Rounding the Horn

With Fire in the Sky

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Prologue - Done @ 17:54


Title: Prologue
Fandom: None. original work.
Rating: G
Notes: "Prologue" is just that. I have no clue what to name any of this. Still, it's the transposed beginning that will entail the life and times of my finest creation. As yet very, very, very unfinished, this it the fully transposed update thus far. Depending on how things go, each part will be rated accordingly.


R'hown knew he was taking a risk. Truth be told, the first twin offspring of the Kral'Yl should have been asleep in these quiet hours of night. Honestly, he half wanted to turn around and go back to the citadel. He almost did turn back when the thought of his resting pod came to mind.
But R'hown did not turn back.
He stopped with his back pressed against the main fortress wall to let his eleven-inch ears home in on the echo that held his innate curiosity in thrall. Sensitive iridescent skin felt the smooth carved rock of the wall beneath thinly woven threads of an imperial woven tapestry. R'hown's left ear twitched and brushed against the liquid-like cloth. His long head leaned closely against the wall to the point of pushing on it.
R'hown caught his own chirping yelp of surprise when the wall fell inward.

The hard ground beneath his face was cold. Too cold. R'hown attempted to stand up but found his objective impossible. Crawling was not his strong point, nor was it particularly enjoyed. Crawling was the only way to continue onward however, and he wanted to know why he felt an Undocumented life so deep within/beneath the imperial palace.
R'hown wanted to know what younger life form had been barred from Documenting, whose offspring it was and...just why.
The passage was narrow at best and cramped at its worst. Ultimately deciding to fuse his three legs and slither like an underground cil'a, the almost-adult Xil-Zynh made it slowly through the twisted labyrinth of a crawlway.
Blackness was the only thing his huge, slanted eyes perceived for what felt like half-a-Turning. His awareness was of the cold, hard rock surrounding him, distant sounds hollowed out by the thick stone. Skin receptor nerves relayed the rough, sometimes abrasive contour of the passage.
R'hown did not turn back.

The effort was a long, labouring belly crawl through these claustrophobic, subterranean passages. It was the scratching rub of rock against pale, iridescent flesh.
The effort that sprang from an almost nonexistent signature and inherent curiosity was worth it.
Every scrape and scratch was forgotten when the crawlway widened. While slithering was no longer necessary and while his three legs could unlock, R'hown found the opening still tiny.
This too was soon forgotten as his eyes blinked against a dim, pulsing glow of a cleteph lantern.
It was all forgotten when his ears heard breath and the beat of a single heart not yet split into the three of adolescence.
It was all forgotten as the single heart hummed a signature into the closed, black air.

Life was here and it was alone.
Aloneness was known here.

And it broke R'hown's Being to realise this.

R'hown was lucky to return to the resting pods before the first sun rose above the southern horizon.

He knew it was possible to keep a secret -- it wasn't considered deception but it was a thin line to walk. He couldn't afford to let this secret out though, for he also knew what happened to most Undocumented life-forms.
One didn't become Undocumented for trivial reasons.
R'hown lay for many hours in the silence with his mind racing. He thought of what he'd seen in the flickering light.
The light had reflected a dark albino blue and a tangled mass of long, gold hair shot through with silver. The walls surrounding R'hown and the unknown blue were like a Pandora's Box.
The light gave quiet, secret beauty.

R'hown remembered the shadows thrown on the walls. The cleteph brought with light, shadow and it couldn't be denied.
He remembered the unnatural glitter on the blue skin. He shuddered at the memory of the same eerie shine in the beautiful long hair.
Blue had been marred; streaked by gray-white and that ungodly glitter.
No one heard him weep in the dark, cursing the revealed secret.
Cleteph lights were notorious for telling the dark truths alongside the beauty.
R'hown hated cleteph lights tonight.

Lug'had was perplexed. His twin had missed the Red Dawn and was still absent as the silver-streaked noon sky emerged.
"My Matron, what is the location of my blood-kin reflected?"
Lug'had's ears fell back as his mother turned to face him. She tilted her long head down to meet her offspring's worried yellow eyes. The twins were rarely apart, having forged a strong bond. She flicked her tri-forked tongue in approval.
"My Offspring, he did not emerge from the pods. I will allow you to check them."

When both Matron and Offspring crossed wrists with one another, Lug'had turned and slithered to the resting pods.
He was not disappointed.
The chamber was lit but the cletephs were turned low, dimming the place to near-darkness. Lug'had cocked an ear in complete confusion and quietly released a gryliliden dose into the warm air. He nodded seconds later when the air still smelled clear of parasites or Signature abnormalities. His twin was not ill or in bodily pain.
He thought on that and took a breath to ready himself for a very possible confrontation.

"R'hown? My blood-kin, do you hear?"
The younger twin whispered into the almost deafening quiet. It took nearly an eclipse until he heard a response. When it came, it was thankfully not one of anger.
When it came, the tone quietly shook Lug'had to the core of himself. It was a tone that had him almost wishing for an angry tirade from the usually outward-acting sibling.
"Please, away. Away."
It was likely against logical judgment that Lug'had persisted, albeit with four of his six stomach chambers churning.
"I believe it unwise to do so, my blood-kin. I have fear of this solitude creating much pain."
R'hown turned around and this time gave an angry response; one enough to put a wind to his brother's feet. His voice didn't need to be raised.
The words alone did the damage.
"Away with thee! Do not tread upon ground that has no need of thee; I stand as thine elder and thus do I speak. Away!"
Lug'had raced out of the pod chamber amazed that he could still breathe. He was on autopilot now.
The single massive lung in his chest shut down; thus activating the ridges along the back of his neck to process the searing light of four suns. The darkness of the pod chamber had become like a solid thing, a thing that had dealt a kick to the gut. He didn't care that the Matron saw him run through the palace halls. He didn't care that slithering was no longer what his limbs did to propel him onward.
The four suns greeted him with the pleasant burn of light and intense heat but he didn't stop to enjoy it.
He didn't stop until he passed the banfa'al groves and came to the shore caves at the edge of the sea. The thick, black water roiled and roared at him, challenging him to make it into the honeycombed network of caves cut into the cellanite-like rock. Lug'had met the challenge, leaped forward and started climbing. His three legs were damp and slick with ocean water but his hands were not. He climbed until he reached the apex.
At the apex, Lug'had threw his head back and wailed to the sky.

The Kral'Yl heard the echoing howl from outside and knew the sound instantly. None that ever bore offspring was careless enough not to know their seed's own voice. The Patron whispered to an attendant and ran to the doors. He knew where the sound was coming from but not why. He also knew not to pursue his offspring yet -- immediate pursuit after a sound like that was not a wise move.
"My Bond Mate, why is Lug'had creating such a sound?"
"I know not, my Bond Mate. I shall seek out his twin and ask."
The two shared a caress along their jaw lines and knew their course of action. The Matron returned to her place on the throne to keep calm and order among the palace proceedings. The Patron disappeared into the sleeping pod chamber with confused, conflicting emotions.
He was angry, knowing only a brother could cause that kind of wail. He was confused, knowing nothing of why such a sound would occur. And he was afraid, afraid that the damage done might not be realised yet by either one of the two still very young children.
His deep, resonant voice spoke into the dark chamber with calm authority.
"R'hown. My offspring, speak."

"Away, please."

Like Lug'had before, the tone shook the Patron to the core of himself. Knowing the paradox of Documentation -- that constant knowing of other life forms pitted against/alongside the freedom to keep secrets -- he asserted more assuredly with his age and authority as a parent.

"R'hown. My Offspring, you have created pain. It is disharmony."

Disharmony. That one word sent a screaming howl from R'hown's voice to echo that of his brother. Disharmony. The Patron drew closer, coming to take his elder son into his grasp. Long fingers flickered down the back of R'hown's head and neck ridges. Then the hand came up to gently trace behind R'hown's ear and down his jaw.
"My Offspring. You remain new to the world and new to its ways. You may keep your secret but please, tell no untruths. It is not harmonious an this disharmony with untruth shall create anger and pain."
R'hown blinked his large eyes in a vain attempt to stop the milky white tears from falling. It wasn't common that he called his father by name but truth and now guilt demanded it.
"Kale-tymb'o il-Prymus'jid-den, My secret remains. I have committed an evil."
"What is this evil you believe you have committed, Horae'nikta-R'hown?"

Their tones had become formal and clipped, mimicking the ways held when a truly evil act might have been committed. It was in essence, a sort of trial and required some formality.
It was not so stiff though that the Patron eliminated all gentleness from his voice and for that, R'hown was thankful. When he spoke his confession, the young one turned his head down and let his ears flop forward. Shame permeated him in a bitter gray-bronze scent.
"I spoke evil words to my blood-kin."
"What did you speak, my Offspring?"
"I told him to Away."

When Prymus did not speak, his child shook with held-back sobs. He hadn't heard its entirety but had caught the end of his brother's keening wail. That alone burned his ears and put his not yet three hearts to a galloping, uneven beat.
He learned the darker side of Documentation and silently lashed out at himself for his error.
"My Offspring; cease, please. You have committed an error. Not an evil."
"I have created pain, my Patron. Is pain not an evil thing?"

Prymus smiles and flared both head crests up. It was what his two children called his "wise face".

"My Offspring, pain is both evil and necessary. When felt, it can be as a warning, speaking of danger. It can also be evil, when it is held in the sheath of anger. It is a weapon when used with anger. It is the result of anger's lash. Do you understand?"
"Yes, my Patron but it is evil. Evil cannot be remedied, can it?"
"Most can. This is an Error -- did you have intention to cause Lug'had pain?"
"I did not."
"You see, it is an Error. All Errors can be remedied. Small evils can as well. Seek out your twin and speak. Allow him to understand. With understanding -- "
" -- comes enlightenment and from enlightenment comes Harmony."
"Yes, my Offspring."
The Patron flared his head crests and perked both ears, turning his "wise face" into a comical, silly expression. He walked out of the pod chamber with the uplifting sound of R'hown's laughter.

It was another eclipse until he left the pod chamber. R’hown had to go alone to find reparation and the time within the pod chamber had been spent to calm him out of the hot-cold pangs of angry guilt.
R’hown stood outside and watched the four suns set in the north and west horizons of his ring-bound home. The sky had gone from its day-glow of red streaked with bronzed gold to bronze-tinted cyan and finally, the dark blue-violet shadowed the land.
“Twin Moons, guide me with wisdom.”
The prayer was nothing more than that.
Slithering out into the violet night with the afterglow of of the receding day behind his back, R’hown picked up his twin’s trail. He didn’t need a dose of gryliliden in the air to know Lug’had was in pain – it was reflected in the echo that still reverberated in the elder son’s mind.

Three leg-limbs slithered over fine-grain sand, carrying the elder twin to the dark seaside that never calmed. When he reached this shore, R’hown glared back at the sea that dared challenge him. He knew well enough the dangers, as did Lug’had – those dangers were what each twin banked on to guard them when either or both wanted a Secret kept.
Now, R’hown wanted the sanctuary protected from anger and the pain this anger brought, including his own foolish wrath.
Long, flexible fingers curled around one of the many rock protrusions. All three leg-limbs displayed their strength as they too curled around chosen rock faces. Movement was slow, careful and calculated in a familiar routine to minimize the danger. Last thing he wanted was to somehow get killed on these rocks without a chance to reconcile with his own flesh and blood.
The ascent wasn’t the invigorating, strenuous rush of times past. It was in this time a frightening thing riddled with frightening thoughts.
It plagued the elder twin with near-slips, imagined scenarios of falling and phantom screams of terror. R’hown bit his thin lower lip to keep quiet. One ear listened to his almost-three heartbeats and their rapid, sometimes syncopated rhythm.
Then, absurdly, he thought of how silly it all appeared – R’hown so afraid of the rocks.

The first landing was both a relief and a dread.
Tired enough to lie flat on the rock and stare upwards, R’hown briefly marveled at the sky above him.
Timeless. Eternal.
But I, Eternal, am not.

He knew he was not eternal, not like the hazy, deep-violet sky above. He was not eternal and neither was his twin.
R’hown sat up and glanced at the first of the twin moons above him. It gave no voice, no answer to his unspoken question. Neither moon nor sun could answer him.
The answer didn’t hang from so lofty a place.

The summit of this dark peak glittered at him with a twisted nighttime welcome of reflected light shards. Like shattered bits of indigo obsidian, the mountain met its climber in sparks of shadow-light.
In its heart lay a spot of inky blackness. And within that blackness, he knew, Lug’had waited.

The elder twin dragged himself up over this final ledge to stand and meet the inky dark spot in a moment of silence.
It really was absurd in ways; R’hown standing there, afraid of confronting hi sown twin. Still, absurd as it was, it was a fact and thus, it was acknowledged. Understanding that fact wasn’t difficult either. It was, after all, his own words, his own secret that engendered the pain R’hown now felt flaring off of his twin’s Signature. Still, he was afraid and in some ways, he knew why.
My kin. My blood-kin.

“My Blood-Kin? You are here, yes? Please, hear me?”
He waited until he heard the sound of movement near the back of the twins’ secret place. It was predictable for Lug’had to go there – the back always kept the most treasured secrets safe and the most searing pain at a distance.
Lug’had responded with a single, somewhat ironic word.
Somewhere distant in his consciousness, R’hown recognized the fact that he’d recoiled visibly, as if the word stung him. It did in a way he couldn’t explain; in a way that had his soon-to-be three hearts skip a beat.
A dull ache rose up in his chest and before he could stop himself, the elder son spoke a single line, leapt forward and snatched Lug’had by the hand. It was both instant and it took forever, sweeping his brother up like that but pain was now proving itself to be a necessary, stimulating sensation.
And he still wanted the pain gone.

“Do not speak and do as I request of you.”

The twins raced down the mountain through its slippery cave network, sometimes careening as downhill runners losing control of their direction. The dark mountain walls echoed the sound of skidding, slithering and pattering leg-limbs upon the rock that seemed determined to trip them up and bring them down.
Lug’had was too stunned to speak, even to defy his sibling in the midst of this rash, confusing behaviour. But, he dashed along, decently keeping up without having to be half-dragged through the caves.
It was at this time, Lug’had chose to Analyse.

-Permission to Analyse?-
-Secret, this is what?-
Secret. It shall be kept. Do not speak until we stop.
Pod chamber folds slid away. The hour of the night acknowledged, a single life-form slipped away and out into the silent dangers of the outdoors.
Stone walls scraped the back-flesh. Wind whispered, things rustled. Footsteps sounded like a great tromping giant that cared not for the necessity of silence.
Fear. Curiosity. Confusion. Thrill.
Curiosity. A signature.
An Undocumented. Danger.
Violet night faded into dark ebony and close, cramped walls.
Blue. A blue face.
A shock of long, tangled hair.

The Analysis was nowhere near as involved as he’d expected. As it ended, Lug’had opened his mouth to speak but remembered his brother’s almost-order to remain silent. Soon, the caves gave way to the open air and the roaring blue-black ocean. R’hown’s voice came out again above a whisper – the sea and its thunder took care of the need for vocal silence.
“Remain silent. Do not let go.”

R’hown didn’t stop running.
Sand flew up behind the two in a pale silver-white cloud and they kept on going. They rounded the bend nearest to the raging sea as close as they dared get.
Sand gave way to smooth stone and they kept running. They didn’t stop at the side entrance of the palace. They only slowed down, cutting through the pod chambers and flitting like ghosts.
R’hown flung an arm out to pin his sibling against the wall – now was the time for utmost silence and most careful of movements.
Warm stone rubbed against their backs as they moved, almost slithering on the wall itself between the stone and ornate tapestry hangings. The twins smiled to each other as they passed under the hanging cloth.
This one is yours!
And this one is of the Predecessors. Take care under it.
Where do we go?

The question wasn’t spoken aloud but was felt. It was evident, clear as crystal in the curiosity Lug’had so carefully monitored yet allowed to run off of him and right into his sibling’s face. It was an odd smell, curiosity – sweet and sour, tangy and wild. It spoke of excitement with a hint of anger.
Lug’had’s curiosity was answered with a fainter smell; one that was dark, unsure and thick in its own way.
Curiosity was met with repentance.

They knew the hour was late.
They both should have already been indoors but curiosity was always a prize/problem with them.
They could see the twin moons high above, one behind the other. And they knew they had to watch their backs.
"Blood-kin, your thirst will wake the Crels again."
"I do not go in the Crels' direction, do I?"
"No, you do not. But why do you come out?"
"We have another Blood-Kin."

The twins stared each other down eye-to-eye for a good long minute. Older by three and a half Lifebreaths, R'hown felt in a few ways he was wiser. It wasn't a prideful kind of thing. It was more the elder-sibling mentality.
Lug’had had always been able to keep the stare of his twin. He had always been able to tell more than the usual Linking when his sibling was trying to tell an untruth. So he stared his elder twin down.
"Prove it, R'hown."
"You doubt me? You say I speak an untruth."
"I have doubt. Show me."
The younger sibling was ready to forgive R’hown but he held to a bit of scepticism – both of them knew all too well what happened to Undocumented creatures.

It's how they found themselves out here now staring each other. Finally R'hown broke the stare, turned his back and crept along the steep tunnel he'd found in the palace catacombs. He had found this one when he'd slipped away from the ever-dutiful guards and hid behind one of the few banners that hung on the opaline walls.
He had fallen back gracelessly and slid down the passage.
That was when, a few moons ago, he found the albino.

"How do we get back in?"
"We do not."
Honestly, that confused Lug'had. R'hown had told him of the inner passage but they weren't crawling through that like a couple of taldreens. No. They were outside, creeping along the edge of the palace walls.
"You shall see."
The younger twin trusted R'hown. How could he not?
For a long time, they crept in silence, hugging close to the wall until the elder finally stopped and ducked under a rather shadowy niche.
"Here. And remain soundless."
Lug'had followed his brother to the letter.
Sliding back to let his younger sibling have a look, R'hown almost smiled. He could almost feel Lug'had trying not to Transcend right then and there.
The albino.
He was asleep, curled up in a tiny little hole of a thing with only that one way to get in or out. He was shorter than both of them and had the characteristic blue-black skin.
It wasn't that that caught Lug'had's breath in his throat.
It was the hands.
"He is ours?"
"He is ours, Lug'had."
The twin sons crouched low at the entrance of the hidden little place for almost half the night.
R'hown couldn't help but stay.
Lug'had wondered what signature his Life-Bringer might give off.
R'hown wondered why this third sibling had never been felt.
Lug'had wondered what colour the eyes would be.

Now to transpose Chapter One. And eat Mexican food. Or try a full-frontal head image. Oi, I need to do some facial expressions -- happy, calm, sad....and one that's....what's the word? Cold? Jaded? Expressionless? No... Eh, I'll find it.


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Rounding the Horn

With Fire in the Sky