Start new topic
Stirring the Sands
Posted: May 17 2018, 07:45 PM
PMEmail Poster
 
Aceron stood at a cliff's edge, watching as streams of sand flowed through the ruined rebuilt ruins of Istanbull below. A glance northwards--isn't the most useful, as the Krytenian border was still a fair ways out of sight, but it contains a curious thought. What had happened? Where had they gone?

He thought back to how this all started. Well, not how everything started--the catastrophe hadn't become any clearer in his dreams as the years passed by. But what he did remember was waking up alone in the streets of Shanghay. To this day, that's the most surreal moment of his life--one moment wading through a sea of Ibexi, neck-to-flank from the moment you left your home until you reached your destination. The next, being surrounded by nothing but sandy brick. It'd taken hours of digging through rubble looking for anyone else for him to remember the word to describe it--"alone."

As that word started rampaging through Aceron's mind, he quickly glanced back at the camp. Krasen was patching up the blankets, before the nights could get any colder. Valera tending the two kids. Olero sketching the maps. They were together, and there were more of them out there--many small camps like theirs, and even a few larger camps far to the south that had set up shantytowns. They had the Krytenians to thank for those connections; the deserts were mostly unnavigable by hoof, and they had all tired of wandering just to get as far as they had.

It had been startling when the dust clouds first appeared on the horizon several years back. The northern reaches had never been subject to dust storms, so something unnatural was at play--Krasen insisted it had been the same force that emptied the cities, come to wrangle the stranglers. But the arrival of the Krytenians had been a saving grace, as the settlers spread out from the rechristened Xian and worked to reclaim the land with monstrous fire magic. They'd happened upon a few Ibexi camps driven out by the fires and taken pity on the poor souls--leaving the traumatized goats as alone as the they desired, with light supply dropoffs and occasionally even small bits of trade as some of the more industrious survivors occupied themselves with mining obscure mineral deposits. Escorts to establish connections with other camps and visit important historical sites... the morale boon had been critical.

His gaze swept back to the plains that lead to the heart of the nation. The electric lights that dotted the horizon had winked out months ago.
Ibex
Scribe in Training
*
Posts: 27
Quote Post
 
Top

,
Posted: May 18 2018, 06:02 PM
PMEmail Poster
 
"Will you stop with this cliff-gazing?" Valera had snuck up on him, with the kids apparently put to sleep for the night.

Aceron nodded, turning to join with the others for supper. "Sorry. Must have lost track of time."

"Can't much blame you for that. Not much is happening to go by." They shared a sigh as they sat down to a bowl of Alei's goulash.

After a sip, Aceron reflexively hacked it out. He blushed as he quickly tried to regain his composure, but Alei just chuckled.

"Don't worry, Ace. Your tongue does not deceive you; I'm just about out of spices."

A sullen look spread across the congregation. Valera coughed and addressed the obvious: "It's been that long since the last trades?"

"Unfortunately, yes." The elder cook nodded, her long silver hair bobbing. "Even during my exile these roads were never this quiet. We'll be on cactus broth and potatoes from here on out."

And so they chowed down on what could be generously construed as a form of sustenance--until Valera noticed Aceron hadn't had another sip, and was staring off to the horizon again. A quick jab in the side brought him back to earth. "What's gotten in to you?"

He opened his mouth, then shut it again. Holding up a hoof and collecting his thoughts, he finally found the words. "We need to get out there. We can't keep living like roaches up here forever, especially not if we can't rely on Krytenian aid. I think... we need to pull together with the other camps, and try our hoof at rebuilding."

A quiet held the table for a few moments. Alei was the one to break it. "-explicitive removed- it, sure, it's something to do. Lets me restock however it goes."

Krasen's response wavered a bit in his throat. "Can we, though? If the humans couldn't do it, how could we?"

"We don't know nearly enough to know what actually happened to them," Aceron shot back. "Just learning more about what happened is enough reason to venture out. There's a whole host of reasons they could have left--strife in their homeland meaning they couldn't support the colonies, they realized they just bit off more than they could chew, or they didn't adapt to the desert as well as they thought they could. But this is our land; we all grew up here, as well as generations of our ancestors. If anyone can squeeze life out of the sand, it's us. And I say we give it a shot rather than wasting away in isolation."

Olero abruptly stood up, having been quiet so far. "I'll go get the buggies ready. We aught to have plenty reserves to get to Xian, and can scavenge from there."

This post has been edited by Ibex on May 18 2018, 06:03 PM
Ibex
Scribe in Training
*
Posts: 27
Quote Post
 
Top

,
Posted: May 20 2018, 10:58 PM
PMEmail Poster
 
"Looks like someone beat us to the punch." Olero took a hoof off the wheel and gestured to one of the shiny buildings in the rebuilt sector of Xian, which they were quickly approaching. While the Ibixan flag was still the most prominent marking of habitation left across the skyline, there was one singular ratty horn-and-machete flapping in the wind.

Aceron caught sight of it from the passenger seat and nodded. "Hopefully they're flying that flag to show they're Ibexi, and not because they're still loyal to the Empire."

"Only one way to find out," the driver chuckled and mashed the gas. The caravan of buggies blasted over the last stretch of land--not quite desert, as this was the epicenter of the Krytenian terraforming efforts, but not quite lush as the desert seemed have found a second wind in the fight. As they reached the outskirts of the town several Ibexi emerged toting army surplus guns, but encouragingly in a defensive stance.

"Halt," the largest one called as they pulled up, "what's your business here?"

"A new life," Aceron responded, dropping to the ground. "How long have you all been in the city?"

The militia loosened their grips as the other buggies pulled up and it was apparent the visitors were unarmed. "A few months, now. We reached out after a few weeks of the Kryties going quiet, found these buildings completely empty with the coffee still on. Strange, but I missed having solid walls o'er my head."

"You'll hear no argument from me there. So you've not found anything out about their disappearance?"

"Nah, not a thing. I mean, the ground's less green than the first time I'd seen what they'd done, but that couldn't a done it by itself."

Aceron gave a weary glance across the ghostly city and sighed. "Ah well--there'll be plenty of time to figure that out. Would you mind showing me around? I'm very interested to see how much of the area is habitable."
Ibex
Scribe in Training
*
Posts: 27
Quote Post
 
Top

,
Posted: May 24 2018, 08:45 PM
PMEmail Poster
 
Some weeks later...

Representatives from the southern settlements had finally been wrangled into Xian. A few smaller settlements had also come along in their entirety as the news came about, and slowly the outskirts of the city's husk started to feel lived-in again. And while that was a very important process, it wasn't the matter most at Aceron's attention.

Olgoth and his resourceful crew had been welcoming and incredibly supportive of this venture, but unscrupulous actors were certainly lurking. The former dictatorship had loosened just a bit during Shang L?r's final days and the stretch thereafter, but it was still a depressing -explicitive removed-hole where underhanded tactics were the only way to get ahead. These talks were sure to uncover some of that old-style thinking, and nipping that -explicitive removed- in the bud was vital.

But, as they gathered in Krytie-constructed courthouse, Aceron was caught off-guard. Cabel of Cobalt Camp was a merchant looking to finance proper safety equipment to re-open the mine. Anasia of former Tibuck was a scholar that wanted to drag the Ibexi into the modern world. Menna of High Hill was an ascetic that hoped to wash clean out the old corporate culture and reconnect with nature. It almost seemed like it was the outcasts All readily listened to reason and bolstered it with their own strategies; after five hours of debate they'd already hammered out a rough recolonization plan and were even debating the niceties of how a new nation would even identify itself. New Ibex? No, invoking the sins of the past was a terrible idea. They couldn't get away with Southern Krytenia, could they? And what of the flag? The horn-and-machete was still a succinct symbol of the hardy goats. Was there a way to give it a new life alongside those it represents?
Ibex
Scribe in Training
*
Posts: 27
Quote Post
 
Top

,

Topic OptionsReply to this topicMake a quick replyStart PollStart new topic

 



[ Script Execution time: 0.0159 ]   [ 12 queries used ]   [ GZIP Enabled ]

-->