“Holy is the land which streams of purple flow... Warm sun to soften heart and green trees to cool spirit. Much animals for food and home. Great is our creator Exo, that has given these things and great are these things that have been given. A new life has shown its face on our home. Exo shows me dreams; they will bring giant monsters of destruction to steal life of planet. I send three warrior brothers Tong, Gʉgu, and twin brother Tobyner to wait and watch from trees. They speak of flying demons that screamed and hissed, broke trees and poured denizens from its mouth. I know not the meaning of this, but; holy is the land which streams of purple flow. We must protect our home; may Exo bless us...”
A wrinkly set of violet-shaded hands closed a journal, a weary old man attached to them. His hair an ashy violet-gray with random braids and beads throughout, to go with his complimentary long beard. Necklaces, bones, bracelets and other various trinkets adorned him from head to toe. He leaned heavily on his ornately carved staff and heaved himself to a stand, the trinkets of his garments and staff clattering like a windchime as his tattered robes flowed all around him.
The flap to his yurt peeked open and a warrior with a red mohawk and tattoos stood presently. “Time to meet.” He said, then turned and left. The old man with a sigh, turned as well and lulled his way over to leave his tent. Outside, an entire tribe of Hurujians awaited his address. Men, women, and children all sat with baited-breath for what their elder had to say. Elder Muche, straining to raise his hands while all his trinkets danced around him, moved them downward slowly to hush the commotion as to speak without interference. He strode softly over to the fire where one of the village children brought him up a small log to sit.
“Thank you, child.” Elder Muche said while patting the toddlers head before he ran back to his friends. “Fellow Hurujians, word has rose of a new face to our planet. This is true. Warrior Tobyner has told me of two flying beasts that block out the sun in the woods near our village that spawns warriors from their mouths. One of the monsters is down and they have left it. They also took his twin brother Gʉgu. We cannot let them hurt our family; we must return them home. Tobyner, gather three warriors to send for him, four warriors to scavenge their dead monster, and you shall stay here with me for discussion.” Tobyner shot a disgruntled look and quickly stormed off, while elder Muche stayed focused on the crowd. “Don’t fret, my people, we will learn of these newcomers and their ways. We will return Gʉgu and we may even live in harmony with these foreigners, if that be Exo’s will. We should all take time to pray twice during each prayer today to help ensure success.”
Elder Muche turned to leave for his yurt. Even with his confident, relaxed speech, he couldn’t help but to have all the dreams he had been having rattling the back of his mind. He slowly entered his yurt and shortly after Tobyner followed.
“Why can’t I go!?” snapped Tobyner “We should attack them for taking a prisoner!”
“Which is why you stay here.” remarked Elder Muche. “They are in new land, they are scared. We are scared. You and your brothers are too impatient for delicate situation.”
“I already sent my other brother.” Remarked Tobyner slyly while elder Muche shook his head with a dissapointed look.
“Then I pray to Exo that Tong’s example to his younger brothers won’t be too harsh.” Muche abrasively muttered, realizing at what was about to happen. Tobyner bared his teeth at the elders back and briskly left the elders yurt.
In the woods, Tong led his group of warriors out to the edge of where they had last run into the foreigners. There he was, Gʉgu was still bound and on his knees while a small group surrounded him. They had features practically just like the male Huru, but their skins were all different hues of pink and brown. They all had the same identical gray clothes but with different trinkets on their chests and arms. They had some sort of protective armor that wasn’t handmade or personalized and they all held a device in both hands the size of their torsos.
One of the men with green eyes and short chestnut hair approached Gʉgu and started speaking to him while Tong and his crew watched from the tree line.
“Ooo, Ah, Ooo.” stated the man while crouching.
“Me Hʉru.” Gʉgu spat quickly, showing disgust at being bound and treated like an animal.
“Oppa, bell eem gong too as ooo on’t oh eenlish, eem …" The man looked to be trying to explain something to Gʉgu and right when he was finished;
“EAT ME!” Gʉgu suddenly burst through his bonds and lunged at the man. *BANG!*
Gʉgu’s lifeless body hit the hard ground. Tongs’ eyes dilated and welled up while time stopped... everything was in slow motion; Tong couldn’t even see what was going on through all the childhood memories that started invading his mind, the man with green eyes started yelling at his men, his voice fading to background as the torrent of thoughts increased and Tong unconsciously rose his arm, spear in hand. He thought about how his two younger brothers looked so much alike. Their red hair in comparison to his sandy brown. How they grew up and even got matching tattoos to confuse the girls. The identical smiles...
Tong loosed his spear and struck true into the chest of one of the men.
“El am!” Shouted the man with green eyes. When the man went down, Tong ordered his men to attack and they charged forward in a race of fury.
“Openahh!” Shouted the man with green eyes. The group of men swiftly turned to the Hurujians and gunned them down in the flash of a second. After some discussion amongst themselves, they set off and left the area. Tong, bleeding profusely from a gun wound in his stomach, finally woke from the shock of the bullet impact. He had no idea how he had got injured or from what. He just knew that whatever they were all holding was some kind of weapon and that he was losing too much blood to be able to make it back to the tribe. He clawed his way over to where they were initially hiding in the tree line and left this symbol to be found;
After many hours had passed, Elder Muche started to worry about the rescue party and decided to send out a search party to retrieve them. In the meantime, he stayed praying in his yurt for guidance. Gasps and whispers soon filled the camp as the search party arrived. Elder Muche left his yurt to see what all the commotion was about when he was met with the bodies of the rescue team. He bowed in respect to the fallen and pursed his lips at the disappointment in himself for letting such a tragedy occur in his village.
“I told you!” Tobyner came from the crowd, the veins in his head popping form the intensity of his screaming, while tears started in his eyes.
“Tobyner...” Elder Muche started.
“No! I knew we should attack! This is your fault!”
“Tobyner...” Muche tried to speak softer.
“You said it would work and pray twice! What good is to pray when I could’ve been there!?” Tobyner cried hysterically.
“Tobyner, Exo works in mysterio...”
“DAMN EXO!” Tobyner snapped.
“NOW LISTEN HERE!... BOY!” The elder boomed. It wasn’t often he had to show such authority, especially to one as old as Tobyner. He was never this condescending, but the man needed it. “The only reason you’re alive is because I kept you here! You’d be dead too because of your rashness!”.
Tobyner hung his head and bit his quivering lip in disappointment. Muche approached him and laid a hand on his shoulder. “Tobyner, I understand... I lost my brother when I was much younger than you. Don’t be a fool. Honor your brothers by helping the tribe as they would have.”
“How would you know what they wanted?” Tobyner shrugged Muche’s hand off his shoulder and exited his yurt. The elder sat down and let out a sigh of frustration while he placed his cheek in his hand and tears collected in his eyes. He worried about Tobyner and the rest of tribe. He contemplated about what would become of them and how this event would affect future interactions with the foreigners. He stared off into nothingness when one of the warriors opened up the flap door.
“Elder... When we go to save our brothers...” He paused for confirmation of the conversation.
“Yes?” Encouraged Muche.
“Both groups dead elder, but Tong left message. Mark of demon... also, they took the body of warrior Zuk and his godstone...”
“Thank you.” Muche nodded and the warrior left. The demon mark originated from the first tribes of the Hurujians. Before they invented a written system, it was a way to mark areas of evil, danger, enemy territory and other “no-go" zones. It was also used for dark rituals, branding betrayers, and other nefarious activities, so the hurujians avoided areas with the symbol at all costs. “And why did they take a body of a warrior?” Muche thought to himself. After some time alone with his thoughts, he left his yurt to address the village.
“Fellow Hurujians, as you know, our tribes have met distress with foreigners. Some of you have met with loss. However, I still wish to settle things in a peaceful matter. This does not mean we will lose our homes. We will stand our ground and not let these outsiders take our home from us. We will send off scouts to the other nearby tribes to ask for help. We will band together with enemy tribes if we must, but right now I wish for peace among us all. I ask that we all go to temple for a ritual and pray to Exo for the success of our treaties.”
The tribes in the village slowly collected and left for their temple, a large hill that had a wall bore in and stairs leading down, with an adobe chimney sticking out of the top. The underground temple was very well lit, holding beautiful humming violet crystals they called “godstones” in sconces strewn all about the interior. They all gathered around in a circle, putting more of the violet crystals in the center, and began their prayers.
Above ground, Tobyner wandered around the empty village, pacing with the frustrations of all the different emotions.shewanted to kill every last one of the foreigners, yet she wanted to prove to Elder Muche that she was able to be a leader and make decisions. she paced back and forth the span of the village for some time until she saw a bright flash engulf the sky. A massive sound shook the very earth around them. All the hurujians in the temple poured out into the village to see what was going on. A bright streak of fire in the distance was heading straight for the planet.
Onlookers were struck with awe as this sign in the sky came directly in the middle of their rituals, while others thought of it as a bad omen. A great chatter rose within the community of conflicting opinions which soon had the entire village in an uproar.
“Brothers! Sisters!” Elder Muche shouted trying to calm the storm that was before him. Some of the gossip started to quiet as he continued to speak.
“There need be no worry. Clearly Exo has sent us a sign. Good or bad, it is a sign. We know we need to prepare. That is all we need to know. Our creator knows what’s best for us, so everyone prepare for battle, now that the ritual is done.”
“But we weren’t done!” commented a worried tribsemen.
“Exo seems to disagree.” Muche replied, creating some chuckles in the crowd. “Everything will be fine brothers and sisters, trust in Exo. Prepare for battle as I said and we wait for word on other tribes. Hopefully they send warriors to help... Tobyner?” Muche looked around the crowd. He caught eyes with him and called him forward. “I want you to go find the sky fire.”
Tobyner looked at him confused from receiving such a responsibility after such a harsh encounter with the elder. Elder Muche hoped that the little escapade will give him some much needed encouragement after being so hard on him. Tobyner looked up at elder Muche and smiled with tears in his eyes with the thought about getting the opportunity to help after everything that had happened. she nodded and left presently to collect his warriors.
“Everyone else; collect provision and gather your things, it’s time to move the tribe.” Elder Muche finished and hobbled off.
All the Hurujians dispersed and started to pack up their yurts and any supplies they could take with them for the journey ahead. Tobyner gathered his select group of men to find the sky fire and went to Elder Muches to announce his leave.
“Elder...” Tobyner said in a hushed voice while opening the flap to Muche’s yurt.
“Come in Tobyner.” Replied Muche in a welcoming tone.
“Elder, I have my men. I am also sorry...” she was interrupted by Muche’s warm voice.
“Tobyner, I understand... You have suffered loss and you may not see, but much of the village people look up to you. You are a god man Tobyner, rash at times, but good.” Muche smiled. “Do not let the death of your brothers sullen the idea of yourself. You are of great help to the village. You are always looking for a way to strengthen the tribes and always thinking of the induvial people. The people have always loved you Tobyner, do not feel out of circle. You stand to be a great leader one day. I’m sure your brothers will be proud.” Muche said with a warm smile. Creasing all the wrinkles in his face.
Tobyners eyes filled with tears again as she kneeled down and bowed to his elder. “...and I would hope I can prove to them and you, elder, that I am worthy of that honor.” she couldn’t believe that the Elder would consider him for such a responsibility, especially after his behavior and the death of his brothers after the failed operations. he truly was a loving leader.
Elder Muche rested his hand on Tobyner’s head. “Then go, find the sky fire and tell us what you see. I am telling the village to move. We will go to the other edge of the jungle by the field of sleeping blooms. The flowers will help provide protection from any outsiders and we can make many weapons and potions.”
Tobyner stood tall and gave Muche a serious look. “Yes, Elder.” and swiftly exited the yurt.
After leaving, she took his gathered men and set forth from the village to find the sky fire. They were armed to the teeth. Most of the men carried multiple weapons like swords and hatchets, while some adorned spears and slingshots. Even Tobyner carried multiple spears on his back and a sword on his hip of intricately carved bone, clearly a ceremonial gift. Their armor was made from the carapaces and bones from the giant insects and other fauna that also called the planet home. They lived at one with the natural inhabitants of the island and they respected and used every bit of what they hunted, as was Exo’s will. Their interwoven tribal tattoos on their bodies, abstractly displaying their honorable victories against the beasts and other tribes, was an aesthetic representation of the planet itself and their connection to all things. The lifeforce.
The Hurujians, being a very spiritual and respectful race that believed in the love and honor of all things, even took their spirituality to the battlefield. Blessing and praying for their warriors and scouts, tribes even taking medical care of each other's wounded enemy warriors during a war so families weren’t broken and each tribe lost as little people as possible. The respect among the Hurujians was astounding.
“Funny smell.” one of the scout members noted after hiking a few miles in silence. Tobyner took intermittent whiffs of the air and could notice a faint peculiar smell every now and then, riding the wind.
“Getting close.” Tobyner replied and pointed to usher the men forward. After a couple more miles the group of men started looking around at one other while smacking their lips and licking them.
“Strong.” Mentioned a scout member, making a funny face.
“...and thick... like rain.” Piped in another that was pinching his fingers together, noting the humidity.
“Like fart” The last scout cracked. They all broke into suppressed chuckles. The meteor was obviously close, the thick pungent smell of sulphur and celestium permeated the area and was causing the air around it to thicken.
“That’s enough.” Tobyner barked sharply, trying to suppress a giggle and be serious. They all finished their chortling and pressed forward. Soon, the air became like a blanket with the intense humidity and the rising fog. The smell was far exceeding only moments ago and two of the men were starting to gag.
“So bad!” One of the members lurched, his eyes welling up.
“Exo, why!?” Exclaimed the other, while stuffing wads of cloth up his nostrils, tears running down his face. Tobyner and the other scout could hardly contain their laughter.
“Not so bad.” said the unphased scout standing next to Tobyner, while chuckling.
“Zurk, fart-lover." One of the crying scouts laughed and theatrically bowed toward him. The man sarcastically pretended to draw his sword and they all broke out into laughter and continued banter while they moved on.
It wasn’t too much longer when they came to a clearing that was created by the impact of the meteor. Everything around it was torn asunder. The men approached the clearing and after a few moments of looking around to make sure it was safe, decided to have a closer look. They arrived at the edge of the crater and the hole was massive, at least the size of a football field. At this point, all the men were feeling very sick from being in such close proximity to ground zero.
“It’s a rock?” Gagged one of the members.
“It’s not rock.” Whispered another through his coughing, while elbowing him.
“If it was rock, why we sick?” Inquired the third.
“Yes...” Tobyner got lost in his thoughts while them men indistinctly bickered behind him.
Back with Muche, the village had already started moving and was making their way to the field of sleeping blooms. Elder Muche sat in a makeshift wheelchair that the village had invented for him, while the village children all took turns in pushing him. Muche loved this time, he got to see all the children gathered in one place, he loved to see how they worked as a team to accomplished “the great task set before them”. He chuckled. He cherished that he got to talk with them and get to know them. He loved to get to know and understand all the children, for one day, they would be the adults that ran the village.
“Oh, wow Father Muche! Look at the beautiful flowers!” One of the children exclaimed while they all ran forward, leaving the one child behind that was currently pushing the elder.
Muche smiled at the thought of the child stepping up and taking the responsibility of continuing to push him, even though he heard the great sigh the child gave when his friends ran off without him.
“Boy, I have a very important task for you.” Mentioned elder Muche. The boy stopped pushing him and walked to the front of the wheelchair to respect his elder while being spoken to. “Those flowers are quite dangerous, so I have commissioned you with the important job of warning your friends not to get too close.” He said in a very serious tone. The boy looked at him with disdain at getting more tasks, then brightened to a smile when he realized what the elder was doing for him and he darted off to play immediately. Elder Much watched the boy run off yelling towards his friends, every wrinkle on his face smiling.
He sat there in his chair, motionless, as the tribe moved forward and started setting up camp. “Seeing them all work together, smile, love and embrace one another, this is exactly why I wanted to be elder.” He thought. A tribeswoman noticed Muche sitting alone in the background admiring his people and approached him with a grin.
“All alone.” She giggled. “Let's get you back to the family.” she said while getting behind him and starting to push.
“My favorite place.” Elder Much warmly replied with a grin. He stared off into thought as she wheeled him back to camp.
Meanwhile at the meteor, Tobyner and his scout party had been praying on the course of action they should take. They were all very fatigued from the journey and now they were all getting sick from the prolonged exposure to the area. Tobyner called them all out of their individual prayers to see if anyone had received guidance from Exo.
“Exo didn’t speak.” Said one of the members.
“I heard nothing too.” Mentioned another.
“I have no words.” Replied the last.
Tobyner sighed. “I also have none. We cannot stay here though. We may die. We will carve mark of demon in places around rock and go home to tell Elder.” All the men agreed and they separated to go carve the marking on trees and other nearby objects. While they were carving, one of the men got curious and started to make his way toward the meteor. As she got closer, she pressingly got sicker and his pace toward the meteor slowed.
One of the other scouts noticed his comrade approaching the giant rock and started to yell for the others while running for his mate. As she got closer to his friend, she started salivating and feeling weak all over as though she had the flu, his run slowing to a trudge. The other scouts and Tobyner approaching on the edge of the scene saw their comrade slowly and sickly going towards the meteor. Up ahead, they witnessed the other scout she was trying to save, profusely vomiting and coughing up blood, yet still trying to claw his way on his stomach to the meteor.
“Stop! No! What are you doing!?” Yelled Tobyner.
“I have to save him!” yelled the man from the pit, attempting to crawl closer to his friend.
“Come back! Please! Both of you!” Tobyner implored with passion.
“Please Tobyner, I must!” Argued the scout chasing his comrade with tears in his eyes and blood-stained lips.
“He’s already gone! Come back!” It cut Tobyner to the core to have to say that, but she didn’t waste any time, she drove his toes into the ground and blitzed toward the man.
“Tobyner!” The other scouts rushed after their leader.
“I can get him! I can make it!” The man screamed while watching Tobyner rush toward him, continuing to scrape his way to his motionless comrade through his coughing fits. Tobyner paused for a moment, threw up, quickly wiped his mouth, and kept running toward his man.
“I’m sorry!” Tobyner pounced on the man and started to drag him back toward the other scouts. The man fought viciously through his weakened state, growling, biting, and screaming while all the men gathered to restrain him. After enough time passed fighting restraint, the scout had exerted himself to exhaustion and fainted.
“We need to get back to the village now.” said Tobyner briskly and all the men quickly gathered their things and set off for the designated meeting spot.
Back at the village, the hurujians had set up much of the yurts already and some of them were already tilling the land and out foraging and gathering supplies. Elder Muche was sitting underneath a canopy in his makeshift wheelchair while simply observing his people at work.
“Elder!” a small group of women came approached the elder from the tree line.
“Yes mothers, how may I help?”
“We were in the sleeping bloom field gathering flowers and berries when we saw someone in the distance.” Replied one of the women.
“Another tribe?” Inquired Muche.
“No. We think the outsiders.”
“Describe them, please.”
“Their skins were bright and dark, all kinds of colors. All their clothes are the same but their decorations are different. They had armor and carried some kind of weapon? I’m sorry we couldn’t see more elder.” Explained another of the women.
“You’re fine and your help is greatly appreciated.” Muche said softly and the women left with their baskets back toward the village. Muche started to worry about the location of the camp and if it was a wise decision. Surely the flowers would help protect them, but only to a certain degree.
When disturbed, the plants release a cloud of blue bioluminescent toxin that would put most to sleep and if threatened, the plant will fire thorns at the disturbance that can be enough to be lethal. Over the years, the Hurujians have built a tolerance to this and use the plant to their advantage in hunting, war, medicine, and other various uses. One of these uses involves planting a perimeter around the camp to use their clouds as notification of intrusion or even incapacitate an intruder with thorns.
As Muche had saw before, the villagers had already started tilling some of the land around the edges of camp and knew that this was the elder’s idea from the start and were happy to oblige. However, Muche was worried about this encounter. They had never met anything other than other Hurujian tribes. Most didn’t believe other life even existed.
Muche was worried about how this would impact the village. They had no idea the knowledge of these outsiders, where they came from, what their motives were, the whole scenario was nothing but questions and Muche had no idea had to prepare for the encounter except to stick with his beliefs and to prepare for battle if necessary.
After a couple hours of dwelling in his thoughts, chatter arose in the village again and just as he was about to stand, he saw Tobyner and his men arriving one man short, and carrying the other.
“He needs help!” Shouted Tobyner, struggling to carry his fellow warrior.
“What happened!?” Exclaimed Muche while getting up and hobbling to them as fast as he could.
“We don’t know! We found the sky fire and there was a giant rock that makes us sick! It’s evil, Elder! Yelled the other man carrying their comrade.
“Tend to him... Tobyner, come with me and tell me everything.” Elder Muche turned away toward his canopy and Tobyner follwed.
“What happened?” asked Muched as they approached his chair and he daintily placed himself.
“We found the sky fire. It was a giant rock that fell from sky and destroyed much of the jungle. It made us very sick, it smelled of fart and godstone. One of the men kept approaching it until it killed him. I don’t know if that’s pride or he went mad. The hurt one is the man that tried to save him.” replied Tobyner.
“What else?” Muche implored.
“I saved him... it felt like dying, from the inside. I coughed up blood and my sight was blurry. My chest still makes hard breathing.” Tobyner hung his head, vividly recollecting the horrific scene.
“Is that all?” Munch softly asked.
“Yes, it was marked with demon sign and we left.”
“Good, help go look after your warrior and I will think and pray to Exo with what you have told me. Thank you, Tobyner, I know that must’ve been hard. Prepare yourself though, for harder times await our presence. We have noticed the outsiders near our camps, some of the women out foraging saw them.” Elder Muche started twisting his beard while looking down and drifting into thought. Tobyner nodded and left presently back to check on his man.
When he arrived to the tent that his warrior was staying in, the man was lying on a makeshift cot with a wet cloth on his head, still unconscious. His breathing was shallow and raspy and all Tobyner could think about was how she didn’t start running to him sooner. A tribeswoman came into the tent and saw Tobyner standing over his comrade.
“What happened to him?” She asked softly.
“I don’t know.” Tobyners words disappointingly fell from his lips, while hanging his head. “What’s wrong with him?” she asked the woman.
“...I don’t know...” She hung her head as well, hurting that she couldn’t give him an answer about his friend. “I wish I knew, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s not your fault... what’s your name?” Tobyner inquired.
“Choxexuhe.” Replied the woman.
“That’s beautiful, I love flowers.” Tobyner replied warmly. “It’s not your fault, these things happen. Thank you for taking care of him.” He placed his hand lightly on her shoulder to which she placed her hand over top of his.
“I’ll do my best, I promise.” Choxexuhe ensured.
“Thank you, Choxexuhe.” Tobyner shot her a grin and turned to leave the tent and just as she was about to exit, turned back to Choxexuhe, rubbing the back of his head and shakily said; “... After I gather the warriors and let them know of the plans, I don’t have any duties... I could help you till the area around your tent? As payment for helping my comrade, of course.”
Choxexuhe blushed and giggled to herself at someone noticing her. “Yea, I could use the help since I’ll be tending the wounded most of the day.” She said smiling.
“Good!” Tobyner exclaimed then awkwardly left in a hurry. Still, she was proud of himself for putting himself out there. she had never had a relationship before, but big changes were happening in the tribe and to him, so she figured to try and insert some changes himself. It felt good to have something positive finally happen after everything that had commenced in the past few days. This was exciting.
However, she couldn’t help but to think of what Elder Muche told him. The idea of a race that they had never met or even heard of frightened him. Everything was changing so fast around him. It was only just the other day that his brothers died and it already seemed like an eternity. What would become of the tribe? Of him? Elder Muche? Choxexuhe? His mind raced violently around all the questions. “One thing at a time.” she thought to himself. “I need to gather the warriors...
Art by Sam Cheroske
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