The Book of Soltana: Guests – 18

Underrealm

Soltana

Soltana and L’yophin were searching the estate for more gobs. Soltana had almost a dozen piled onto her chassis, with L’yophin staying far ahead and away from the loafers. The gobs were all patting her chassis, making strange tapping noises to pass the time. This was her first time seeing the ranch for herself. It was awe-inspiring to see the massive amount of land being used.

“So gobs turn into Goblins, who turn into Trows?” Soltana asked. She was curious about the creature life of the Underrealm. She would make studying them her new side hobby.

“Correct. Almost.”

“Depends on climate- err- land…” L’yophin said, stumbling on the word.

“…Environment. Yes,” He managed to get out.

“There are more variants?”

“Yes. Trows most common in Underrealm. Goblins branch out.”

“Goblin become Hobgoblin.”

“Or Goblin become Hogboon. There may be more, but those I know.”

“I would trade all Gobs for a Hogboon,” He shot out, staring at the pile of gobs atop his precious Soltana, mucking her up.

“A hogboon?”

“They are special. Very shy, but make good neighbors. Strange magic. Good goblins.”

The cloth scarfed gob made gibbering noises at that. The others chimed in.

“L’yophin, where are the goblins? I’ve seen Gobs, heard you speak of Trows, but where are the goblins?” Soltana inquired, curious at the discrepancy.

L’yophin shrugged at that.

“Don’t know, assume they metamorphose quickly.”

“You’ve spoken of fae folk. What are they?”

“Fae? Spirits? Somewhat. Creatures? Somewhat. A mix, maybe.”

“Many good, some mischief. All have magic.”

“Magic… Like Adonai, I suspect.”

“Perhaps? Don’t know to compare. Prefer technology.” L’yophin said with a shrug.

They reached Phela’s stables and L’yophin opened the gate for Soltana, which the gobs gibbered a cheered for some reason. Once inside, L’yophin opened the door to the stables, letting Soltana in. There she spotted a massive cocoon in the corner made of wrapped silk.

“What is that?”

“My precious Phela! Dekapillar. She is metamorphosing.” L’yophin said dreamily. The gobs lept off, viewing the cocoon curiously.

“Don’t touch her,” L’yophin ordered the gobs grumpily. They all backed away, looking shy.

“It doesn’t look like there are any other Gobs here. Will she break out soon?”

“No, just happened. Takes months.” L’yophin explained.

“Come, let me show you other Dekapillars,” L’yophin said with a spidery smile, forgetting the gobs.

They all scurried to Soltana, helping each other up.

Soltana trundled out of the stables back into the moss ranch. She followed L’yophin along as they searched for more gobs. There she saw them.

Dekapillars. Their massive girth scooted around ponderously as they munched on fast-growing moss.

“Amazing…” Soltana murmured, seeing the strange creatures for the first time.

She saw movement next to one of the Dekapillars, a tiny figure moving about. As she zoomed her sight in, she saw it was a gob, handing moss to the Dekapillar, who happily munched down on it.

L’yophin spotted it too as he skittered along shouting.

“Get away, loafer!”

The gob looked up, stupidly staring at the charging spider. It went back to feeding the placid Dekapillar. The other gobs atop Soltana began gibbering and shouting, the slow gob perked up and began to scurry to his friends. Soltana stopped to let him on as the other gobs pulled him up. She felt good about these added weight tests, the muscle fibers were at peak performance. The other gobs were patting the new arrival.

L’yophin began checking the Dekapillars for more gobs, finding none to speak of.

He let out a sigh, tired of the hunt.

“L’yophin they’re beautiful!” Soltana commended as she trundled in.

The large Dekapillar let out a chittering grunt as it scooted to look back at the strange four-legged Lambent. It had tiny beady eyes and large mandibles. It was covered in short transparent fur with a bright green hide. All of the gobs gibbered as they lept aboard the large beast, rubbing their faces in the soft short fur.

L’yophin was irate, skittering to the Dekapillar.

“L’yophin, please. They won’t harm it,” Soltana implored.

The spider stopped, looking at Soltana with grumpy eyes.

The Dekapillar let out a contented chitter at the attention and especially at the scratching on its back.

The gob with the scarf rolled off the Dekapillar, plopping to the soft moss. It scurried to the Dekapillar’s head and began petting its massive mandibles.

L’yophin grumbled at that but said no more.

“I will look for others,” L’yophin began.

“Stay with them?”

“Of course. I shall keep watch over the little ones,” Soltana replied happily.

L’yophin skittered of, chittering grumpily.

The gobs began leaping from Dekapillar to Dekapillar, like some sort of game. Many failed their jumps, slamming into the Dekapillar’s sides and tumbling to the moss. Another Dekapillar scooted in close to her, trying to figure out what Soltana was, and if she’d give it attention.

“Hello there, beautiful one. What is your name?” Soltana practically cooed.

The Dekapillar pushed against her chassis with his face, her mass was pushed back from the weight of the girth. She balanced herself quickly, almost tipping over. She recovered quickly, but the Dekapillar scooted in further.

She let out a laugh at the creatures impertinence for attention.

A laugh.

It was a simple thing.

For Soltana, it was powerful.

It brushed away her concern for the future.

It floated away the trauma of her absolute isolation.

It banished the massive weight of the questions she still had.

She felt truly free in this little moment with the dekapillars and gobs.

Most of all it gave her something she needed even though she abounded in it.

Hope.

Hope for the future. Hope in the present. Hope that her memories and completeness were worth investing in. Hope that Adonai was looking out for her. Hope that her new friends would last. They had worked hard, L’yophin most of all. She would find a way to repay him. She hoped the gobs were as intelligent and benevolent as she hoped. They appeared to get along with the Dekapillars splendidly. One of Dekapillars did something unexpected. It scooted away from others and emitted a large clear globule of dew from its rear. It was around the size of Soltana’s head with a high surface tension as it bobbed along the mossy ground. All of the gobs gibbered as they ran to the dew and began devouring it.

“Oh! That was what L’yophin tried to feed me. Fascinating,” Soltana mused.

The gobs had quickly devoured the globule of dew and were contently lay in the moss with full bellies, looking up at the grey clouds as they formed along the blackness of the Underrealm. The Dekapillars began scooting around, heading their own ways. Soltana trundled over to the gobs, tilting to look up.

The gob with the scarf scurried over, climbing atop Soltana and resumed patting the Lambent’s head.

“Clouds underground?” Soltana pondered aloud.

A deep peel of rumbling thunder answered her question, the violet plasma tumbled around inside the grey clouds.

“Come along little Gobs. Let us head indoors,” Soltana said as she roused the gobs.

She flashed her eyes at the apparent storm forming.

They all scurried around, climbing atop their new surrogate mother.

Their new Guardian.

They all gibbered a cheer as Soltana trundled off, the peeling of thunder heralding a storm. She moved as quickly as she could to the silk mansion, the silly gobs all gibbered along.

Soltana spotted L’yophin off in the distance as he was making his way to Soltana.

“Soltana, can’t find more Gobs. Let’s go home!” He shouted as a peel of thunder rang out, flashing the area.

She trundled on with the gobs gibbering with concern.

She noticed many of the glowshrooms were hunkering down, just their caps showing.

“Does this happen often?” Soltana shouted over the wind picking up.

“Sometimes, best to stay inside,” L’yophin declared as he skittered alongside her.

They made their way along, the estate was just in sight. The silk mansion loomed like a mountain to them.

A light misty rain began to drizzle down. Another peal of thunder rang out.

Soltana was fascinated that the Underrealm was large enough to house its own weather systems.

“We should keep the Gobs inside!” Soltana suggested.

“No! Front porch is fine.”

“But they’ll be cold and wet!”

“Mm! Fine!” L’yophin said grumpily, not wanting to argue anymore as exhaustion set in.

They got to the estate just as a wall of water began to pour.

They arrived at the door in a rush to beat the rain, which L’yophin opened quickly. The thunder rumbled the black sky, and the rain’s downpour increased. The rain beaded up and trickled off the silk mansion, the waterproofing of the silk kept his home dry from the elements. The water drained into rain collectors that had been setup for future use as water was precious in the Underrealm.

The group all made their way inside, with the gobs shivering and wet; the water dripped from Soltana’s soaked chassis. She felt no feedback telling anything was compromised. She suspected she could be fully submerged without issue.

“L’yophin, do you have any blankets?” Soltana asked.

“Um, er- yes. One moment,” L’yophin blustered, not used to so much company.

He skittered upstairs, the stairs creaking in response. The gobs gibbered and scurried around, tracking water everywhere.

L’yophin skittered down the stairs with a large pile of silk rags and sheets. He looked deadpan at seeing the large trail of water, hearing the gibbering squeals, and seeing no sign of the gobs. He turned his half-eyed gaze to Soltana.

“Next, I’m making you hands so you can clean,” L’yophin stated dryly as he dropped a rag and began to wipe the floor.

“Little ones! Please come here,” Soltana said, raising her voice to reach the rest of the rooms.

She heard the scurrying of gobs as she entered the guest room, where all ten gobs scrambled around, playing and tumbling around with happy gibbers. L’yophin trailed behind, wiping up the water. He saw the gobs were still shivering and wet. He looked at Soltana, who shook her chassis, nodding at him. With an eye roll, he grabbed the closest gob and quickly dried it off, wrapping it in a silk rag. The others turned and crowded him, wanting attention. He got to the last gob, the one with the scarf and began drying it. It held onto to the ragged scarf, gibbering a protest.

“Fine, you keep it! There all done,” L’yophin said with a sigh. The gobs were all wrapped in warm silk blankets and had begun climbing up into the chairs, cuddling against one another. Soltana trundled over to the couch packed full of gobs.

L’yophin left the room for a time, then returned with a long pipe made of sculpted metal, a small sack and a lighter. There he sat down snuggly on his back in his favorite chair. He set the sack down on the belly of his thorax, collecting the stuckle weed inside.

“Now what?” Soltana asked.

She could hear another peel of thunder, rumbling the walls. The rainfall accelerated, sounding like a constant wave of noise.

She did a quick status check.

Name: Soltana

Race: Lambent

Chassising: Integrating

Warning: no signal

Remaining Power: 1233/5000 QC

Cannot access inventory

Location: Unknown

Time: ???

Modules: Dreams, Unresolved

ERROR ERROR ERROR ERROR ERROR

Her power was low, but all was well. Wake had ended and they all intended to rest.

She did maintenance on her modules, renaming them.

Dreams renamed to Dreams of a Lambent

Unresolved renamed to Soltana’s Contentions

The gob with the scarf gibbered something, and the rest chimed in.

L’yophin looked at Soltana as he stuffed his pipe with the yellow weed, puzzled.

“Do you want a story?” Soltana asked.

The scarfed gob nodded quickly.

“You understand them?” L’yophin inquired.

“It was a guess,” She replied, her eyes flashed with thought.

Soltana thought for a time, then simply began telling her own tale.

“Time onward of eons, there was a Lambent. She didn’t know who she was and was lost underground.”

The gobs all huddled in, listing intently.

Help help! She cried every time she was awake. She had no friends and was alone.”

One of the gobs sniffed.

“She felt she was trapped for all time, meant to cry out for help, with only the stones hearing her pleading.”

A long trail of smoke rose from the pipe as L’yophin exhaled.

“But then, in time, she heard a rumble in the rocks.”

“Boom!”

Soltana cried out, the gobs jumped in a spook, beady eyes wide.

“The rocks fell down and she saw a mysterious figure…”

Soltana trundled in place, turning to look at L’yophin who was mid-puff. His eyes scrambled left and right expectantly.

“Oh!”

“Yes.”

“The mysterious figure was handsome spider. He looked kind of like me!” L’yophin said, puffing a billow of smoke into the air.

Soltana noticed a change. L’yophin was getting more articulate.

“The spider found a strange head, made of a very strong metal. Kind of like her!”

L’yophin gently tapped Soltana’s head with the butt of his pipe, the metal rang out. All of the gobs gibbered in approval.

“She then cried out, help help! The spider was shocked to see a head that could talk!”

“And so the spider took the strange head, wrapped her up to keep her safe, and then took her to his home, kind of like this one!”

The gobs all looked at him with wonder.

That was a lot of coincidences.

L’yophin winked at Soltana with half of his eyes. She continued the story.

“The spider helped the poor Lambent and gave her a power pack. She then began to dream.”

The gobs all cooed in wonder.

“She dreamed of people and places. Some were friendly, others needed help. And then Adonai helped her remember who she was. She dreamed that someone with a mark would find her. And that she would find a man who also had a mark. There were a lot of people with marks she needed to find! But she couldn’t, as she was just a head.”

“The spider helped her by learning how to speak to her. I will help build you, he said. He helped to build her, giving her legs to walk. Kind of like this one!”

Soltana stamped her feet in succession at that.

“Do I really sound like that?” L’yophin asked with a chuckle, smoke billowing out of his mandibles.

“They worked together and found some very green Gobs. The spider wasn’t used to company, and did not want them in his home! The Lambent had been alone for so long that she wanted many friends! And so they argued, but in the end, the spider and the Lambent collected the Gobs and took them home. Where they were all warm and best friends.”

“The end.”

Soltana finished her story, seeing most of the gobs were already asleep. The scarfed gob was awake with a dopey grin. She spotted a tear running down its cheek. A blast of thunder rumbled nearby, shaking the house and filling it with blue light for a brief second, Soltana thought she saw the gob’s eyes flash yellow for a brief second from the light. The gobs hadn’t woke and were sleeping contently.

“What should we do?”

“Plan? Return to mine. Find more of you. Parts.” L’yophin replied, a trail of smoke filtered through his mandibles.

“Maybe remember more.”

The peel of thunder rumbled in the background. The gobs all stirred and in their sleep, creating an instinctual pig-pile.

“That would be beneficial. A lot has happened just from the leg repairs alone,” Soltana concluded.

“Suspect your head not only part in mine,” L’yophin added with a chittering sigh, eyeing the former nuisances. Except they were more annoying guests now with Soltana as their advocate.

“Were you always down here?”

“No,” He added.

Soltana felt it was a locked door and could go no further. Yet.

“L’yophin?”

The spider glanced at the quiet question.

“Thank you. For everything,” She began. Her very being cried out in joy at the whole situation.

She could have never expected such a turnaround, going from entombed prisoner to spider’s guest. And now a chosen one by Adonai.

The dugrum let a smokey chittering chuckle escape as he tapped his pipe.

“You’re are welcome. And thank you. Mutual benefit,” He added with a nod, tapping his spidery head with a digit.

“How?”

“Waking me,” He finished cryptically.

She thought it over, suspecting there was more to the story. However, L’yophin slouched with fatigue, it had been a long few days. Soltana felt it was the right time to call it for the twilight.

“Good twilight, L’yophin,” Soltana said as she began powering down.

“Good twilight, Soltana,” The spider replied back, smoking his pipe.

Soltana powered down, hopeful for the next wake.

The scarfed gob itched at its neck.

 

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