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|A tribe walk along the frozen lands of Maniho, accompanied by a powerful wizard. They reach a rich town, but find out time was frozen in ice. All that remains are the people, locked away in blocks of cold ice. A terrible spell was put on all of Maniho, a spell done a creature terrible and evil.||
The Sixth Land
A gentle breeze whispered through the giant trees of the Myrmidon forest. Sweet warmth reigned in the beautiful world. The suns shone brightly. In the center of Myrmidon forest was a vast valley that stretched as far as the eye could see. In this beautiful valley was a large town. Rich houses, shops, towers and a castle full of habitants. Peace and joy lived in each house, shadow and living thing. Children played with dogs. Souriya walked through the streets; she could smell the newly baked bread nestling on the windowsills. As she walked past a house, she saw a new mother tightly holding her newborn child. Souriya breathed in the fresh, warm air that surrounded her, that gave her life. The children ran around her through the streets playing jegah. She smiled as she remembered the days she had spent playing that game. Souriya was no ordinary girl, playing jegah or trying to get the attention of the young men roaming the streets. Souriya would gallop away on her steed to the forest. She would spend her days with Siyo, the feared, but wise wizard. He taught Souriya about the ancient ways, magic and spells. Her day was starting like all her other days. She headed towards the stables to get her horse, whistling a strange tune.
“Whoa, Baknay, calm down boy,” she said to the horse while saddling the beast.
She hoped onto the great back and guided Baknay outside. She gazed up to the sky and noticed the fluffy clouds moving faster.
“Let us go Baknay! We must reach the wizard’s cavern before the rain,” she said.
They rode and rode. The wind began to pick up. The long prairie grasses swayed this way and that in the strong wind. Suddenly, thick, dark clouds crept over the land of Manihot. The four bright suns were soon hidden, swallowed up by the clouds and the land was plunged into a darkness that could not be described. The warmth quickly disappeared to leave its place to an unbearable cold. The crystal-clear water soon froze over and white snow emerged from the clouds. Trees, houses and all living things were instantaneously covered in a coat of ice. The land that had been warm and peaceful only minutes before was no more. An icy wind blew all around, snow twirled everywhere; death was in every corner. Souriya screamed and was thrown off the panicking horse. She landed in the cold snow, buried under it, never to be found again.
May 78th, 5th of the 85th hundredth millennium (1,000,000,000 millenniums later)
“Soumatay! Everybody, we set camp here tonight,” shouted Syconel. Maynah hugged herself to try to keep warm.
“Syconel, it is much too cold to stay here. I do not like the aspect of this place,” she said.
“You worry too much Maynah,” laughed Syconel as he set his heavy pack on the snow-covered ground. Everyone followed his example and started to set up their camp.
Maynah wondered away, not too sure about what she was looking for. Syconel looked up in her direction. He stood and went after her.
“Maynah, I know this place doesn’t suit you but it’s late and the tribe is tired. We cannot go on further tonight. A blizzard is working up so we’d better not venture out too far until we can clearly see our way.” He said laying a comforting hand on her shivering shoulder.
“I don’t trust this place, but I trust your judgment.” She said as Syconel wrapped his arms around her and gave her a hug.
They walked back to the camp. All the tents had been put up and wild fires were roaring in the new fire pits. Syconel looked up to the sky.
“Strange, I’ve never seen such thick clouds in my life. Something is not right.” As he said those words, Maynah let out a scream. She stared into the fire. A face, flesh, eyes, staring right back at her. Syconel jumped up as he saw what she saw. He pulled Maynah away from the fire. He threw some snow onto the fire to put it out. He approached closer to the fire pit and carefully removed the snow. Then he saw it once more. The face, thin features, a small nose, long pointed ears, full, red lips and the eyes, wide opened, staring at him. He backed away, frightened at the sight of the blue body, frozen stiff. Myrrh, a large man, came closer and bent beside the head. He dug around to uncover shoulders, arms, a chest, belly, legs and finally, the feet. The body was clothed of only a thin sleeveless gown that only went to the individual’s knees. Myrrh identified the body to be of female sex. Her long, wavy brown hair rested on her shoulders. Her fingers were long and she wore jewelry on each finger. Her wrists bore hundreds of small bracelets and her neck, dozens of necklaces.
“What a beautiful creature!” said Myrrh. He rushed into his tent to get a blanket.
“ And what are you going to do with that Myrrh? She is frozen to the bone,” noted Syconel.
“She will thaw. But we must use the right method. Cayllion is the answer,” said Myrrh, smiling.
Cayllion stepped out quietly from his tent.
“STEP AWAY FROM THAT AT ONCE!!!” he yelled.
Myrrh, startled, backed way in fear.
“What? Why?” he asked, trembling.
“You would not understand, young one, for you are not of my kind. But I see it, the evil is seeping out of her body. Evil lives within her.” He replied, not taking his eyes away from the girl’s stare.
“Tell us, dear wizard, what is going on here?” asked Syconel.
“Never mind that. Your understanding is not yet pushed enough. Let us leave this place at once.”
At these words, the tribe people began packing away their tents, a sense of urgency pushing at their backs. They worked like ants, quickly and swiftly until all their animals and children were ready to head south.
“Cayllion!” said Syconel, “The weather looks worse in that direction. We are headed straight for the storm, it is insane! We cannot risk our lives by going there yet.”
The wizard spun around and glared deep into Syconel’s eyes. “ Listen to me attentively. If we stay here, our lives are in worse danger.” He turned away without saying another word.
Myrrh wrapped the girl’s body in the blanket he had taken out for that purpose. The wizard had allowed him to do so in order for him to study the mysterious creature. He had already noted some strange characteristics regarding the female. Her pupils were shaped like crescent moons and were a very dark brown color. Her fingers were long and delicate. She had long, muscular legs. Her brown, wavy hair was extremely thick. Nothing he had seen before although he had lived for what seemed to be forever. The girl had a marking on her collarbone. An ancient symbol, one he could not recognize.
The tribe walked on, lead by Syconel. The wizard looked at him from under his heavy hooded cloak. Maynah walked by Syconel.
“The wizard, he is acting very differently, Syconel,” she whispered.
“I know. Look at the sky. We are about to hit the storm. Only a couple hours and we will not be able to see our own feet,” he answered.
Syconel walked at a steady pace, aware of the wizard’s glare locked on him. For hours on end they walked, pushing themselves to the unreachable limit of their capacity.
“Syconel,” said Maynah, “ Looked at the tribe, they are tired. We have got to stop.”
“I know. But Cayllion orders us to go on.”
Hills had seemed to roll on forever, covered by a thick sheet of snow and ice but abruptly a clear horizon could be seen. No more hills. Syconel walked to the edge of the steep hill and realized it was a cliff. He looked down into the dark valley. It was plunged into an eternal darkness that stretched on as far as he could see.
“What is this place?” he wondered to himself.
The wizard stepped up beside him and stared at the sight.
“We must go down there,” he said, and started down the slippery, dangerous mountainside.
“Cayllion! You are mad. We will kill ourselves before we reach the bottom. We have animals, luggage and children to bring with us,” shouted Syconel.
The wizard looked at him, his face was hidden in the shadow of his hood, but Syconel could see the wizard’s red eyes glaring at him.
“I cannot ask my people to risk their lives like this. Do you have any idea what this place is?!” questioned Syconel.
The wizard suddenly spun around and jumped up at Syconel’s level and grabbed his throat.
“DO YOU NOT TRUST ME?” he said forcefully.
Syconel was down to his knees under Cayllion’s pressure on his throat.
“Stop! We will follow you anywhere you want us to,” begged Maynah.
Cayllion let go of Syconel brusquely and headed down the mountain.
“Follow me or die!” he yelled to the tribal people.
They hurried to the edge of the cliff and started down the deadly descent without questioning the wizard’s judgment. Maynah helped Syconel up to his feet. He looked at the tribe, clumsily climbing down the cliff, all helping each other.
“He is trying to kill us!” Syconel said to his sister, Maynah.
Maynah sighed. “ I’m scared Syconel,” she said.
“I know. He has gone mad. Let’s go. I cannot leave my people under his power,” he replied angrily. He took his sister by the hand and led her down the slippery rocks.
Maynah followed Syconel’s footsteps, careful to step exactly where he would step. She peered up at the dark sky and noticed a giant tornado way up high. It twirled slowly but did not come any lower than the clouds. It stayed in one place.
“Syconel, look at that!” she said.
As Syconel looked up, Maynah lost her footing and slipped. She took with her, Syconel. Both tumbled down the cliff, passed the others. The tribe gasped and shrieked. Maynah screamed as bones in her body fractured and broke. Finally they dropped in some deep snow and through the ice into the freezing water. Cayllion hurried down to help them. He grabbed a hold of Maynah. She was unable to swim and was sinking fast into the water because of her heavy clothing. Syconel pulled himself out of the tarn with great difficulty.
“Syconel! Are you well?” Cayllion asked.
Syconel got up slowly; he ached all over but managed to stand up straight but only for few seconds. He dropped to the ground, unconscious. Cayllion motioned to two tribesmen to take care of him. Maynah could not move. She whimpered in pain. Her body shivered violently.
“Hypothermia,” Cayllion whispered uneasily.
Cayllion bent over and smoothly removed Maynah’s soaked clothing. The old wizard gazed at her. He took out from his pack a warm, wool blanket and covered her body. Then he began to examine the damage done to her body. Searching through his bundle, he took out bandages, ointments and strange plants. He worked carefully, applying the liniment to Maynah’s deep gashes. She trembled because of the deadly cold. Cayllion finished putting splints to hold Maynah’s bones in place.
Syconel eyed the wizard fiercely. Cayllion gently lifted the girl and carried her to his mare.
“Shoutnay, you must be careful not to drop Maynah,” he said to the mare as he strapped Maynah to the saddle.
The magnificent mare, which had a coat of a pitch-black color, whined to Cayllion. She looked at him with her dark eyes. Cayllion stroked the mare’s mane.
“Cayllion! What do you think you are doing to my sister!?” exclaimed Syconel, who had regained consciousness. Myrrh helped him up to his feet.
“She is hurt and so are you. You are too weak to care for her. So get back to your things and follow the rest of the tribe. Myrrh, take care of Syconel,” ordered the wizard.
Anger flared in Syconel but he could do nothing. The rest of the tribe followed Cayllion, who had already started to lead them ahead.
Days and nights passed. Still they walked. The tornado swirled above their heads. Maynah’s injuries had nearly completely healed. She and Syconel could lead the tribe themselves. A month had gone by. They had arrived at a forested place. The tribe had stopped very little and hoped to be able to set camp for they could no longer stand sleeping under the clouds. Evening set in quickly that night. The moon shone brightly; for once the sky was not clouded. Cayllion ordered everyone that they would stay in this elfin, wooded area. The icy trees formed a shelter. It was like being in a cave. Little, frozen shrubs sheltered the ground. Snow had not fallen under the leaves of the trees.
Once he had set up his tent, Cayllion unwrapped the body of the creature they had found a month ago. He forbade anyone to bother him and entered his tent. He sat down on pillows and thought. He took out his jade sphere and gazed at it closely. He saw shapes, symbols and people. He closed his eyes and chanted ancient words and spells.
Outside, Syconel and Maynah listened to the mysterious mantra. It went on for hours. The icy wind chilled the two to the bone.
“Syconel, this weather is not normal,” said Maynah.
Syconel nodded. Finally, Cayllion walked out of his tent and sat on a log by the raging fire.
“Cayllion, maybe you could tell us what is going on. Why is it so cold here? Why is the sky so dark all the time? Answer me, you damned wizard!” roared Syconel, his fists raised.
The wizard arose unhurriedly.
“I know you are worried, young one,” he said calmly.
The wind blew ferociously.
“This is aberrant. It’s nothing I’ve seen before. Let’s keep going,” he said.
“Cayllion! Answer me!” bellowed Syconel.
“Calm yourself!” Myrrh said, holding Syconel back.
Syconel was raging inside, but he knew that Cayllion’s powers were far more dominant than his own. He cursed under his breath.
“Come Syconel,” said Maynah, “ You must lead the tribe. Show Cayllion you are not feeble.”
He looked at her and regained strength. Once more he lead the tribe into the unknown. Yet again he felt the wizard’s glare locked on him.
After hours of walking, the clan reached a forest. The trees were enormous. The tribe people looked up and yet could not see the top of the trees.
“Myrmidon Forest!” gasped Cayllion.
“What? What is Mymidon Forest?” asked Myrrh.
“MYRMIDON Forest, you fool!” shouted Cayllion.
The wizard penetrated the forest without adding another word. Syconel caught up to him.
“Why can’t you tell us what is going on?” he asked
“You will comprehend soon enough my boy,” answered the wizard. His tone of voice was very reassuring. Syconel could even swear he saw a smile on the old man’s face.
“Come, you all, Cayllion will guide us through this forest,” he said.
Maynah stepped beside her brother.
“Are you sure this is the right thing to do?” she asked.
“He knows what he is doing. I can feel it,” answered Syconel.
The tribe started into the forest hauling all their belongings.
The Myrmidon Forest trees were covered in a sheet of ice, like the girl they had found. The tree branches twisted up to the sky. Maynah looked around. She noticed an animal on a tree, a squirrel. It was frozen to the tree. Ice had immobilized the poor creature. Cayllion spotted it as well and mumbled something under his breath. The trail had not been used in millenniums. Ice covered plants had some time ago, overgrown onto the trail. Syconel said nothing. He looked at his sister who looked back at him but remained quiet. Nobody in the tribe said a thing. Silence ruled the forest. Children clung to their mothers’ skirts seeking for protection. The crisp air burned their throats. Never had they experienced such cold weather.
In the distance, Syconel could see the exit to the forest. Two torches stood, with their flame frozen on the top, at the exit. Cayllion stopped and gazed at the sight. A village, covered in ice, a lifeless town.
“The villagers,” exclaimed Mynah, “they are all frozen over, like that young woman we had found in our fire.”
“Stay where you are,” ordered Cayllion to the tribe. “ Syconel, Myrrh, and Maynah, you come with me.”
They walked into the uninviting town. House doors were open. Maynah let herself into one of the houses. She saw, at the kitchen table, a motionless family eating dinner. One of the young ones was sneaking food to his dog under the table. She wanted to cry but instead she approached the mother. She was holding in arms a newborn child. Maynah looked steadily into the woman’s iced up eyes. The lady was smiling at her baby. Only God could know how long she had smiled at her child. Maynah sighed. She could not bear to look at the mother or at any of the family members. She walked out onto the sidewalk, careful not to break the villagers that stood there. In every house, children playing, parents arguing, lovers holding each other tightly. On the street, Mynah saw a man, he was in the air, his wings stretched out. He held out his hands toward his young son who was trying to fly. The child’s small wings could not yet hold him up.
“Did you find anything useful?” asked Syconel, pulling Maynah out of her thoughts.
“No, only a family. I cannot believe what has happened here,” she said.
Syconel sighed as he watched the father and the boy Maynah had been looking at.
Cayllion walked up behind Syconel and Maynah.
“I think you two had better follow me,” he told them.
Maynah jumped at the sound of the wizard’s low voice. Cayllion snickered and lead them to a tower. Myrrh stood at the entrance already. They all stepped into the building and followed Cayllion to a chamber. Inside the chamber was a man, sitting at a desk, writing.
“Look at the date on his piece of writing,” said the wizard.
Syconel peered at the journal entry and gasped for this is what he saw:
June 002nd, 00005th of the 1st hundredth,
Toulamay did not accept my gift so she left about a month ago. I could not possibly write during my time of grieve. I knew I had to do so today. I miss her so much. I miss her long, wavy, brown hair. Her laughter, her never-ending cheerfulness, her need for adventure and her smile. She meant the world to me. Now she is gone. I wish I could see her just once more. She hates me though. My life is a misery. I wish I could back up time and do things right. Even the sky, for the first time in years, is clouding over. Strange, it is getting col
It had stopped there. The feather was still in the man’s hand, but he had been unable to finish his sentence. Maynah could not budge. She stood, thoughtfully, trying to understand what was happening.
“Let us go back to the tribe before they worry too much,” said Cayllion.
They walked back to the campground. The tribesmen had all their tents up. They all sat around a roaring fire talking among themselves. Cayllion and the other three joined the group. Once comfortably settled by the fire the men and women asked many questions.
“What has happened here?” asked a hefty woman.
“Why is everything frozen solid?” asked an old man.
Questions came from everywhere. Cayllion stood up and demanded silence.
“I shall explain to you my understanding. The date on a man’s journal we found in a chamber reveals very little. This event has happened millenniums before even my ancestors, millions of generations back, were born. You all know that we, wizards, live for millenniums, we are nearly immortal. Yet nowhere in my ancestors’ journals are there any notes about a frozen place. My studies have sent me just about everywhere on Nymph. I’ve even gone out of our galaxy to visit other planets. Only once in my entire existence have I heard about an extremely cold land and it was said to be a myth. I though the idea of a land freezing over completely was simply absurd. I am unable to read the symbols on the buildings. All this is beyond my knowledge. No living soul has walked upon this ground in ages. I just cannot describe how long ago this has happened. Now I consider the creatures that lived here. They are winged beings. Legends I’ve read mentioned some winged people, but the description was nothing like the actual winged creatures from the village. I must admit I know nothing about these people. I know only that a spell was cast here lifetimes ago. These people lived in a climate that is unknown to all of you. Warmth. Heat. I’ve experienced it in my childhood. Our winters got longer till they remained all year round. I had been told it was the way the weather acted. I made no association with the legends. I feel like a fool. A spell has been cast all over Nymph. You young people were born and raised in a cold climate. You are used to it but these creatures there were not. They were obviously the targets, for their time was frozen in blocks of ice.” Cayllion said.
All eyes were on him. No one spoke a word. The old wizard turned away from all the stares.
“Cayllion, how is it that you know so much?” asked Syconel. “Why did you not tell us what you knew?”
“You would not have understood. You see, this population was unknown to every single one of my ancestors. Nothing was ever mentioned of their being on our planet,” answered Cayllion.
Maynah slowly walked back into the town. She roamed the dead streets.
“Why would anyone want to freeze time?” she wondered out loud.
The villagers seemed to study her every move. Locked away in their tombs of ice, they stared at her. Panic slowly entered Maynah’s body. The faces, frozen, looking at straight at her through their cage of ice, sent chills down Mynah’s spine. A cold wind began to howl a sinister wail. It whispered through the alleys, windows and open doors. It wrapped its bitter arms around her small body and pushed her away from the town. Maynah could not fight the arctic wind that blew against her. Moments later, the wind settled down to a calm breeze. Maynah looked before her. Her jaw dropped as she peered up at the colossal temple that stood in front of her. Fear took over the young woman but when she turned to head back to the town, she realized it had disappeared. Maynah looked about her, desperately searching for the town.
“It could not have disappeared like that!” she exclaimed.
She turned back to the temple and entered the open door. Statues stood on pedestals. They appeared to be some of the great people that had once lived, but how long ago, she couldn’t know. The temple stretched on to an altar. She stepped careful to the frozen altar. A book, left open, lay on the altar top. The words were difficult to read because of the ice covering them.