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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 7:50 pm 
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Author's Notes: So I've had some plotbunnies nibbling at me for a while, or since they are Uru/Myst related bunnies, perhaps they should be called plotsquees or plotreekoos. Anyway, regardless - I'm going to be writing a short fic series, each focused on one character, called 'Tales of the Fall'. There will be at least three in the series.

And here is the first one, focused on Guild Master Kadish. This fanfic contains SPOILERS for the Age of Kadish Tolesa in Uru Live, for bits of the Path of the Shell Uru Expansion pack involving the backstory of the Watcher's Pub/Sanctuary and the Words of the Watcher, and the events of the Fall of D'ni as described in the Book of Ti'ana.

Standard disclaimer: Characters, setting, etc. all belong to Cyan Words, not me. In addition, I quote the Words of the Watcher, which also belong to Cyan and not to me.

Enjoy! And feel free to comment with your thoughts, reactions, questions or criticism, as the entire story is contained in this post.


Quote:
D'ni was dying.

Guild Master Kadish, nearly falling to the ground as he linked in, was dying too. He was sure of it.

The yellow-brown residue, left by the poisonous gas that smothered D'ni, had coated his Linking Book where it lay open on a stone pedestal in its secret, locked chamber. The small vault was well-guarded by his own cleverness in construction and locks; no one had found it, but it took more than locks to keep the miasma away. He'd had to touch the stuff to use the Book, and the residue coated his hands now. He staggered over to the nearest pool, dunking his hands in and scrubbing them together as vigorously as he could manage. He watched as the residue swirled away in the water, muddying it briefly before it settled.

As always, the leaves of Kadish Tolesa fell, drifting gently to the flagstones, swirling in his wake as he stumbled past, racked by coughs. That was the first part, he knew. Oh, he knew from watching the members of his household die before his very eyes. First the cough, and then...

He shook his head and stared upward to try and clear his mind. If nothing else, he was safe now, or would be. Nothing, nothing could penetrate to the deepest core of his Age. Protected by many devious 'locks', with the way of opening known only to him... he would be safe from everything but the disease that would eventually destroy his body as it had those around him. He'd hoped, as his men withered around him, that the masks and clothing precautions he'd taken would be enough to save him.

It was not enough.

As Kadish made his way to the first of the 'locks' he had erected in his Age, a proud testament to his skill and sharp mind, a single thought looped in his mind, again and again. The Maker knew he had read the Words of the Watcher often enough while holding court in the Great Tree Pub, and now those words were coming back to haunt him.

The disease will spread until D’ni cannot be saved.

He had, in the past, scoffed at that line. Surely it couldn't be literal - after all, hadn't the D'ni survived and mastered the great plague under King Hemelin? What could be worse than that? And yet he had seen the miasma spread across the Cavern, killing the lake as it moved, and known true terror for the first time in his life. In fear, Kadish had linked away to another of his Ages with the other members of his household. A corpse had arrived shortly afterwards, and though they'd burned it the disease still spread.

When destruction comes, other ages will not save you...

At last, he returned after a week and a half, once it was apparent there was no chance of recovering from the disease with the resources he had available. He was certain that, despite everything, he would find the Cavern alive and well, Healers hard at work, disease conquered.

Instead, he had discovered the broken and strangled corpse of what had once been D'ni... and fled again, this time to Kadish Tolesa, running away to the hiding place of his most precious things.

The metal rods of the first 'lock' spun gently under his guiding hands, forming into their familiar and beloved pattern. The first book looked inviting on its stone pedestal near the first viewer, and he held his hand over it just for a moment. He could see the Gallery through the linking panel, but the glow of the firemarbles on glass was dulled by yet more of the residue. Even through the panel, he could see the foul crust that coated every piece of artwork, staining the bright colors.

No. No, not now. When the attack had begun, he had sent a man to the Gallery to cut the wiring that powered the doors. He could not get out to the City that way, even if he linked; it was obvious from the lack of disease-ridden corpses in this Age that the rebels had not managed to break in to access the book there. With luck there would never be such desecration of his Gallery or of his most cherished Age - in his hidden vault, he had linked out with that Kadish Tolesa book held over the fire.

The whirl of secret doors admitted Kadish to his second level of protections, and a simple push of the blue button mechanism reset the 'lock' behind him. He breathed a bit easier, then, coughs not withstanding. The rebels, the common rabble... they could never break through even this first layer of protection. Of this he had no doubt.

Kadish walked the path of darkness, into the secret doorway, and thus passed the second layer. The stones grated back to their original positions behind him, as the trees fell away to reveal the neat plaza of the Edge. He took a moment to rest there, breathing deeply as he admired the soaring architecture and brilliantly hued sky, one of the first things he had written into the Age. Even after he stagged back to his feet, Kadish lingered for a long moment, looking over the cloudscape, the tall trees soaring still further into the purple sky, before turning with regret towards the third 'lock'.

The glowing tiles within made him dizzy, his tearing eyes unable to see the symbols as well as they used to. The elevator made him dizzier still, and he had to stop for a long while after pressing the third 'lock' reset button, the coughs tearing through his body and making every bone ache. The ladders of his fourth 'lock' were a torment, his sweaty hands slipping on the metal rungs, and he cursed his own ingenuity for once. In his youth, years and years ago when he had written this Age, he had no need to design for sickly men, no idea that he would ever be weak enough to make the ladders a nearly insurmountable challenge.

The winding path to the vault made his vision swim. Several times he had to drop to his hands and knees and crawl, unsure of his ability to stay upright on the rail-less path. It twisted out from the rock wall to where his vault stood, neatly balanced on a dozen thick columns that braced it above the great drop. Although the prospect of dying from the disease was a bad one, there were ways to get around it... ways far preferable than throwing himself off the walkway. That was messy, far too messy, an ending full of fear. Undignified for a man of his status.

Only rote memory got him through the final door, his fingers somehow remembering what his exhausted mind could not summon, and he collapsed to the floor just inside the vault's door, chest heaving harder with every cough. The blood was beginning to come now, staining the cloths he brought vainly to his mouth.

But... he had arrived. As the coughs shook him, he managed to hit the final blue button and heard the wonderful, wonderful sound of the door sliding closed. And once that particular coughing fit left him, weak and shaking but finally able to think beyond the twisting in his lungs, he sat up and looked around the room, licking his lips.

The firemarble light shone all around him, glinting off of his treasures, the beautiful things it had taken his lifetime to amass - and the lives of a few hapless underlings, time and again. Gold in piles that had long since overflowed the original boxes, jewels that glinted in the light of his carefully placed firemarble lamps, and... the art. Rugs soft as a woman's hair, fine pottery with exquisite curves. The treasure of a dozen Ages.

His last linking book to D'ni sat in the back of the vault. It was perched on a stone pedestal, surrounded on two sides by more boxes full of treasure he valued, yet lowly enough to not warrant a place in his sumptuous personal display. But the book - no, the book was different now. With a shaky grip he took it from the pedestal, leaning heavily against anything he could to keep himself steady. He made his way haltingly back to the front of the vault and settled heavily down onto a soft cushion. It gave beneath him gently as he sat, his fine robes swirling around him. A nearby chest of jewels became a table, in a pinch.

He opened the book and placed it on the crate, leaning backwards against a pillar for support as the coughs came again. This time the handkerchiefs could not contain the rush of blood and mucus, and it dripped down his front, leaving wet stains on the fine cloth. Kadish shuddered, but ignored the sudden burning in his throat and tightness that twisted through his every movement.

The linking panel glowed before him, and his hand reached out as if of its own accord, fingers unfolding above it, ready to touch...

No.

He pulled his hand back with an effort, as if fighting with someone other than himself for control of that limb. He would die in the Gallery if he went, his body a twisted desecration of everything he had sought to show D'ni through that display of beauty and wealth.

No. He would die here. With trembling, sticky hands he fumbled around, at last finding a book. It was a fine volume of commentary on one of the great Ages, and he took the very last page, one free of any writing, and tore it out. A few more minutes of searching revealed pen and ink of the highest quality and craftsmanship, and mustering all of his concentration, Kadish began to write in a clean, flowing script. He had to stop several times because of the coughs, twisting violently away lest his pen slide ungracefully across the page, or his blood splatter and stain it.

Finally, it was done. An odd feeling of pride suffused him as he read over the note one last time, his last accounting to D'ni and the Maker. So many of the people of D'ni had died like animals in the street - yet here he was, safe amongst his treasures. At least he had dignity.

Kadish settled back against the crates one last time, breathing as best he could through a throat that burned like fire, into lungs that twisted as if knotted by some great hand. With one hand he dropped the pen; with the other, he fumbled inside his robe for his final treasure.

The bottle gleamed in the light of the firemarbles as he held it up. It was crafted of the purest glass, etched in a simple yet tasteful design. Within was the most precious thing of all - a few sips of a liquid that seemed to glow from within, like a pure, clean-cut gem. He had brought it from his other Age, hoarding it away from the others, keeping it safe for his use and his use alone.

Books will be your stronghold, and then you will die... but darn the Watcher, for Kadish at least would not die of the plague. He fumbled the bottle open; the aroma of the liquid rose up like that of a rare flower, and he breathed it in.

Kadish looked over all his treasures, and over the note. He laid the note gently on the floor next to his Book, and leaned forward, gazing deep into the linking panel. No movement - good. The rebels would not have Kadish Tolesa.

The rim of the bottle touched his trembling lips, and the liquid tumbled in. He held it in his mouth for a moment, savoring the bitter tang as he had once tasted fine wines.

Then he swallowed.

It took effect quickly, as promised. The fire in his throat gave way to blessed numbness that flowed through his veins. He flopped limply forward onto the gorgeous carpet as the pain drained away. "Yahvo... take me. Take D'ni," he mumbled, or tried to.

And was no more.

He knew nothing of the woman who first broke through the protections he had set, who would read his note years later, her eyes wide in disbelief at the words revealed to her, nor of the outsiders she brought that would invade the cavern and unlock Kadish Tolesa.... or of how that woman would one day place pen to paper and use the Art in a way Kadish himself only dreamed of and copied palely, and change the flow of his story...

But that is another tale. Shorah.

_________________
I still love my umbrella! :D

Sosiqui in Cavern


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 Post subject: Nice, Sosi...
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 11:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:49 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Wyoming
Real nice Sosi... :)

Let's see some more ... ;)

earthwiz

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Earthwizard - KI # 01555592 - The Ageless Explorer's Hood
D'ni Digest | AoG | Guild of Cartographers


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