Folkvangr

Final log of The SVN Solitude…

The more time I take to look around, the more I notice how different things really are. The Lebha here are different, less uniform than they were in my time. They've evolved over countless eons, and it shows.   They're more genetically diverse, for starters. Each face I see aboard the Viritine shows how creative their species has become. Not a single one could be confused for a human, or any other species I've encountered.   Fray stands out, something that must be jarring for them. They stare at these unfamiliar faces and the expression on their face is that of pain, confusion, and longing. Fray is stripped of their identity in this place. Those who should be their kin even refer to them as Lebhni.   "Your ship…" Viritine says, derailing my train of thought. "It isn't safe to operate here."   "The journey took a toll, that's for sure." I reply. Fray continues translating to make sure I'm understood. "We don't really have a choice, though."   "If what you've told me is true, then it would seem you do."   "How?" I ask.   Viritine shifts in the medium, the shadows unfurling as they speak, "The Loop binds us all. We fall down a spiral only to realize the end and the beginning are one and the same."   I stare up at her and tilt my head. "Uh…"   "We still have a part to play," Fraeia replies. "Think about Argus, your mother, or me reaching Somnihein. Based on what we know, this can't be the end. If we get back on that ship, however, it will be."   Viritine chuckles. "I'm trying to offer you my help."   "Why? What are we to you?" I ask.   "Nothing," Viritine replies. I see fray flinch, the slightest twitch betraying their well forged composure. "You're nothing to me. That doesn't make me less inclined to help those in need."   A screen flickers to life and I see a planet without a name, one I assume to be our destination. Through the prism cloud, Its surface is colored gold and brown. I notice patches of prismatic water as well, not unlike Viritine precious medium. These large lakes can be seen from orbit but nothing that one could call an ocean.   "It can't be that simple," I say.   "Amber," Fray replies, shocked that I'd be so bold.   Viritine continues, ignoring my statement, "We can spare a ship, one that can withstand the trauma."   "What aren't you telling us?" I ask.   "Many things," she replies. "A great many things."
   
Here me out. I've decided to call the planet "Folkvangr." It makes sense, I promise. Before it can, however, I need to talk about what I've learned in my brief time here in the future. First, let's talk about The Eden.   Terms like Lebha, Lebhni, and Levshi are just placeholders. They all mean the same thing but at different points in time. They would all call themselves Lebha, in the end. These terms do not refer to their species. Their species has no name, no history, or even an origin.   We've been picked up by one of countless factions, each defined by their place on the timeline of reality. They war with each other over the prism, but also ideals. They each have an agenda, of that I'm sure. It wouldn't make sense otherwise.

Folkvangr

Our destination is but one planet among millions surrounding the great attractor, a base of operations for the faction we've fallen in with. It is where they produce soldiers, where they build their ships, and where they live as they await the end of time.   The planet is mostly barren, littered with deserts and rocky ground that stretch on for miles. Hundreds of military outposts dot the landscape, always near the prismatic waters that radiate prism in kaleidoscopic hues. Prism is everywhere. The entire planet is radioactive, the prism casting its rainbow aura across the very sky above us when we land.   We board our ship, and as we near a military outpost to land, I see several orbital cannons across the surface. I can't tell for sure but I believe there are underground installations weaving throughout the planet.
   

Wildlife

Most of the planet is dead, but pockets of flora and fauna thrive in underground caverns. Most are nocturnal, though a select few can be seen during the day. One in particular catches my eye as we wait for our new ship.   I see reptilian creatures with many limbs basking on radioactive rock. They have bulbous white eyes and needle-like teeth, and were told not to approach them. They are incredibly fast, and can smell blood from miles away. They will attack and won't stop until they're killed.   I've also noticed flying insects, though they're big enough to be confused for birds. They tend to haunt caves, and have entire routes memorized as they sour through the sky. They migrate during the day in search of food, picking at mold growing near the edge of the planet's massive lakes.

Firefalls

The sky is always active, and not just because of the wildlife. Balls of fire and smoke can be seen screaming through the atmosphere at all times. They rarely reach the ground, but when they do, plumes of dust rise into the sky and can be seen from miles away.   The Eden call them firefalls, large chunks of debris from ships and asteroids. The orbital cannons can protect the planet from larger threats, but firefalls are considered a waste of ammunition, so they're allowed to pelt the planet unless they threaten an outpost.   Where they land soon becomes a hotbed of activity. Another form of fauna, similar to a slug, emerges when they detect a firefall collision. Their bodies are coarse with an outer layer similar to skin. This layer dries up to form a protective coating and shield them from the sun. They feast on metal and rock, having adapted to the many years of warfare the planet has endured.
"What are you doing?" Fray asks.   I look up from the tablet and only then am I aware of how I look. I sit at the table, my legs tucked underneath me. With every passing moment, I make myself smaller. I'm scared, I'm out of my element, and most importantly, I'm sad. "My job." I reply.   They tilt their head and smile. "Your job?"   "We've discovered a new planet. I thought I'd do a quick survey while we wait."   "Why does it matter?" They ask.   "It doesn't." After a moment I shut the tablet down. I'm embarrassed. While my initial goal was to set it aside, I end up tossing it on the table by my side. It slides, falls off the edge, and hits the ground. I groan and run my hands through my hair.   "You're worried. Is it the ship?"   "That's part of it," I reply. "This is my home and I have to leave it behind. I figured doing a survey would help."   Fray nods and turns to the far wall of the ship, the only wall yet to be painted. They step forward, pick up the tablet, and hand it back to me. "Then it does matter, does it not?"   I take the tablet and try to hide my smile. I don't answer, but it's clear they understood. Maybe it does.

Comments

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Apr 14, 2022 13:10 by TC

It just clicked. The reason the first eden ships are more advanced than any other- its because they were the last to be built, right before they somehow end up back at the start of the loop. The Avatars are immortal right? So how do they come to switch from one faction to another? Are all factions aiming the same goal (like destroying the loop), but with different tools / solutions to their common problem? Also how do they fight with one another, is there a place where time converges- wait is that place the rainbow orchard? Is it so important / holy because its the only place the Lebha can fight each other? Man I feel like I am so close god I cannot wait to read the next chapter

Creator of Arda Almayed
Apr 14, 2022 15:24 by R. Dylon Elder

Yesss! That's exactly right. You're closer than ever now. The Eden ships are so old for that reason as well. The reason they cam actually fight one another is explained next, as is a little more about the loop. You're getting so close, it's so exciting for me like if all lines up I'll be so damn happy.

Apr 15, 2022 13:28 by Morgan Biscup

I love Fray.   All these revelations are awesome, too, and they make my engineering brain very happy. But right now, more importantly? Fray is a good friend.   I suppose this is part of why Viritine claimed her so quickly, as well. And then sent her away at the end.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jun 4, 2022 08:32 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Oh my god just imagining the complexities of politics expanded through an entirely new dimension via time travel is making my head spin.

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