The Builders

The craft of black crystal penetrates the ghostly barrier between this place and the other in a shower of sparks. The elder eyes this with some alarm, and speaks several words in the bird-like language that is not Thari. From her vantage in the craft itself, Ariaunna can see that Aurora and Julian are in the company of seventeen strange bird-like bipeds. Their surroundings appear to be a vineyard, around a fountain, beside a pool of black sludgy water.

There is no convenient place to park the craft, save perhaps in the pool of black sludgy water.

Aurora steps towards the alarmed bird people and raises her hands in a calming gesture. "They are friends," she says in ancient Thari. "Please do not be alarmed."

The elder eyes her in silence for several moments, his bird-expression inscrutable. Then he says something to the warriors.

The two massive falcons leap forth from the door and catch the air with their wings, rising slightly, landing on the two of the ruined statues that decorate this yard of vines. The ancient bird-man speaks again to Aurora in archaic Thari. "The Clan has seen a Builder-Ship not in many many cycles."

"I command a fleet of such," Aurora informs him formally. She doesn't lay claim to the title the station AIs gave her. Not yet anyway. Claiming to be ruler of even a lost kingdom of Order might not go over

Aunna drops out of the cockpit, landing lightly in a crouch and rising slowly. She gives Julian a slight nod, and focuses on Aurora.

"Avarya remained behind," she says. "She was heading back toward the shuttle bay last I saw her, but we may need to find another bay out of here if the fire hasn't burnt out by the time we leave."

Aurora grimaces. "Darn it. I was hoping to get an idea on what's in the pillar before I decided to brave this one. Is everything else alright?"

"Nothing I couldn't handle," Aunna replies, her eyes casting quickly over the others present in what could best be determined as a 'counting the odds' way. "How are you?"

"Wonderful," replies the redhead with a grin. "These august peoples have been tasked with — something until the Builders return. Since the Builders created everything, and they identified the shuttle as a Builder craft, I am going out on a limb as say we qualify. I offered to enter the Pillar of the Sun and see if it accepts me as a Builder." She eyes the still flying shuttle. "I was hoping we could just fly there. Otherwise it takes several 'cycles' to reach it from here."

"I sent her to find a place to land," Aunna explains, touching her earpiece. "Figured it would be easier to load the cocoon that way. Windseeker, slight change of plans. Find a spot to touch down and send the coordinates to Ghostwheel. We'll come to you."

She switched off the com and laced her fingers together over the pommel of her sword. "Learn anything interesting?" she asked casually.

Aurora arches a quizzical eyebrow at the question. "Besides these people and their ancient task?" She glances at the cocoon behind Julian. "And that may well be our son? Though how he has blonde hair is a mystery to me…"

"Alright," Aunna nodded. "Is the 'task' something that will stop the lattice of Ways from falling into the Logrus?" She glanced between the obvious 'leader' of the bird people and Aurora. "That is what's happening out there, right? Total entropy and all that?"

"Is it?" Aurora asks in standard American English with a confused frown. "I believe the Ways are in no danger as things stand because of the way they're structured. It's the station that's being pulled in. If that happens, then yes, all of Chaos will be destroyed. Tis' computer simulation shows that will actually be a good thing for the rest of the Universe. But it would result in the loss of Chaos. Which I would rather not see happen."

She indicates the bird people with a tilt of her head. "They only speak a very ancient Thari."

"Thanks for explaining," the brunette replies in the same language. "Still doesn't answer my question, though." She looks again past Aurora to the bird people curiously. "Is this 'task' something that will help us, or just a curiosity you'd like to pursue since we have time?"

"I don't know," Aurora replies. "These are the Elders and require a more formal approach. We have only touched on the prophecy and its contents when you appeared. I shall ask now."

"I have received coordinates from Windseeker." Ghostwheel reports.

The redhead turns back to the Elders and bows again before addressing them in the ancient tongue. "You mentioned being freed from your task before. What task were your people set?"

The birds have spoke among themselves in their own alien language while Ariuanna and Aurora converse. "Only to True Builders can we reveal the task bequeathed to us in the ancient scriptures." The Elder says.

"Ah," Aurora nods. "So first we must pass the test."

She turns to Aunna and switches to English. "I say we go try it. I am pretty sure we have plenty of time. Only minutes have passed on the station since we started, and we have hours. The Builders apparently were Merlin and the lot responsible for the crystal fleet, since they called the shuttle a Builder craft."

Aunna considers a moment, then nods. "Sounds like a reasonable conclusion."

"Ghostwheel? How long will it take to reach the Pillar of the Sun if we fly the shuttle?"

"An hour round-trip, plus however much time it's going to take to complete the task," Aunna responds. "If we're going to do this, I say we go as soon as possible."

"I agree," nods the redhead. She looks past Aunna to Julian who still has the bird warriors in his sights. She smiles slightly and shakes her head.

"Right, so - where did Windseeker land so we can load up and go? After I explain what's going on to the Elders."

Aunna hooks a thumb toward the sphere hovering nearby. "Ghostwheel has the coordinates. I can have Windseeker guide me in and load up the cocoon while you explain everything, and you guys can meet me there."

"Alright," Aurora agrees. She gives Julian and long look then steps forward to the Elders again.

"We can shorten the trip to the Pillar of the Sun if you will join us on the Builder Craft," she proposes. "Then at least one of us will take up the test."

This proposal generates discussion in the alien bird-language. "I will fly in the Builder-Craft." The Elder says at last in archaic Thari. None of the bird-warriors appear pleased about this.

"Your warriors may accompany you if it will make them feel better," Aurora adds with a faint smile. "Although to make my warrior feel better, perhaps only some of them."

This prompts further discussion in the alien bird-language. "Accompany me two of our best warriors will, yes." The aged one replies.

She returns to Julian and lays a hand on his armored arm. "Come, husband," she says. "Let's go."

"Ghostwheel, lead us to the rendezvous point with Windseeker."

Ghostwheel instantly hovers off in the same direction that Ariaunna left.

TOC - Tower of the Sun

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License