Frozen Waste I



  • What if the Seldane were Evil?...

    Leaping Fire, Flowing Water, Blowing Wind, but Earth alone is Solid.
    Refreshing Water, Cooling Wind, Receptive Earth, but Fire alone is Heat.
    Drying Wind, Absorptive Earth, Steaming Fire, but Water alone is Wetness.
    Unmoving Earth, Fuel-bound Fire, Bed-bound Water, but Wind alone is Free.
    Bones of Earth, Flesh on Fire, Blood is Water, Breath a Wind. That is Man.
    Upset the balance, and we sicken. Destroy the balance, and -we die.
    Restore the Balance, and Life Returns!

            • # Prologue # # * * * * *

    *** ALLEGED POLICE REPORT ***
    Yesterday, at approximately 10AM, an allegedy violent man allegedly attacked the alleged Mrs. _____ in the alleged beachhouse that she was allegedly staying at. The alleged woman was allegedly putting her alleged infant down for a nap at the alleged time. After allegedly threatening the alleged Mrs. _____ with an alleged machete, the alleged attacker allegedly grabbed the alleged infant out of the alleged mothers hands, and allegedly leaped off of the alleged balcony of the alleged beachhouse, he allegedly left behind a note which allegedly reads: "Thu baLens must bee deestroyd! OL posibL hindurantsez must bee dispoezd uv."

    The alleged investigators allegedly found the alleged body of the alleged kidnapper, but were allegedly unable to find either the alleged infant or the alleged machete. What they Allegedly did find was an allegedly copious quantity of alleged saltwater allegedly far above the alleged maximum hight of the alleged high tide. Furthermore this allegedly copious quantity of alleged saltwater was allegedly in too localized an alleged place to be allegedly "reasonably accounted for"

    Alleged Conclusion: Obviously the result of a giant hallucinogenic tsunami.
    Alleged P.S. If those alleged beat cops don't dispose of that allegedly tentacle waving kraken outside my alleged window soon, I will replace them.

      • THE ARRIVAL OF JEHEZEKEL * *
        Pelops sat by the seaside musing. < The life of a flax farmer is hard. Even in a good year. > He glanced over the stale briny sea, once so clear and alive, < Cythera is changing. The land won't hold water. The sea is dying, turning into a vast mineral flat. > He broke a deep green crystal off a stone beside him, < Coral's thriving, like it's trying to speed the loss of our beaches. > Pelops sighed, < At least the polyps didn't try eating our picnic for us earlier, but I missed 'em somehow. > Pelops chortled, < I remember last year, how on our post-harvest vacation Asteropaeus didn't get any lunch, he was so busy trying to chase those stubborn Polyps away. But never again. > A tear trickled down his face, < Not since that ruffian attack right after planting, > another tear rolled down his cheek, < I would have needed Asteropaeus' help with harvest, except the sparse flax growing on his grave in Catamarca was more than the field could muster. > He wept for a time, mourning his dead son. Then he headed back to the cabin that Glaucus had loaned him for the week. < Where there's a wife, there's hope, > he reflected as he approached the cabin and saw Alcmena skinning a lizard for supper.

    Pelops woke the next morning to the sound of wet tentacles flapping against the door. He gathered the leftover bones from last nights dinner, and opened the door, "Here," he grumbled, randomly throwing the bones out, "you should have been here for lunch yest-- ALCMENA! This is more your department than mine."

    Alcmena rose grogily, grumbling about something on her way to the door. There, before her very own eyes, she saw a cadre of five Polyps arrayed before the doorway, and the middle one was cradling a baby in its tentacles. She lifted him gently into her arms, and carried him into the cabin. Pelops stayed outside for a few minutes, waiting for he knew not what. Then he heard a voice, like a wind in the flax, "His name is to be Jehezekel. Train him in wisdom." He went inside.

            • # Chron Part One: THE BOYHOOD OF JEHEZEKEL # # * * * * *

      • THE RAISING OF JEHEZEKEL * *
        Years passed, Pelops now dealt in hide more than linen, but flax was in his blood, and he refused to give up on growing it. He still took his family to Glaucus' seaside cabin after every harvest, but now the shore was a mile away across a field of green crystals, icy to the touch. Jehezekel became concerned, for Pelops had taught him that hot and cold weather, moist and dry weather must come in their turn, or Cythera would be plunged into chaos.

    Jehezekel started studying the expanse of icy green crystals to the best of his ability. He learned that if he touched one of the crystals, it stuck to his hand unless he was wearing dry mittens. He also found that the ocean beyond the green plain was slowly changing into a vast sheet of ice. Sometimes, when he was standing near the edge of the ice, Polyps would come up out of the water, and throw shells at him. When he asked his father about them, Pelops told him that at one time such things could be found on the beach near Glaucus' cabin.

    That fall, Pelops went to the forests in the foothills, and brought home a large stockpile of logs to keep the house warm all winter. Then an official mandate came that wood should not be burned, but rather, special heat crystals must be used. One crystal was given to each household, beyond that the prices were quite steep. "Dead-Fire", Jehezekel called them, and wished he knew how to make a real fire without matches. It seemed to him that Earth, was trying to displace Fire now that it had a stranglehold on the sea.

    That winter the well froze, but there was so much snow that it didn't seem to matter. Glaucus moved in, because wolflizard attacks were increasing, and he had grown too old to fight them off alone. Spring never came that year, nor did Summer; the wind could not chase the leaden cloud cover away. Fall came -kind of-, The snow on the trees turned pink. Golems randomly attacked travelers, and giant golems, -Trolls-, appeared and none could stop them.

    It was late Autumn, and Jehezekel was sitting on his bed, under a wool blanket, trying to keep warm, and staring at a bucketful of water; suddenly the water started to glow purple and seemed to move. Jehezekel got up quickly and looked into the bucket, he saw the shadowy form of a hand reaching in, and then the hand pulled out, and he saw a shadowy piece of paper at the bottom; he quickly grabbed his slate and started chalking the message. He was only about a third done when the ink grew too diffused to be readable, but at that point the hand reached back in and replaced the paper. He managed to finish the note this time, and then reached into the bucket and wrote "done" on the bottom. Then the paper was removed again, and replaced with a sheet that said: "Good Luck." The glow faded, and he smudged out his chalk mark.

    Once his note duplicating was done, Jehezekel stopped to actually understand what he had written, it said: "The Balance of Cythera is upset, Earth usurps the rightful places of the other elements. The sea has turned to stone, fire has been replaced in our homes by heating crystals, the wind is buffeted and directed by machines. The mages are no help, they have all turned to statues, barring two, I fight the transformation, every hour of the day. Rescue us, rescue Cythera. It is rumored in ancient legend that artifacts once existed that held the power to Balance all things, Timon searches, and has sacrificed much power to maintain his freedom, help him. -Tavara"

    That night at supper, Jehezekel inquired, "Who is Timon?"

    His parents stared silently, obviously shocked that their son knew of Timon, but Glaucus replied, "He's a half-cocked young adventurer who fancies he's an archeologist, that's who Timon is." Then he continued wistfully, "But he's a real comfort to have near during hard times. I hear he's staying in Catamarca these days."

    Jehezekel's parents continued staring for several minutes; then Pelops spoke, slow and timid at first, but strengthening as he continued, "He's also a mage, and who knows what he might try to do next? But rumor has it that he knows all the coming of age ceremonies. You are almost a man, Jehezekel, you know the full Chant of Balance, but you must complete the coming of age ceremony before you are recognized as a man. I could guide you through my ceremony, but I know that you are not destined to flax farming. I know not how you came to know of Timon, but he would be able to guide you through your coming of age ceremony." Glaucus nodded his agreement as Pelops continued, "Alcmena did not grant you permission to journey to Catamarca with her best cleaver. We will say no more."

    Jehezekel rose from the table, dressed for the journey, and took his mother's best cleaver in silence. The only thing he heard before the door slammed behind him was Glaucus shouting, "Good Luck!"

      • THE FIRST QUEST OF JEHEZEKEL * *
        All that night Jehezekel journeyed, the wind whipping a wall of snow around him so he could barely see, but in the pale darkness of mid-morning he arrived at the city gates of Catamarca.

    Jehezekel's first stop was the cemetery, to honor Asteropaeus. He left a small bundle of flax on the grave, and walked slowly back out of the cemetery. He stopped at the tavern and ordered a flat-bread. As he was eating it he tactfully asked if Timon was around. The bartender looked him over closely, and then made up his mind and gave Jehezekel directions to one of the houses in town.

    No one answered the door of the house, so Jehezekel wandered around town for a while, waiting for Timon to return. He soon saw that he had wandered toward the old coast of the town, and wondered if the green minerals were here too. He hastened down, and around a short bluff by the "shore". There were minerals here, but they were not green, they were blues and reds and purples, but still icy cold.

    "Ho, Boy! I could use your help over here." Thus called a man standing by the bluff. Jehezekel turned and looked at him, then started walking away. "Wait!" The man called out, "I mean you no harm! My name is Timon."

    Jehezekel turned back, "'A half-cocked young adventurer who fancies he's an archeologist?'"

    "And you must be Pelops' foster son Jehezekel. Glaucus told you that didn't he? Well, tell that old rascal that if he doesn't apologize before I see him again, I'll have to take his Vineyard like I promised."

    "Too late." Jehezekel replied soberly, "Wolflizards took it already, Glaucus is staying with us." Then he continued, "He mentioned that you were staying around here, and Dad said that you could guide me through the coming of age ceremony."

    "Well, well, and which did you want your patron Element to be? Earth, Water, Wind, or Fire?"

    "All of them, I seek for balance."

    "We'll see, I will guide you through the proper ceremony if you follow my pet ratlizard here through this hole, and bring back what you find inside. Deal?"

    Jehezekel paused a moment, leary of what might be inside, but he remembered Timon's words, "I mean you no harm," and his mother's cleaver, and replied, "Deal."

    The hole went in for about three feet before it widened out into a large tunnel. Jehezekel followed the ratlizard down the tunnel and into a chamber. A dim red glow illuminated several Polyps frozen solid beside a frozen spring. He searched for the source of the glow, and saw a glowing orb stuck into the wall. The ratlizard seemed to be trying to reach it, so he reached up and pried it out of the cavern wall with his mother's cleaver. It fell to the ground, and he picked it up. He could feel the heat emanating from it through his mitten, and started switching it between his hands. The ratlizard scurried off again, and Jehezekel followed it until it stopped at a side tunnel. He looked down the tunnel, holding up the orb to see better, and spotted a ladder. He was just about to see where the ladder led to, when it started creaking and bending, and then SNAP it broke, and CRASH a large Golem was standing on the splintered ladder, and coming toward him! Jehezekel held up his hand as if trying to ward the Golem off, and it crumbled into dust. For a moment he figured that the fall had been too far for it, and turned to follow the ratlizard. But he was suddenly overcome by blinding terror.

    When he came to, Jehezekel could see the lights of home ahead of him, and felt like he had been dragging a great weight all night. He looked down, and saw a leather cord, wrapped around his waist. He looked back toward Catamarca and saw a trail of plowed up earth. Then he looked behind himself, and saw Timon holding onto the handle end of the leather cord, sleeping. He tried to remember how he got here, but the last thing he could remember was the Golem crumbling, and then the fear; pure, unmitigated terror, filling his entire being.

    Jehezekel bent down and shook Timon by the shoulder, "Wake up. We're almost home. I'm not pulling you any further."

    Timon bounced up like a spring, and helped Jehezekel free himself from the leather cord, "You're lucky that I'm good with my whip." Timon said, motioning to the cord, now looped over his belt, as they started walking toward the farmhouse. "You came flying out of that hole faster than a wounded titan can kick! What happened in there?" Jehezekel told him, and Timon chuckled grimly when he described the end, "First contact with a Terrorization spell, eh? Sorry 'bout that, but it's a good thing you got out of there so fast. The Judges house exploded as soon as you left the hole, and we outpaced the shrapnel."

    Timon paused as they entered the farmyard. Jehezekel looked over at him, he had a vial in his hand, and was uncorking it. "What's that?" he asked. "Kesh," Timon replied as he quaffed it, "It's the nastiest stuff ever, and makes me magically inert, but it sure beats-" he lowered his voice, "-being a statue."

      • THE COMING OF AGE CEREMONY * *
        That evening, Jehezekel stood in the middle of a square. The elemental symbols were arranged on the corners which faced in their token directions. Air on the north corner, fire on the south, earth on the east, water on the west. For air the symbol was a pan pipe, for water a bucket of well water, for fire a bundle of wood had been lit, for earth a heat crystal and a green ice crystal were bound together with a linen cord. In his hand he held a wooden rod with a pithy core. The ceremony began.

    Jehezekel started chanting:

    Leaping Fire, Flowing Water, Blowing Wind, but Earth alone is Solid.

    He rapped the earth symbol with the rod.

    Refreshing Water, Cooling Wind, Receptive Earth, but Fire alone is Heat.

    He jabbed his rod into the center of the fire, the pithy center burned away like an explosion.

    Drying Wind, Absorptive Earth, Steaming Fire, but Water alone is Wetness.

    He dipped the end of the rod into the bucket, then tipped the end up, and water flowed hissing down its length, and onto him.

    Unmoving Earth, Fuel-bound Fire, Bed-bound Water, but Wind alone is Free.

    He placed the rod at the top of the pipes and blew, ooo went the pipes.

    Bones of Earth, Flesh on Fire, Blood is Water, Breath a Wind. That is Man.

    He whirled the rod above his head.

    Upset the balance, and we sicken. Destroy the balance, and -we die.

    He started tipping toward the earth symbol, a look af fear in his eyes. His parents gasped, and reached out as if to support him.

    Restore the Balance!...

    With a supreme effort he righted himself. For a moment the fire leaped up, the water bucket shattered, the pipes sounded forth OoOOoOoo, and then it was over. Jehezekel staggered off to bed, and Timon stared in wonder; the earth symbol was nothing but a small pile of dirt.

      • LEAVING HOME * *
        The next morning Jehezekel awoke late, Timon was gazing out at the blackness beyond the window. "Good morning Timon, where are my parents?"

    "Hiding in the flax ricks."

    "Hiding in the flax ricks. Hiding in the Flax Ricks?! Why'd they be hiding in the flax ricks?!"

    "Alcmena had a dream last night, Hector is coming. Apparently, the LandKing knows about the little fire we had last night. I'm sorry, but we'll have to leave immediately."

    Jehezekel was silent for a few moments, then he turned and drew his slate out from beneath his mattress. The message was still there: "...Balance... upset... artifacts... Balance all things, Timon searches... help him." He stared at it for a moment, dropped it on the bed, < So this is my destiny, I wish it could be different. > He looked down at his clothes, "Looks like I'm ready!"

    "Good, I thought it would take more to convince you."

    Jehezekel motioned toward the slate, "That is more." Timon glanced over it, wiped it off with his sleeve, wrote: "Rent for involuntary loan of bed" on it. Jehezekel dropped seven Oboloi on the slate, they threw on their cloaks and left.

    After they had gone for about a mile Timon spoke, "Poor Hector, blindly serving the LandKing, not once realizing that Alaric is no longer in control!"

    "How could he be the LandKing, and yet not be in control?"

    "Same as the mages, all statues, living statues, the Seldane control them."

    "Seldane?"

    "Elemental Earth beings. They're the mind behind these changes in Cythera. There are elemental beings for each of the four elements, I've learned about the Undine also, but I can't seem to find anything about the other Elementals. There must be fewer of them, or else they don't tend to oppose each other."

    "You spoke of Hector."

    "Yes, He is the LandKing's champion. A formidable warrior, that I'd be happy to have fighting for Alaric, instead of with the apparent LandKing."

    "Where are we headed for now?"

    "Cademia."

    (edit)
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    (/edit)

    This post has been edited by Jehezekel : 14 January 2007 - 09:00 PM



  • Nice work, Jehezekel, very interesting. :)

    Does this take place after the Cythera game or in a completely alternate Cythera?

    (I shall probably comment on all four parts.)



  • b: Completely alternate Cythera


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