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Magara, Donthos Sector
? Galactic Year
It was a quiet dream as she saw the past and relished in it. Of warm beds and soft cool waves on the beach. Of floating on clouds and breezing through the atmosphere. The laughter of friends and time gone by. Of days long past and many more to come. Seasons changing, life-changing, all culminated to a focal point of a man’s silhouette, he had blond hair and a strong build but-
Tettra awakened with the feeling of being hung by her feet. Her realization at that broke her concentration, causing her to fall from the ceiling with a gasp. The girl crashed to the bed with an audible squeak before slumping to the floor. A sigh escaped her lips as she lay slumped on the weathered pine floor face down.
“Not again,” Tettra said out loud to no one.
“Sleep casting again? I thought I was over this…” She continued to mumble.
Tettra mentally hit the snooze button but the hard wooden floor was disagreeable after a time. After rolling over several times, stretching and yawning, the floor continued in its irritation. It was a persistent antagonist. She got up in a grouch, flustering angrily.
“I’m going to replace you with pillows!” She huffed poutily. Tettra stood to do her routine stretch.
“Hello, Adonai!” Tettra said to herself.
Silence was her response.
“OK! Talk to you later. He must be away still. All is well, I can wait,” she added.
She wore a two-piece mint pajama buttoned shirt and pants. Her straight shoulder-length hair was of nutmeg color. Her heart-shaped face sported a greek nose with her shamrock eyes being curious and perceptive if a little mad.
She was perky, peppy, and petite, full of energy and life; except when sleep was on the line. She had lightly tan skin due to life on the coast.
She grabbed a quick meal of yesterday’s coffee and eggs and gazed longingly out the window to her kitchen, seeing the whole village and bay area. Her villa was small and comfy, weathered and well lived in. It had a rustic greek feel to it. Tettra lived in the coastal town of Fife and this was a grand day. The village population had reached 301 and she was chosen, due to her abilities, to live in the Basilica Conurbation of Saint Peter. There she would train in the Archaeologist métier to study, collect, excavate, document, and preserve the thousands of artifacts discovered daily. Magara was a planet whose main export was ancient artifacts; historical items long lost to time. This planet was fairly unique in that it was one of the most populated, traveled, and terraformed planets in the galaxy. It was a hub world. Thousands of different civilizations lived here at one point or another. Time would pass and a new civilization would be built on top of the old, creating a layered tier of discovery. New dig sites were found monthly, many hoarding large caches of artifacts. The planet was a series of archipelagoes, peninsulas, riverways, and oceans. Continents were more akin to densely packed islands.
That was her calling.
Nothing fascinated her more than ancient tech, culture, history, and art. Not to mention rumors of antediluvian galactic artifacts or even primordial Earth relics; the oldest known historical category.
If she was adept enough, she could even make a Historian. Her first métier or class was that of an Aeromancer, one who could magically manipulate wind. In this day and age, the human psyche had been fully unlocked, allowing for the casting of magic. Using one’s stamina the same as one would use for running, one could cast spells depending on the type that they were closely aligned with.
After breakfast, Tettra got dressed in a sleeved pastel yellow dress with white frills and a brown belt around the waist. The skirt was poofy pleated and was perfect for today’s weather; sunny and lukewarm. The shoulders were also poofy and the sleeves were buttoned snug against her wrists. She had her hair in a chignon bun, with some of her bangs hanging loose. She wore classic black shoes with top straps, grabbed her weathered leather satchel bag and walked to the door, putting on her white gloves. She almost forgot one thing, her parasol. The girl grabbed her red and white parasol with the brass star adorning the top. Its rod was of brass with a blue shepherd’s crook handle. Tettra opened her four windowed door with gusto, going outside to a brand new day.
“Morning Tettra!” An older lady greeted her with a gruffer voice, pulling a covered cart. It looked like she was on her way back home for an early grocery run.
“Good morning to you misses Abole! Do you need any assistance?” Tettra asked.
“Naoh, my dear. Just a few more blocks and I can get this all prepped. Today is your big day! Besides, can’t let you spoil what’s under the cloth here.” Abole gestured with her neck to the cart she was towing.
“I need to get going, see you later, luv!” Abole finished as she continued towing the cart away at a rushed pace.
“You too! Can’t wait.” Tettra retired the conversation and continued her journey.
“I’m all finished with my errands to move. The address has been changed and the Church will move my belongings. I just need to get to the transport in a few. I wonder what Aboles was going to do?” Tettra had a habit of speaking her thoughts out loud.
Regardless of who listened due to obliviousness. She had gained a reputation of being more eccentric, but it was excused due to her skill. Or was it her skill that made her eccentric? Genius or madness?
“Now, let’s go see my friends one last time. They are at the port where I need to go anyways.” Tettra decided.
She walked down the gentle sloped cobbled street of red brick. The neighborhood was lined with red-roofed villas, spread enough apart where everyone received their own good size plot of land for gardening or other activities. She passed many of her neighbors and said her greetings and valedictions. This day she felt more meandering than anything. She walked down to her favorite overlook.
“Allen and the others should be at the dock today.” Tettra continued to murmur to herself as she made her way to the overlook. There sat a bench and a lone willow tree, swaying upon the gentle ocean breeze. A couple sat on the bench talking to one another. Vacationers by the looks of it. Tettra was going to enjoy this.
She passed the couple as they discussed their life, love, and future plans. Tettra was going add more memories for that couple to talk about. She walked over to the bleached white stucco wall and stood atop it. The breeze of the ocean called to Tettra, asking to dance. She was a good follow. The couple ceased talking and watched in shock as Tettra walked off the fifty-foot sheer drop ledge into a free fall. The woman shrieked as she realized what just happened. The couple made their way cautiously over to the side and see an amazing sight, Tettra sailing on the wind with her parasol. The couple was relieved over this and confused. They could hear the girl speak,
“Sorry! I do that all the time. It was too much to not play a prank!” Tettra shouted.
The couple simply looked on in wonder over the flying mad-girl.
Here Tettra was alive. There was no greater feeling than gathering the wind to dance. She floated over the villas, over the town square, making her way to the docks. Some people waved and she shouted back, holding onto her transportation with both hands as she floated down. The town was built on a hill that depressed slowly to the beach, like a descending ramp. The village was built around easy access to the docks. There she spotted Allen and a few of her friends working the dock. They were hauling crates from a nearby shipping stug. She began her gentle descent towards the dock and greeted them with a shout.
The men at the docks stop and point. One of them took their hat, their face while another turned around. It then occurred to her. She was flying. And wearing a skirt. And just called up to a bunch of men to look.
“Oh dear,” Tettra simply stated.
One of her hands instinctively went to her skirt to wrap around herself, almost losing her grip on the parasol in the process. She almost plummeted but kept her wits. Tettra almost discovered one can be ‘depleted of embarrassment’.
“Ah! Don’t loooook!”
Tettra shrieked as her descent increased and her concentration began to wane. The men on the docks saw her struggling flightpath and began to run around, clearing her landing zone. Tettra came in too fast on the pier, catching the dockboards with her feet into a run as she touched down. She tripped and face planted with a grunt, lying on the docks. She sat up, staring at the men rushing over.
The men on the docks ran to her in a commotion.
“Are you alright?”
“Tettra, don’t go hurting yourself!”
“Dear Tettra, are you alright?”
The last one to finish was an Anform made of brass with hinged joints and a cylinder head sporting two large eyes. They all stopped short of her and were wondering whether to help her or to leave her be. Tettra rubbed her sore rear end before getting up. She closed her parasol with a click, smiling at the men as she strode closer. The smaller dock worker smiled back and walked forward, a mistake on his part.
Tettra flipped her smile upside down; becoming very cross as she whacked the poor dock worker.
“I said don’t look. Allen. You. Are. Very. Rude!” Tettra said in between whacks of her parasol.
“Ow! You’re the one who called to us! Ah! And you wore a skirt! While flying!” Allen stated as he covered himself from the assault.
“That’s not the point! You were all looking at a lady! Improperly.”
“But that’s the poi-gah! It is entirely your fault!” Allen said in between being hit.
“Blame shifter!” Tettra shot off.
“Unreasonable!” Allen fired back.
Tettra gasped upon hearing that last insult.
“Hhhnn! You. Take. That. Back!” Tettra swung her parasol like a sloppy batter and both went to the ground.
They sat up to stare needles at each other as enemies. Everyone else was quiet, the only noise was the gentle sway of water. The slight brush of a breeze. The calling of gale gulls. A steady peace.
They burst out into laughter.
“I can’t believe it. It’s your last day here.” Allen was the first to break up the laughter. Allen had grey overalls and a navy blue shirt with a grey cap. He had red hair, freckles and a missing tooth unrelated to the squabble.
“Yeah, it’s… This doesn’t even feel real. I don’t even know what to say.” She responded.
“Tettra I do believe there is the possibility of saying goodbye.” The Anform stated. It had a tinny voice.
“I know, Gopher. I just… Don’t like goodbyes.”
“Then how about a drink? That always helps me.” The large dock worker replied. He was a great man wearing a white shirt and black slacks. He had a green wool hat and a face full of hair. He had the look of perpetual contentment to him.
“I would love to, Dozer, but I need to get over to transportation soon,” Tettra said.
He just shrugged.
“I’ve already spent most of my time saying goodbye to who I could. The locomotive will pull out in twenty. Will you all walk me there?” She asked. They were her best friends, Allen maybe moreso.
They all answered.
“Besides, we saved our breaks for this, anyways!” Allen stated.
They all begin walking to the transportation. They waved to the dock foreman about their break, he simply waved them off with a grin.
“Dear Tettra, what will you be doing there first?” Gopher was the first to ask.
“Well, They’ll test me again, this time in front of the church council as opposed to the one Bishop. They will then place my rank depending on my skill. I already applied as Archaeologist Assistant, which is something they always look for.”
“Yeah, most of the cargo we dopes lug around is the stuff you guys find, hah!” Dozer added.
“And if I’m half as good as I think I am, and I know I’m better than that, they’ll promote me to lead my own expeditions! Tettra said, beaming with pride.
“I might even make it into a ‘Cardinal’s Retinue’… A ‘Knight Order’…” Tettra went on, daydreaming again.
“Hah! All because the Kansas’ had their seventh child.” Dozer jabbed.
“I don’t make the rules, Dozer, but they’re there for a reason!” Tettra fired back.
Church law dictated that villages would have no more than a population of three-hundred. This was to keep a village small, manageable and most all; social. Everyone knew everyone in a village which kept church culture strong and future generations well raised.
If the population went over, the church was alerted and they would begin recruitment. Anywho desired to leave for prospects or dreams could attend. A bishop would test the best individuals and invite them to a Church city, or even the Basilica Conurbation Saint Peter. Tettra trounced her tests. There were tests on knowledge, general aptitude, intelligence, and the martial.
“Well, of course, you’d be invited, you destroyed the competition!” Allen interjected.
“The way you used a wind spell to blind someone was brilliant! He added.
“Well… Yeah, it was wasn’t it?” Tettra accepted the compliment, not shy of getting recognition.
“Would you be considered being branded as eccentric? There are perks to that as well and you are very eccentric.” Gopher stated. Here response was to whack him in the face with her parasol.
“And those downsides? Everyone treating you so…” Tettra trailed off.
“Godly?” Allen finished.
“Weird!” Tettra huffed.
“I want to be known for my daring, my abilities, and intelligence! My skill with wind and knowledge of the ancient. Not being known as -Oohl- that strange girl over there.” Tettra’s voice dropped to a low pitched mock as she waved her hands limply.
“And chattiness too, don’t forget that, Hah!” Dozer added. He got a whack in the stomach, which more or less did nothing.
“I need to exchange this parasol for a hammer… Or a morning star.” Tettra mumbled absently.
The wind was breezy and warm under the lightly cloudy horizon. The triple suns were peeking behind each other in the sky, A blue dwarf, a yellow sequence, and a red giant. The planet’s orbit was in sync with the suns, giving the suns the appearance they were stacked on one another. The group walked along the docks, the boards lightly squeaking in answer to their footsteps. They passed many different sea and space vessels, most were tug or fisher class ships. Many of them had idle crew, preparing for sailing or some other errand. They greeted the sailors like a procession parade, off to the transport as their final destination.
As they arrived at the transportation docks, there was a banner that said “Best Blessings, Tettra!” Misses Abole was climbing off a ladder after having set the banner at the station. Abole spotted Tettra and shouted,
“Oi, Oi! She’s here!” Abole shouted as she ran off to get the others. As Tettra and her group arrived past the station sign, they were ambushed.
Confetti, horns, and people shouting greeted the group. An orchestra started playing for them. Most of the village was here to see Tettra off. Tettra was in an excited flurry over this. She couldn’t believe the town was seeing her off. People gathered around her and shook her hand, embraced her, laughed with her and generally said their goodbyes. Tettra couldn’t process the throng of people leaving and entering her field of attention. Somehow, she had a glass of village wine in her hand and was toasting to her departure.
“And to Tettra, may her recent success and favor be expanded at Saint Peter!” The village mayor ended his speech with a toast, everyone clinking glasses, mugs, steins, and horns together. Tettra couldn’t remember what was said, but it was probably good, knowing the mayor. There were many spectators here too, so building up the village as a good destination was pretty much his job. Another voice piped up, the speaker unknown.
“Sorry Linus, she got you fair and square!”
There was laughter among the crowd at that.
“Oh, that’s right, he was the one I tried my control spell against…” She mumbled, but it was lost to the crowd’s laughter. Except for Allen who heard it.
“Holy Peter, that was a great fight!” He shouted.
To decide who would find favor with the church and leave for better prospects were entered into a tournament. Some were based on knowledge, puzzles, mazes, and finally a test of combat prowess. All people were by order of The Church to understand, learn, and train in some sort of martial skill. Allen, Dozer, and Gopher all trained in boxing, with each getting the upper hand on the other. Gopher beat Dozer as Gopher never gets tired and is faster. Allen Beat Gopher, usually due to guile and trickery. Dozer beat Allen due to shear strength. Tettra had them all beat with her wind magic. Her last fight involved fighting Linus, the other magician in training who is skilled with fire magic. Tettra’s wind did a good job of stifling the fire and not only preventing it from traveling where it was needed but backfiring on the user. The deciding move was Tettra casting a fraction focus of wind magic to constantly blow hurricane-speed wind into Linus’ eyes, blinding him. There she ended it with a sloppy tackle, knocking him off a platform.
Bishop Lazarus was the Church deacon in charge of recruitment and the event, was impressed by her raw skill and knowledge of her craft. He bypassed her initial training in a host city and invited her straight to the Conurbation. There he would be her patron, assisting her with information, leads for promotions, and even as an advocate for a Cardinal Retinue position. Bishop Lazarus had moved through the crowd, they parted at his presence.
“Blessings on you, father Lazarus.”
“May Adonai guide your steps…”
Many of the crowd murmured. Lazarus would shake a hand or embrace a brother or sister. He had the full Bishop vestments. He wore an outer chasuble made of black and crimson with gold decorative stitching. His under alb was white and plain. The hood was down on his chasuble and his bald head was bare. He wore traveling boots for comfort. His hand was adorned with a gold and obsidian ring, to represent The Church’s’ authority. The inner setting of the ring was inscribed with unknown runes and it glowed subtly. His long cropped beard was well trimmed and propper, which complimented his powerful gaze, strong facial structure, and a hawk nose. In his hand was a stein of the village’s ale. He spoke in a soft, sometimes mumbly tone. He was quiet but steady as a stone.
“Ah, Tettra, you have arrived on schedule. Punctuality is a good trait… Mm, yes.”
“Father Lazarus!” Tettra ran over to him and embraced him. The mug of ale almost spilling, as he balanced the hug and libation. With a soft chuckle, he addressed her.
“Oh, the precious nectar!” He sipped at the side of the stein, uncaring for onlookers as it was the good stuff.
“My dear, you’ve said your goodbyes, perhaps, yes? The locomotive is prepared and leaves when it’s final passenger, you arrive,” He explained to Tettra.
“Only three more to go, blessed father,” Tettra said as she backed away. Allen, Dozer, and Gopher stepped forward.
“So it was you scoundrels that taught my Tettra the… The unorthodox fighting that brought her victory, yes?” Lazarus said with a laugh. He spent the past months enjoying the village life, surveying, and inspecting. He enjoyed watching a good melee and the three didn’t fail to entertain.
“I jest, of course. You two gentlemen and Anform have shown to be good friends.” Lazarus added. They all thanked him and shook his hand. Tettra turned to each one in turn to address them.
“Gopher, thank you. Thank you for being a beacon of reason, for laying out the choices I could make in a logical fashion. You are like a compass.”
“The pleasure has been all mine to serve,” Gopher responded.
“Dozer, thank you for being a strong oak. Especially that time I needed furniture moved… Ahah.” Tettra finished with a sheepish chuckle. Dozer sniffed and smiled.
“And Allen…” Tettra leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. Someone in the crowd whistled.
“Thank you,” Tettra said with a blush. Allen was speechless. She finished with one more comment.
“Get on with it, Allen!” Someone in the crowd shouted. Laughter erupted in response.
“Wait for me, will you?” Tettra asked. Allen’s response was to grab softly at the sides of her head and planted a kiss, right on the lips. Several people hollered. The horn of the locomotive blared, announcing the time to traveling was now. Lazarus gently pulled at the dazed Tettra as she blushed at Allen’s surprise.
“I’ll wait for you, Tettra! I love you! There, I said it!” Allen shouted as Tettra was led away to the train. Many of the group shouted encouragement.
In this time after time, finding love was easy. Just a look and both would know.
“I will! I will Allen! I-”
The screeching shriek of the locomotive silenced her response. Allen couldn’t hear what she had to say.
Tettra’s response was cut off at the second blaring notice from the locomotive. The crowd pushed in to wave their farewells. She was hurried into the caboose as the locomotive began its takeoff. They would move near the front of the thirty car locomotive. The energy fusion disks of the locomotive fired with a crack, blue energy glowing off of the angular disks. The locomotive was silver and black, sleek in design, with silver disks angled at the bottom corners of every car. They were spinning and glowing with deep blue energy. The thirty car locomotive began to rise, the crowd backed up as the updrafts increased. With a crack, the train began to move, slowly at first, but then snapped forward with a rush, the crowd cheering at the departure. The locomotive would transit around the planet, it’s final destination was Saint Paul. With this, Tettra’s adventures have just begun.
And her trials.
Tettra and Lazarus walked to the 9th car, first class, to get to their seat. The locomotive was spacious up front, allowing for room to sit, sleep and stretch one’s legs. All carts were isolated from common traffic, allowing for undisturbed travel. They were both sitting in recliners, watching the perfect view as the third and final sun, the red giant was peeking out of view from the kaleidoscope horizon.
“This planet has the best sunsets, don’t you think, Tettra? Lazarus asked, nursing his full stein of ale still.
“Where else have you traveled, father?” Tettra asked. If she did well enough, should travel off-world and see the rest of the Church’s domain.
“Yes… Let’s see, I’ve been to the outer realm planet Rhombus in an attempt to convert them. The planet is hollow, shaped like a dodecahedron. Marvelous technology for planet sculpting… Yes.”
“It’s not spherical?” Tettra asked.
“Not at all. Whoever sculpted the planet, either a being, an empire, or Christ himself, they saw fit to make it a twelve-sided polygon… Mmm, yes…” Bishop Lazarus mumbled. He continued.
“There was… Another outer realm planet Chiridon II. The last remaining planet of the Killo Sector… Yes, that mystery is puzzling… Why the sibling planets vanished, many in the church attempted to find answers.” Lazarus said with a sigh, gazing at the first sun dropped off the horizon, with Tettra being enthralled by the story.
“Planet’s disappearing? What a caper!” Tettra said with a grin.
“Were they populated?” She in turn asked.
“Mmm, heavily; sad to say. Christ has mercy on the missing. The total population of that sector ranged around several billion. Vanished one after the other… Mmm and quickly, too. Three Cardinals were sent to investigate and found no trace.”
“Three Cardinals? And their fleets?” This surprised Tettra. Cardinals were thought of the pinnacle of the church; one being an army all to themselves. On top of commanding a massive fleet and army. If The Church sent three, it must have been serious.
“The complete entirety… Yes. Ah, yes, good ale.” Lazarus finished with a sip. The drink never appeared to go down, no matter how much he sipped.
“Do you know which ones?” Tettra asked, wide-eyed.
They were like angels among men, everyone knew who they were. Even their fights were recorded for posterity and knowledge.
“Let me think… There was Voltair and…”
“The Specter!” Tettra interrupted in excitement. She sipped her drink.
“Yes, quite. The second was Sasha-”
“Sasha The Cold?…” Tettra said, hiding her face behind the mug as Lazarus gave her a look.
“And Pyron Dethos… The Suffering, mmm…” Lazarus finished.
“Dethos…” Tettra murmured his name. He was one of the oldest of the Cardinals and was near the top-ranked in the church. He had strong counters for magical and melee fighters. She saw the Church arena fights, saw him dominate up to the fourth position. That fight with ‘The Immortal’ would be forever studied. It was a shame what happened to ‘The Immortal’…
“A favorite, I presume?” Lazarus stared at her, asking.
“Well… One of them?” She answered defensively. She liked all of the Cardinals. She began drinking the smooth ale of maple.
“Mmm, you both have similar tactics for fighting. Keeping an arsenal in your pocket, yes.” Lazarus poured his ale into Tettra’s now empty cup, filling it up to the brim. His stein was no less empty.
“What about Gammoroth?” She asked. He was the youngest Cardinal.
He was also blessed as the number one Cardinal in the Church.
“He may have bested the others, but he is stagnant, they say, mmm…”
“But he survived falling into a star!” Tettra countered. Cardinal debates were serious.
“Yes he can survive much, but will he be outpaced by the others, soon, yes?”
“I guess!” Tettra countered beautifully with upturned hands. Gammoroth was one of her favorites.
A knock interrupted their thoughts.
“Service.” A muffled voice stated.
“Mmm, Enter,” Lazarus responded.
The glass and wooden door open to reveal a trained maid, dress in white and black, pushing a cart of food refreshments, and confections.
She curtsied at Lazarus. She had red hair, freckles, and a sing-song accent.
“Beggin’ your pardon, father. We have complimentary refreshments.” She announced. Tettra eyed a danish, jumping up to grab one.
“None for me. Thank you.” Lazarus tapped his stein.
“I got a keg of the Mandolin Maple right here, mmm,” Lazarus mumbled.
“Is that’a Neverendin’ Mug?” The maid asked wide-eyed, forgetting her place.
“Not quite as good. It’s an Endless Stein, yes.” Lazarus answered, ignoring her place.
Tettra munched on the strawberry danish, the flavor satisfying her. She held out her right hand, the one bereft of Danish, and introduced herself.
“I’m Tettra, what’s your name?”
“Marlene, ma’am. Are you the victor of Fife? The girl with the wind magic?” Marlene took Tettra’s hand gingerly.
“That’s me!” She said, giving a slight haughty look. She did love the attention.
“Congratulations ma’am. I only heard about it; wish I could’ve seen it. Is it true you’re not goin’ to one of the hostin’ cities, but Saint Paul itself?” The maid said with a soft smile.
“This is true. I’ll be an Archaeologist’s Assistant, hopefully, Historian someday.” Tettra responded, daydreaming mid-sentence.
The red giant finished it’s descent among the horizon, the stars now brightly visible in the sky. The train silently moved across the oceanfront, the waves and water passing by in a blur.
“I think this is enough chit-chat. Thank you for entertaining us, mmm…” Lazarus ended the conversation.
“Of course, blessed father. The light of Adonai guide ye steps.” Marlene quoted as she curtsied to leave.
“Mm, charming girl, yes…”
“Agreed. I like her!” Tettra said as she headed off to her bedroom with a yawn.
“I’ll be here. Pondering the night away… Mmm, yes.” Lazarus replied.
Tettra went to bed, in a few days, they’ll arrive. If they headed straight to Saint Paul, it would have to take a few hours. However, there were dozens of stops in the way and she wasn’t The Pope.
Tettra laid down in the comfortable warm bed, remembering the first time she went to Saint Peter. She was met with a massive statue. It was unforgettable.
Tettra fell asleep, knowing tomorrow would be great.
How wrong she was.