely pleased. His community was now secure, immune to revolt.
Time passed and the city of Ayla grew into the kingdom of Iver. This society had amazingly gone from uncivilized cavemen to civilized monarchy in the short matter of four or five centuries. Even though this progress was miraculous, it seemed like there was some force encouraging this evolution. New language, new form of writing, art: all of these things just showed up. It was like they drifted into existence by some unknown means. Still, the feat was and is unmatched by any other human society.
Iver soon began expanding its territory. But, again, the need for Dreamstones grew. So, Iver followed the patterns of Ayla and forced Laruba to return to labor, even though the Larubans had regained many of their rights. The king of Iver saw this strategy as ingenious. The new mining of Dreamstones would benefit the kingdom by thinning out the Laruban population, which had been rivaling Iver in size, and by allowing the next generation of Iverians to enjoy dreams and power, much as they had. Little did the king realize, though, that the area he chose to mine was directly below the huge snow-filled crater where the long forgotten beast had crashed.
The Larubans did not resist working on this new project. But few felt the urge to. Since the kingdom of Iver had evolved, the Iverians treated the Larubans with a tad of respect and some had even forged inter-class friendships. The Larubans were healthier, too. While the snowclouds rarely parted, Iver farmers developed indoor gardens and shared their crops with the Larubans. Iver also converted Algetty into a large underground establishment as a gift for decades of honest servitude. It was damp, but it kept out the harsh drafts and freezing temperatures.
The first day of the mining operation commenced. It only took a few days of digging to find a large cavern filled with tiny Dreamstones. The king was so overjoyed that he allowed the Larubans a week of rest. When they returned to the mines, they worked as hard as they could and produced a thirty-five-pound boulder of Dreamstone. It was brought to the king and he granted the Larubans another week of rest. Once the king placed his hand on the boulder, though, he felt extreme power. As the energy surged through his veins, he realized this Dreamstone was stronger and more pure than any of the Dreamstones already employed. Lusting for more, he revoked the vacation and the Larubans returned to the caves.
Weeks of mining ensued. The deeper they dug, the more Dreamstones they found. And the kings desire to find more powerful Dreamstones grew. One day, as he personally visited the mines, he tripped over a bump in the pathway and discovered that it was the tip of a massive Dreamstone. Sure enough, as the object was excavated and the dust and dirt cleared, a stone bigger than any other was revealed. As it was hauled out into the public square, all of the other Dreamstones in Iver began flashing. The king was awed at his uncovering of the first solid-ton boulder of Dreamstone. It filled the whole kingdom with warmth and light. Surely this Dreamstone would supply twenty generations with enough power to rule the world. The king and all of Iver could now rest.
Thirty years had passed when a group of children mysteriously vanished in the abandoned Dreamstone mines. When the public started demanding answers, the king sent a party to investigate. It wasnt too long before the party discovered a large hole in the mine floor. Some recognized it as the hole from which they mined the largest Dreamstone. They decided to investigate further. As the search party climbed down into the hole, they found some strange passageway filled with raw Dreamstone energy. It gave off a dim blue light and felt like a cool breeze on the partys sweaty bodies. They followed the misty energy until they came to a cramped cavern containing a very large object. It was warm, and was definitely not a rock. From the faint light cast by the energy, they could tell it was spiny and had some sort of opening on the other side of it. Curious to find out what this thing was, the party walked around the object to the opening.
That was when this oddity started reacting. The opening stirred as what looked like an eye, slowly, almost wearily, opened. The party was then convinced the article was some sort of beast. It then let out a horrible scream. Everyone clamped their hands over their ears. The screech subsided and the beasts eye started to swirl around, dropping a pile of slivery powder onto the ground. The eye stopped swirling and a small sphere of silver gel was puffed out of the eye. The ball sloppily bounced on the silver dust and made a clunking sound as it wobbled along the ground. The beast screamed again and everyone scrambled to cover their ears.
Once the second scream was finished, one of the party members captured the soft ball and examined it closely. The beasts eye closed and the party exchanged confused glances. They shrugged and proceeded to exit the cave. The king was going to be quite disappointed that no trace of the children was found.
The party returned late in the night and surprisingly found a large crowd at the castle. They cleaned themselves up and presented themselves to the king and his audience, who were anxiously awaiting news of the lost children. When they were asked to reveal their findings, they produced the jelly ball. The king held his chin as the ball quivered. The party handed the sphere to the king and departed from the throne room. The crowd then dismantled with unhappy expressions on their faces and some with tears.
The king became angered and threw the little ball with all his might. The ball bounced out of the throne room and into the main annex, breaking the display case of the giant Dreamstone. The king gathered himself up from his seat and walked sluggishly to the dark annex, sighing on the way. He found the mangled display case and activated the light inside of it. The light poured onto the red boulder revealing silver goo dripping from the top of the Dreamstone.
The king was aggravated to see the tiny shards of glass upsetting the display so he bent down and began scooping them into a pile. Unbeknownst to him, the goo was absorbing into the Dreamstone. When the glass was cleared, the Dreamstone turned dark and pale. The king yelped as it made a dry crackling sound and turned completely black. Suddenly a line of blue light formed around the equator of the stone. Glittery light then exploded from the Dreamstone. It spread out from the castle into the farthest reaches of Iver, permeating everything.
Once the light thinned and faded into the night, its effects could be seen. There was absolutely no sound, no movement, no life. Everyone and everything that had come in contact with the light was frozen in place. The dead wake enveloped the entire kingdom of Iver. And since no person lived outside Iver, all of humanity was frozen. The Dreamstone returned to its original color and silver gel leaked from the bottom, forming a pool around the stone. A gentle breeze sang outside and the gentle falling of snowflakes now stirred the still, hushed scene.
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