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NUMENERA: A WORLD OUT OF TIME TALE "THE BLACKENING"

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There area billion stories in the Ninth World and it is easy to lose track of them one such lost tale is Firanis and the Workshop of the Telescopes. A tale both old and new it told of one of Firanis Flux's wild adventures of how she met Large Gord another famous wanderer, of how they encountered The Nox, one of the last of it's kind and how the Nox helped them to infiltrate the wicked City of Workshops. How Firanis and her companions became involved with the Cult of the Flaming Telepaths and how they fought their way through the Evil Priests that could turn a mans brain into a torch with mere thought. How they climbed the fabled Tower of the Telescopes and of what they found there and of the great discovery they made about our moon.

Sigh.

But alas the details of that insane adventure are lost to us. Only the protagonists themselves know what truly happened and they don't talk about it. No that was a tale from yesteryear the tale you are about to hear now, is one that happened not that long ago. And it all started when.....

 

Firanis stopped at the top of the rise and looked down upon the place she had once called home. She frowned in thought, she had expected this sight to move her to bring some old fondness to the surface but alas it didn't. She found herself missing Goutro and even Cyrinx truth be told. But they were far off trying to rebuild Goutro's spacecraft and while Firanis had found it fascinating she had grown restless and bored. And so she had set out to gater supplies and some of the much needed parts Goutro required. It was chance to get out to explore and yes adventure again. But she did miss her companions. Which is why she decided to come here. One of the things Goutro needed could only be found at a nearby settlement and since it was close she thought she could visit home. Now she wasn't so sure it was a good idea.

Firanis shook her head “This is a mistake.” she said out loud to the wind, her mind made up . She would not go down would not visit those who may remember her. She had plenty of other things to do. She turned to go back the way she came and that was when she saw it, miles away at the nearest settlement to her home. A black spot on the horizon where the town should have been a black spot. She pulled out her telescope and looked toward the far off town, bringing it into focus.

It was black. The buildings blackened the walls cracked as if exposed to great heat, the ground dry cracked blackened. The trees and bushes mere dead skeletons all Blackened. She saw no people, no bodies or any indication that any had been there whenever this had happened.  She swung the scope back and forth everything around the town was blackened as if burnt Suddenly she paused the scope on a speck of green a bush on the very edge of the blackened ground and as she stopped at the sight of the green thing she gasped in horror as the blackening moved it touched the plant and suddenly the bush withered and died and turned black. She watched that very spot for several moments to ascertain to herself that yes what ever was causing this was moving.

And it was.

She swung the telescope back to the south from where it was pointed at the Blackening back toward her home, then back to the black and back again to her village. She dropped the scope from her eye and looked down from the ridge on the place that was once her home.

The place that the Blackening was coming to.

Spoiler

A couple of you have indicated some interest aside from Sean. Let me know if you are still interested and I will write you in. Sean PM me if you have any questions, i may have some answers

 

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It seemed home truly was where your friends were, but with danger encroaching upon the place she had grown up, Firanis couldn't just leave Broley to fend for itself, not when she could at least give them warning of what approached. Besides, there were still a few she cared for there, if not family, even if they wouldn't be able to recognize her on sight anymore.

She had changed a lot, physically, while exploring the Ninth World, but had never really felt different. But with meeting Goutro - and Cyrinx, to an extent - the way she saw the world had shifted, or expanded. She still felt all the wonder the ever had, but there was a new, or deeper, appreciation for it, after having spoken with one who had witnessed it for himself.

Firanis returned the scope to her pack and tightened the various weapons strapped to her so they wouldn't rattle and shift. Then she began to run, her extraordinarily long legs eating drit and dirt, her pace swift, jumping and climbing as necessary to make down the ridge and hills.

It had been some time since she'd last been here, but with every step, Firanis felt the familiarity returning. She had played and explored all around the village of of Broley as a child and adolescent. But it was almost a stranger's familiarity. She knew this place, but was seeing it with new eyes. Well, to be fair, her eyes were one of her many changes since being here last, but it was the vantage from which she saw things then the eyes themselves that made things seem different. She was much taller than she had been last time she'd come home.

Firanis slowed to a jog as she wove between the trees, breath deep but steady, a wistful smile crossing her youthful features as she heard the crystalline trill of quartzkaws in the boughs. She could just make out Broley in the distance, the distinct shape of rounded domes of buildings made of greenwood coming into view. Living wood grown over inflated bubbles, a material and method developed by her mother. She carried a buckler of the same material.

Coming to the edge of the village, she ran a hand through magenta hair darkened by sweat. She wasn't sure who held ultimate authority in the village anymore - she wasn't even sure who it had been last time she was here - but Firanis presumed Camila Beyett still held influence. Camila had been a close friend of her mother's, a leader of the Cosmicologists, a philosophy that Firanis followed.

Firanis' hand went to the miniature time piece she wore about her neck. And Camila would recognize the Time-Maker, and in so doing, would know Firanis for who she was. If she couldn't find a means of arresting or diverting the creeping Blackening, she hoped she could at least give the people of Broley the time to evacuate. The call would be more persuasive coming from Camila than from someone who was a veritable stranger to the village.

Her chest tightened, surprised to feel a pang of hurt at the admission.

 

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The caravan had been in the settlement of Broley for a little more than a half day and would be moving on later this afternoon toward the next settlement. Large Gord leaned against the wall of the merchants hall, sheltering in the shade, waiting for the trains masters to get off their fat behinds and start the caravan moving. The giant shrugged his wide shoulders and once again wondered idly why this place, that he had never been before, was familiar to him, a sensation that had been bugging him since he had first spied the place when they came up the road. He paused in his musings when the girl called Sigil, came up to him with a tankard of short beer.

She had joined the caravan at the last stop and for several days had been the focus of much talk among the guards due to her strange looks and the way she carried herself. Despite the efforts of many to win her attentions the girl remained standoffish and was eventually ignored. However Gord had never been one of those who had tried to socialize with the girl so naturally she had gravitated to him after the others ceased their pestering. While the two spoke little to each other and perhaps less to anyone else they did socialize in a odd manner, eating together and walking with each other, not so much friends but somehow recognizing something kindred in each other.

Gord took the beer and drained half of it in one swallow before thanking the Sigil but he wasn't paying much mind to her he was looking up the way at a figure coming into the village. Gord's mouth opened into an 'O' of recognition and he suddenly realized why the village seemed so familiar. This had been the home of one of his former companions the weird girl Firanis. She had spoken of the place often with her weird little rodent friend, and lo and behold who was it walking down the street but none other than Firanis Flux

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Sigil, having settled down in the shade cast by Gord, noticed his reaction and leaned over a little to get a better look at what was surprising him so much. What she saw was not immediately of much interest. A female human, showing signs of some alteration. Perhaps Gord found her attractive. Or perhaps he was seeing something she wasn't?

Her forehead creased slightly with concentration as she expanded her senses, sampling everything from electromagnetic emissions to minute details of trace nuclear decay in the vicinity of the purple-haired female. Gathering information was, after all, her purpose.

(Scan esotery on Firanis, hehe)

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"Firanis!" The big, booming call surprised both her and Sigil. Then she saw Gord waving her over with a broad smile and a tankard of beer. Surprised at seeing a familiar face that recognized her, she came over. "Good to see you! I just realized, this is your hometown isn't it? I'm here escorting this caravan. And this is Sigil." He took another long gulp of booze and gestured at her. "Not the talkative sort. How have you been doing?"

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Intent on finding Camila, Fi didn't notice Large Gord at first, her improbably long legs carrying her swiftly and gracefully down the street. She was two steps past him and the girl by his side when he called out and her head whipped around, the expression on her exquisite, mobile features going from worried determination to one of surprise.

She walked over to the two with enviable grace. Standing close, Sigil realized just how tall the young-looking woman was - Firanis stood as tall or more slightly more than Large Gord himself, though far more slender. With her expanded senses, Sigil could notice hints and remnants of layer upon layer of alterations the vivid-haired woman had experienced, so much so, she could hardly guess what she might have originally looked like.

Firanis blew a lock of magenta hair from her face as she glanced back down the street before returning her gaze back to Gord and nodded, her brows furrowed in clear agitation. "Yes, I grew up in Broley and I'm surprised to find you here, Gord. Surprised, but pleased." She flashed him a quick smile - it wasn't forced, but she clearly had more on her mind.

"And you as well, Sigil." Firanis returned the shorter girl's appraisal with a frank one of her own. The girl did have remarkable auric eyes. Firanis gave her head a small shake, her grin fading. "I have been well enough, just needed to get out and stretch my legs, as it were, and a supply run was just the thing after the tedium of helping Goutro with his..."

Firanis trailed off with a sigh. It wasn't precisely a secret, but the fewer others knew of Goutro's ship and the less about it, the better and less dangerous it was for them. "I hadn't expected to be coming this way, but I - Sorry!" She shrugged a sleek shoulder impatiently. "I would like to speak with you more, Gord, but this is not the more serendipitous of times. You should encourage the caravan you are escorting to quickly pack up and be ready to depart."

She grimaced, looking more like a pout on her young, very pretty face. "There is a.... black... ness, something like char without fire heading this way. I mean that in truth. I saw it, visibly encroaching this way after having consumed the next closest settlement. I mean to go speak with a friend of my mother's and mine who should hold some influence, to get preparations for evacuation started before I go to investigate myself to see if this... blackening can be curtailed or diverted."

Firanis gave Gord a wry grin, a flash a humour in her lavender eyes despite her worry. "I'd ask if you'd like to help, Gord, but I'm short of shins at the moment and I can't say what manner of salvage there might be to make it worth your while."

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