There’s something different about the System than it was in times of old. Long ago, the ancients made use of the System to create massive civilizations that spanned continents, each city a piece of art more wondrous than the next. Now, we are little more than tribal beings, content to war with our neighbors. The System used to inspire to create, to reward those that did. Now, it rewards senseless slaughter for something as little as experience. We used to be one people no matter the race. Now, we fight brother against brother. What caused this change?
– Petra, The Sage of the Wild
I need rejuvenation. I need to see the sun. It’s been too long. I think I’m getting winter depression. If my internal clock is right, though, it won’t be up for another four hours. I content myself filling in the other half of my garden with silt. It doesn’t take long, and I figure out that I can add bits of |aura of warmth| to hopefully help my plants grow. And grow they have! The banana sprout has grown. Little leaves are poking out of the soil.
And the lichen, my lichen. It’s completely ignored the soil in the dish and latched onto the rock itself, looking like little grey explosions of growth. I give a little laugh. My plants are growing. Peace floods me. This. This is what I’m meant to do. Raising these little guys, protecting them. Giving them a safe place in this unforgiving wilderness. Grow well, little guys.
Then I growl, my happy mood dissipating instantly. Something once again has entered my domain. Really? I can’t even go two hours without something intruding? My fish swarm, sensing my agitation.
Little one! Little on! Call your guards off!
Yes, Little one. Call them off. I apologize for intruding once again. I have need to speak with Little one.
“Fishies, let Ah’m up,” I sigh. Ah’m lumbers into my garden after a few minutes with difficulty. I almost laugh. The whale dog is covered in silk webs. Looks like Niko did his job. I’ll have to reward him later.
“Watch the plants.”
Plants? Ah’m looks at me in confusion. Ah, greens, little little greens. Little one has grown much to make greens. Much like land-dwellers. The whale dog swings its head around and grunts in appreciation at my plants. It’s then I notice there’s something hanging from its mouth that was covered my silk earlier. Is… is that a seal? Please don’t tell me it brought its lunch…
“Ah’m.” I jolt. The seal just spoke. It’s not dead? “Ah’m! Let me down already!”
See. I brought Land-dweller. Ah’m drops the seal and gives a grin of self-satisfaction, showing a mouth full of threatening teeth which I tried to ignore. Did it just call the seal a land-dweller? That makes absolutely no sense.
“Oh, come on, Ah’m,” the seal harrumphed. “How long have you known me now? Do you really not remember my name? Now, where’s this Little one that you wanted me to meet? I’d like to introduce myself, but I don’t seem to see her, though I heard her voice earlier.”
The seal suddenly stretched itself with its face pointing to the ceiling, and then something… happened. It’s skin spit straight down its stomach. That’s the best way I have of describing it. It was disturbing. I watched in rapt horror as two pale arms reached and lifted the head of the seal away like a like the hood of a coat. The thing stood up out of the seal skin, and I realized it was a man standing there with pale blond hair and dressed in various animal skins. He reached down and picked up the seal fur and draped it over his shoulders.
There. ‘Tis Little one. Ah’m gestured to me with its snout. What the heck just happened?!? (more…)