I had a dream. There was a bird, it was flying in the sky. Without a warning it started to rot from inside. It became completely disintegrated when an egg just dropped from it. The egg fell on the ground and a lot of smaller versions of the bird came out of it. Then... A flash...
I heard someone speaking near me but the sound seemed like so far away.
- Gaflhshl he huauhfsha legend aushelopth rising-
I heard only some of the words. I couldn't make any sense of them.
I managed to open my eyes although most of my body was asleep. First I had to adjust to the light, and then I found out that I was on a transport wagon. I saw someone walking around me doing something.
- Oh, you're awake! - An unknown voice said.
- Huh... What's going on? Halnau?-
- I almost taught you were dead. - The unknown voice again...
- Halnau please stop, I'm really thirsty... What's going on? - I said still asleep trying to stand up. - Why can't I walk...? I need to get to the bottom of this madness...
- Alright, just lie down and relax... You're still under shock; everything is going to be just fine. No need to be wired. - This time I managed to figure out that it was a female.
I felt cold hands on my shoulders pushing me downwards. I didn't see the face quite clearly because of the light reflecting from her shiny plates.
I fell asleep again.
When I woke up, I stood up, and then I looked around. It seemed like I was on some kind of a railway. The wagon was filled with stuff but not too much. I saw someone looking for something in a pile of junk. I came closer. She turned around and saw me. She was snow – white, her casing was so smooth and polished, it was almost blinding. Her head mask was made all in one part, it looked weird, most of the mangians in Heka have head masks divided in separate parts. For example: I have two parts on the both side of my head which are joining in the middle, and a jaw part which stands out from my face. She, on the other hand, has a whole mask, and her jaw part is covered, like she doesn’t have a mouth. I guess all Flech mangians are similar.
- Heyy it's you, I taught it was someone else...-
- Who are you? Where's Halnau?-
- I'm Mriasa, I don't know who Halnau is, you've been saying her name all night. By the way, were on a wagon to Flesh.-
- What?? What's going on? What happened?-
- Hah, yeah... You slept through the whole thing... The Krad attacked Lagu, and the rest of the main villages. No one knows why. I found you lying on the street. What happened?-
I just remembered the hit on the back of my head. Memory is slowly coming back to me… Krad… They are the most hated beings on the whole continent. Most of them scavenge at the bottom of the Flesh Mountains. They are the leftovers from the Great War, which was several hundred cycles ago (years). We have fought against them for over a thousand cycles, I don’t remember a time when they weren’t attacking before the peace, a thousand cycles ago. There was a peace only because we lowered their numbers so much, they didn’t have enough people to form an army, if you could call them people. To this day, we don’t really know what do they want, you have to admit that it is really hard to compromise with someone who’s attacking without a reason. They are just mindless entities living to kill mangians. And it looks like now they are at it again. But how? How did they manage to successfully attack all of the villages at the same time? They aren’t known for their tactics. There must be one heck of an organisation to organise some Krad to attack our villages.
- What??? How did the Krad attack the villages? And where's Halnau? I need to find her! How did stuff become messed up like this all of a sudden? - I began to panic.
- Wow, calm down... Here, take this, it'll help you calm down. -
She took some green stuff and put it into my mouth. It had no taste.
But then I taught, all this must be a dream. It seemed most logical to me at the time. Everything became so clear now.
I woke up.
- Aw, dear Nebes what a dream!-
I looked around and I noticed I wasn't at my hut.
I was on the wagon!
- What? What did you do to me?-
- I gave you pracontoolious, it bends reality for you so it makes you feel like you are dreaming! You have to admit it is pretty cool -
- You drugged me!? How could that help? -
- Calm down, that’s just a plant that is given to mangians who are under much stress.-
- Ok… But, don’t do that ever again. - I calmed down.
The path this railway was going slow and was really boring, we were just going through some caves and forests, and I couldn't see much. We were going to a distant Flesh village in the Aure forest. First we need to stop at the bottom of the flesh mountains, hop out of the wagon, and head east by foot through the Aure forest to the village. It shouldn't be too hard.
I spent most of the time talking with Mriasa. She turned out to be pretty nice, not considering what she just did to me. I didn’t even ask her how long I was “asleep”. She taught me some of her fighting skills she learned in Flech. She said that I’m going to need them. Who knows what awaits us in the Aure forest.
We were approaching Flech. After 2 days of a very slow and boring ride we finally came! It was getting very cold as we got closer. It was very misty too, the only thing we could see was the wagon and the rocks that were passing near us. This was an odd experience to me; I have never travelled far from Heka. It’s really cold there, it’s like the total opposite of home. The temperature was so cold that it got to my inner armature. I just squeezed against the wall of the back of the wagon.
Trough the mist, I somehow managed to see something dark approaching us. When it got closer I saw it was a big stone wall, the one I assumed was from Flech. It was big! I couldn’t see the top. It was so smooth, it must have taken them a lot of time to make it.
- Ahhh… Home… - Mriasa said unexpectedly. – I really don’t like it here. That’s why I moved to the jungle... Everything is so silent and calm, but yet so loud and restless. The jungle is a totally different story…
I kept silent, it was too painful to move, my joints have frozen. She was pretty movable though. She jumped on her feet and walked towards the edge of the wagon and looked at me while holding a rod that was coming out of the corner of the wagon.
- Let’s go! We have to move fast, the Krad might be near.-
I have only managed to make one painful sound.
- Come on! Don’t be like that! - She took my hand and pulled me really hard.
Suddenly, all of my joints cracked and they were free all of a sudden. But the pain was still there.
- Don’t worry, you’ll get used to the cold. And we have a lot more to go through the mountain! – She said, and I sensed a little bit of excitement in her voice.
She knew that I would never jump from the wagon on my own so she pushed me from the edge. The ground wasn’t that hard, it was mostly covered with snow, so it broke my fall. Mriasa fell a few meters from me. She just laughed. I was in terrible pain. I managed to stand up and walk to her. Every step hurt like someone was cutting my legs off.
- Heyy, what’s the matter? Well it isn’t that bad, is it?-
- Need food and heat…- I said with every word like a cannon blasting trough my chest.
- Don’t worry, I have something that just might help you! We just need to go a little lower, where we will set up camp.
Crossing the rail, we were going away from the big wall. She pointed me to a place she wants to set up the tent. It was a small flat rock that was emerging from the steep mountain beneath us. Good thing that there was more sliding through the snow than walking. During the way, I was in half consciousness, the pain from the cold was so big, I just wanted to rest… All of a sudden we were there and the tent was up. I heard Mriasa say something.
- Come on! I taught you wanted to rest.-
I walked towards her. I saw the entrance, it was so small that I needed to crouch to barely fit in. It was pretty big and comfortable inside. The walls were made from leather, sticks and some kind of fibber. The sticks were holding the whole thing, the leather was the outer layer of the walls and the fibber was inside, between them was something soft and warm. There wasn’t enough space for me to stand in it, but it was enough for four mangians lay in it comfortably.
After me, Mriasa came in closing the door after her. She took off her back pack and started searching it. She grabbed an old lantern and a dish. She put the lantern in the middle of the tent and put the dish on top of it.
- You’re gonna love this! - She told me.
I was so desperate that I would take anything she would give me to eat.
I looked at the lantern and I noticed it was a little strange-looking, it had the place with glass and where the fire should be just like any other lantern, to make light, but this one had some little pipes that connect the bottom and the ring that was above everything.
She turned a key like thing that was in the bottom of the lantern, and fire burst from the ring. I felt precious heat wrapped around me and filled the whole tent. She put something meat-looking in the plate and it startedtо hiss.
- This is a big aure worm. - She said unexpectedly, - It lives within the trees of the Aure forest, it is delicious!-
Even though I was feeling much better, I wasn’t able to say anything. I watched the brownish worm tumble around on the plate, it looked anything but delicious. The wind began to decline. At last, everything was quiet, and I was able to start thinking properly.
- Here, I think it’s done. It will help you.-
She gave the plate to me which was still very hot, but I didn’t mind it due to my half frozen body. I grabbed the worm and put it into my mouth. When I bit it, hot tasteless juice filled my mouth, as I swallowed, I felt heat go down my neck and spread trough my body. I was able to speak again.
- Aaand? - She asked.
- More! This is great! –
- Well… You are going to wait till we descend to the forest to get more, cause, it was kinda the last one I had… -
- How come I never heard of those?- I asked.
- Well… I don’t know, nobody eats them down in the forest, and they are pretty rare, so… yeah.-
- And, how come the cold doesn’t affect you in any way? –
- I’m a Flech mangian, we are good in resisting the cold. We were made to overcome extreme temperatures. –
- Hmm… Nice…-
- Now, we need to sleep, we won’t be able to in the next three days. –
- Huh? Why won…-
- SLEEP! – She interrupted me.
She swiftly pulled out some sleeping bags from her backpack.
- Pick the one that fits your size.- She told me while she was sliding into her bag.
- Ahh… sure…-
I picked one by random which turned out to be just the right size. They were made from some hard cloth, it seemed that the threads were like some wooden material. But it was really comfortable.
Although I was extremely tired I couldn’t seem to fall asleep, I was thinking about all the things that happened lately, how did everything become so complicated so fast? And who knows what is waiting for us in the jungle. Everything is ok as long as we don’t bump into some Krad.
I wanted to go back to Heka with Halnau.