Part Four. (<Part One)

“There was an external issue, thus the council felt itself forced to this decision. You are to be killed.”

Marisa rubbed her eyes, “what?”

The women looked at each other until Marisa’s mind registered what had been said.

“No! I have to… I have to return to my village! I only left to hunt, I shouldn’t be here. Just let me leave.” She groped for anything, “I, I escaped, didn’t I? Yeah, just let me go, and tell them all that I escaped.”

Jolanin was disheartened, “it is a good idea,  but it cannot be done.”

“Why! Why do they suddenly want to kill me? Before I at least had the option of being a pet.”

“I will explain. It appears that there is a young, but grey haired, Plainkind woman looking for you. As you know,  we have reasons not to have others searching the mountain. The conclusion the Shriken has taken to is that planting your dead body will give her reason to end her search. I am to execute you.”

Marisa knew that the woman must be Yaska, but she wasn’t comforted by it.

“What if… what if you and I, we pretend I’m dead. Then you can plant me, and Yaska will find me not dead, but alive!”

Jolanin was going to object, that it would be impossible to pass a living body as a dead one to a Shriken, but before she could say anything, a third voice spoke.

“You really think that would work?”

Jolanin’s eyes shot about the room. Marisa thought she recognized the voice.

Death stepped into the room from between a shadow and the lamplight. She bared her teeth in a grin, her face was almost sickly in colour.

“How did you get in here?” Jolanin asked.

“You know how. What, don’t you Shriken have some knowledge of things like this?”

Jolanin’s eyes narrowed, “so, then, you are the Servant of Death. You do not look as I was led to believe.”

“What, did you think I’d be dead too? Quite an ineffective state to have to work in, don’t you think?” She grinned again.

Marisa’s mind raced through her situation. Had Death come to kill her? No, Death isn’t generally the cause of death, just the beneficiary. Was she here because of the execution then? Why would she bother? Was it because of the dream? Was she really even there?

The questions swirled in her mind until she blurted out, “do you know if I’m going to die?”

Death stopped berating the Shriken and turned to Marisa, frowning. “I already told you that I don’t know. Are both of you going to be this foolish the entire time I’m here?”

“If you don’t know whether I’m going to die why show up in the first place? Why are you even here?”

Death sighed, “could you at least show some reverence? I am an immortal Servant after all. Or at least fear? I happen to be a somewhat arbitrary killer you know.” She eyed the room, then continued, “as one you know, I’ve been paying attention to this situation. I find it interesting. I’m here to propose a trade.”

Marisa stared at her, “a trade? What could I, here, possibly have to trade you?”

“Just you, who is to be executed regardless, being a part of the trade is enough for me. Things don’t tend to go to well if I tell them too much ahead of time anyway.”

“Unacceptable,” Jolanin said, “on the Plainkind’s behalf, I must insist that your terms make for horrid negotiation.”

“Well, that’s not for you to decide anyway. Unless you want to take matters into your own hands and kill the girl now,” she bared her teeth, “at least, Marisa, let me tell you your end of the trade.”

“Fine. So far it seems you’re the person who least wants to kill me.”

“That is not true!” Jolanin said, “I just think it is best to understand first what—”

Death interrupted her, “Yeah, well, here’s your half anyway. In return for your part Marisa, you, well most of you, will be able to return to your village. And you, Shriken… Jolanin, will have your body for the council. Hell, I’ll even take the memories out.”

Marisa looked at Death in amazement. Jolanin looked with scepticism.

Death smiled, “I’ll leave you alone for a minute to decide.”

Before waiting for a reply, the Servant of Death covered herself in the shadow and was gone.

Marisa shuddered.

Jolanin said, “I do not thin it wise to make a trade with Death.”

“It’s too good to be true,” Marisa said, “but the only other option is to die, so…”

“I am certain there is some sort of trick behind Death’s paradoxical offers. But, to choose her offer over your execution is logical. Not that I would do it.”

“What would you do?”

“I would fight my way either to freedom or to death.”

Marisa was silent.

“Be wary that, more likely than not, something terribly unusual is bound to be done to you should you take Death’s offer.” Jolanin unsheathed the sword she had brought for the execution, just in case.

At this point, Death returned.

“So,” she said, “have you decided?”

Marisa said, “yes. I will take your offer.”

“Wonderful! I haven’t gotten a chance to do this in a while.”

She approached Marisa and stuck her finger, as if she were a ghost, through Marisa’s chest, then removed it. Adrenaline rushed to Marisa’s heart, and with each pump seethed into her blood. Her anxiety levels, as a result, spiked.

“Ah! No! What’s happening?” Marisa shouted.

The Servant looked at her with dead eyes, but said nothing. Marisa’s eyes widened, then her body began to shimmer. The girl’s image was becoming distorted, as if through a desert haze. She dropped to her knees and her outline doubled, and then, as if crawling from the girl’s back, a second person split apart from her.

Marisa turned to face the second being, and looked into a face nearly identical to her own. Except for the black eyes and the fact that, while Marisa’s wore an expression of irrational anxiety, the double wore one filled with irrational rage. It emerged entirely from Marisa, kneeling behind her, and then it took the girl in a stranglehold.

“What is the meaning of this?” Jolanin said.

“Well, I’m actually not entirely sure why this keeps happening when I induce this. I have a few guesses myself…”

Jolanin stopped listening to her and went to Marisa, whose girl’s face had turned red, and tentatively thrust her sword towards the double.

The double let go of Marisa, her arm shooting towards the weapon. Taking advantage of Jolanin’s surprise, she wrenched the weapon away and swung it downward, impaling Marisa with it. Jolanin took her sword back and kicked the duplicate, launching her into the wall. She then rushed to Marisa and rolled her over.

For Marisa, the world had become slow. Her mind turned. She thought of what would have happened if she hadn’t come the cave. She thought further back to her times hunting, and living in the village, and other things.

“Jolanin, thanks for trying…” she said.

Jolanin watched her. The execution sword had fulfilled its task perfectly, and had destroyed hole through her chest. She swiftly died of the wound.

“And then I thought, perhaps everyone is angry when they’re born. Infants tend to be awfully loud. I asked the Servant of Birth about it, and he said that probably wasn’t it.”

“Have you not empathy?” Jolanin asked.

Death shrugged. She was indifferent. “Would you believe me if I said I see this all the time?”

Jolanin looked to the Marisa that was alive. She had calmed down.

She asked Death, “What is this person? Why did she kill Marisa?”

“Well, I’ve kind of been telling you this whole time, but I call it a double. She’s mostly the same as the original, but there are some differences. My best guess as to why the double immediately wants kill the original is that the double is mostly a creation of mine. So their first instinct would be related to me, Servant of Death.”

Jolanin looked at the girl. It was true that there were differences, at least physically. Here eyes were, in a sense, inverted. The whites were black, and the irises white.

“The little differences I’ve seen, other than the eyes, were personality, interests, things like that. They also take a name that’s similar to the original, but slightly modified. Look, what are you called?”

The double looked up from ground, “Mariça.”

“Now,” she turned back to Jolanin, “watch this. What can you tell me about the Shriken life cycle?”

Mariça’s expression faltered, “Uh, I guess they have children? Who grow up to… have more, and so on?”

“She doesn’t remember?” Jolanin said.

“Eh, more like she never knew,” Death said, “as promised.” She looked again to Mariça and said, “It’ll be nice to see what comes of you.”

Then, she returned to the shadow, and covered herself in the lamplight, disappearing.

Mariça and Jolanin were left to stare at each other. Jolanin looked at the body of Marisa, and then at Mariça.

“Well, I guess both our problems have been solved. And what has happened was as I had said, terribly unusual. All that is left is to take this to the council, and find a way to get you out.”

“Okay, but,” Mariça said, “where am I?”

Part 1 > Part 2 > Part 3 > Part 4

Daniel Triumph.

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This one was a struggle to put out, namely because my sleep got warped and I had a lot of readings to do. (And yes, those two are related.) Otherwise, this would have just been a really long conclusion. But, I think I have enough space to where I can have a decent conclusion with a decent arc. So, to part 5.


Part Three. (<Part One)

“We cannot let this information return to the Plainkind people. It could ruin their civilization, or, as it has in the past, ruin both theirs and ours. That it is a Plainkind girl, Marisa, who knows of it only makes our deliberation more difficult.”

The light-haired Shriken, Sikt, crossed his arms. He sat at a circular stone table. There was room for five but at the moment there were only two others, Jolanin and Ettin.

Jolanin nodded, “But what can we do? Perhaps we can swear her to secrecy and send her back.”

The dark-haired man, Ettin, shook his head, “we cannot logically trust her. Not only is she a Plainkind, and therefore immature, but she is young even by the standards of Plainkind people. Can we truly trust someone who is so comparatively infantile?”  Continue reading “Mariça”


Part Two. (<Previous)

“If you know about the cycle, you cannot leave.”

The Shriken woman took a step forward. Marisa ripped her sword from her back and pointed it forward. Marisa had only ever used her sword against wild animals. She wasn’t sure if she could fight a skilled opponent.

The Shriken sighed and then leaped forward. In an instant she was in front of Marisa. Her arm swung low, into the girl’s stomach. Marisa fell to the ground coughing. She felt a foot on her back, and then the Shriken woman spoke.

“I don’t know what to do with you,” she sounded uneasy, “but I cannot let you go. I will take you to the rest of the council.”

The Shriken stood Marisa up and grabbed her by the shoulder. Marisa held tight to her sword with the other hand as she was led back out through the cave. When they got to the entrance, Marisa pulled her arm upwards and swung at her captor.

Continue reading “Mariça”


Part One.

Marisa wandered around the sands near the northern mountains. She knew the Shriken, people who could fly, lived there. Maybe she would run into one. She looked up the mountain, and then into the sky. It was getting dark, so she decided to return to her village.

“Marisa, what did you catch?” Jan asked, “Yaska’s hunt wasn’t very big today, it might not be enough.”

Marisa frowned. “Ah well, I forgot about that. I was exploring.”

Jan’s smile faltered. He said, “well, next time keep the exploring for afterword.” He smiled again, “let’s see how far we can stretch what we have.”

This came up again at supper. First, the children were fed, then everyone else split what was left. It was a little less than usual.

Yaska said, “Marisa, this village has become large again.  That is why you were trained to be our second hunter.  I know that you have been doing it alone for only a few weeks, but if you do not attend your duties at all, you well never bring home food.”

Marisa finished her food and then stared into the fire.

“Marisa, if you continue to neglect, then we will find a new hunter. Jan will have to take your place in the mean time. He trained me. Or maybe you just need some re-training?”

“No I don’t need that. Don’t worry about it.”

The next day, Marisa went out hunting once more. She took her dart, the Plainkind throwing sword, and headed north. She searched the desert for her prey, the dinosaurs that Plainkind preferred to feed on.

As time passed and she surveyed the plains, Marisa allowed herself to wander further and further north, her route wilfully deviating towards the mountains.

“I’ve been searching for quite a while, I think I’ll take a break.”

Marisa walked along the base curiously. She reached a cave she hadn’t noticed before.

“If course, taking a break in the shade is a good idea,” she said.

Marisa stepped into the cave and sat down on a portion of the ground. She ate a bit of dried meat and looked around. The cave split off in many directions.

“I wonder if these lead anywhere, or if they just end,” she mused.

She scanned the cave with her eyes, as if looking for prey, and saw a trail of sand heading down one of the tunnels.

Marisa considered returning to explore it later, after she had gotten food for the village, but she convinced herself that the trail might be disturbed or that she may never find this cave again! Thus, she reasoned, she must explore the cave immediately.

Marisa stood and followed the sand trail deeper into the cave. After moving inwards a little ways, the tunnel opened up into a small, dimly lit cavern. Sunlight streamed in from a small hole in one of the walls. On the wall opposite the hole Marisa saw engravings. She saw, drawn into the walls, three simplified people.

Marisa clapped her hands together, “how exciting that I’ve found something! I knew that exploring wasn’t useless. I wonder what it means?”

She studied the engravings. The first person looked to be a Plainkind person. Then, the last one had wings, so it must be a Shriken. In between was a fearsome creature.

“It looks like a larger Plainkind that hasn’t taken care of herself,” Marisa mused, “these lines coming from the hands, are they nails? And this hair, it’s long and wild. I have never seen a creature like this.”

She looked between the three images, and then at the lines scrawled between them. She traced them with her finger, thinking.

“I wonder… is this, are these stages perhaps? Plainkind, then this in-between creature, and then—”

“A Shriken.”

The voice echoed across the cavern and Marisa’s hairs stood on end. She turned around and saw a woman standing in doorway. She was no taller than Marica, but she was older, and had large, leathery wings folded behind her back. She also looked much stronger than Marisa.

She asked, “Who are you?”

“I’m Marisa.”

“No, no, you are a Plainkind, you should not be here. And you saw this, you understood it. No, you should not be here!”

Marisa watched the Shriken woman’s face. She looked angry, but also something else. She looked worried.

“If you know about the cycle, you cannot leave.”

Part 1 > Part 2 >
Daniel Triumph.

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There will be a couple more parts. I’m excited to work on this story, but I’m a little worried with how strange the plans are for it. We’ll see how it plays out.

Starman Part 4 (Final)

Starman part 4. A lot can happen between adventures.

(<< First Part<Previous Part)


“I know what it is!” Chloe stood up, “I think I know what we need to feed the star in order to give him the energy he needs!’

By now the various villagers that had been listening to Chloe’s story returned to their responsibilities. Only Jan, Yaska, and the Starman remained around the dwindling fire. Now that the story had turned to discussion, the stood, forming a small circle around the dwindling fire.

“What did the hero give the star in my father’s legend?” Chloe asked.

Yaska half-frowned at Chloe, “you said it was just food and drink. We gave him food and drink on the mountain.”

“I know, but, like you said, it wasn’t star food.”

“Well then what is star food?”

Chloe smiled, “well, what is a star? Here’s a better question; the sun is a star, so what is the sun?”

Jan looked into the sky and stared at the sun. His Plainkind eyes adjusted and focused. After a few seconds, he looked away and rubbed his eyes.

“Well, it’s bright!” Jan laughed.

Chloe frowned.

Yaska said, “It is bright, and it gives off heat during the day.”

“Right, so…?” Chloe questioned.

“So, is the sun a fire?”


“So stars are made of fire.”

“Right!” Chloe clapped her hands together, “Stars are made of fire.”

“So we need to figure out what feeds a fire, and feed it to the Starman.” Yaska concluded.


The Starman nodded.

Jan said, “So we have to feed him shrubs and brambles?” He looked at the pile of desert plants he had gathered for the night fire with confusion.

“If I needed to eat shrubs, I would have told you. I learned the word for that.” The Starman said.

Chloe laughed, “don’t worry, I’ll tell you! Stars don’t burn wood or shrubs, you can’t grow those things in the sky anyway. Instead they burn hydrogen.”

Yaska listened with interest, but Jan said, “They burn what?”

“Hydrogen. It’s invisible and flammable,” Chloe said, “and a star doesn’t really burn it. Instead, it causes a nuclear reaction that combines four hydrogen atoms into beryllium*. At least, that’s what the Sol-Metch researchers say. But really, they know more about fission than fusion.”

Jan said, “you completely lost me.”

Yaska said, “you mostly lost me. But more importantly, do you know where we can get hydrogen?”

Chloe smiled, “oh, it’s in water.”

Chloe picked her waterskin up from the ground, “you can separate the hydrogen from the rest of the compound by, ah,” Chloe frowned, “running an electric current through it.”

Jan and the Starman stared, but Yaska’s face showed deadened recognition, “an electric current? Is that not related to the a soul in Solune culture?”

“Ah, all of our nerves run on electric signals, so creating one outside of a body is…” Chloe trailed off and twiddled her thumbs, “ah, even if it wasn’t such a touch area, how would we even…”

Chloe gave up on her sentence. She had the the water, but she wasn’t sure how she could separate it, or even how.

The Starman looked from Yaska to Chloe, and then to Jan. He could see that Jan was unsure of what was going on, but was aware that this was some sort of road block.

The Starman said, “but, if we are to believe your story then does that not mean that, like the hero, I can just drink the water?”

Chloe’s eyes widened, she brightly said, “of course! Perhaps you can do it within you! Let’s at least give it a shot.”

She handed the skin to the Starman, who drank a bit. He said, “this is what I needed.”

To Chloe’s relief, the Starman finished only half the water. He said, “thank you, you were right, this is star food. I think I should return outside the village.”

The Starman started walking towards the place where he landed. The group followed. AS they walked, the sky began to get dark.

Chloe said, “it was quite interesting to meet a star, I would have liked to learn more about you.”

Yaska said, “well, perhaps he can stay.”

The Starman shook his head, “You are all quite friendly, but I prefer my own home.”

The Starman closed his eyes and began generating energy. His legs slowly morphed away. His body dropped and began to hover above the ground. Then the rest of his features began to lose their form and he, once again, became a ball of light. The star rose up just as other stars began to appear in the darkening sky.

Yaska tried to see which star he would become, but through the dusk and the shimmering atmosphere, it was hard to tell. Jan departed shortly after to make sure the village had a fire, and Chloe and Yaska were left alone, watching.

“Did you see which star he was?” Yaska said.

Chloe said, “it’s hard to tell. To be honest, I don’t really know the locations of stars. They’re hard to see in the Solune Kingdom too, so we don’t really engage in mapping them.”

“Oh. He was a little strange. Silent. Perhaps he did not particularly enjoy our company.”

“He must have had some reason for wanting to get home. For all we know, that could be the reason. Maybe stars just think differently than us.”

Chloe shrugged and sat on the sand. Yaska sat next to her.

“I wonder,” Yaska said, “If that star in your story wanted to stay.”

“Well, my father says he did. I guess, like us, stars have differences too.”

Yaska considered her words. She thought about Chloe’s father. She had met him, the Solune King, before. He was said to be immortal.

Yaska said, “was your father the hero from the story?”

Chloe turned her head and smiled, “I think so. He told me that the star might return at some point.”

“It is just afraid of taking the form of someone influential again? Or getting attacked?”

“Yeah.”Chloe continued, “Hey, let’s go visit the fire. Maybe Jan will have a new story for us.”

“Or maybe you could give us another.” Yaska smiled.

They both smiled, and returned to the village.

That’s all I got.
<< First Part<Previous Part – Something Else >

Daniel Triumph.

*The Sol-Metch researchers are incorrect about this. In basic terms, s star will fuse two hydrogen atoms into a helium, and then later will fuse two helium atoms into beryllium. The Sol-Metch and Solune scientific communities have not yet discovered helium, and so at the moment they assume that hydrogen either fuses by threes into lithium, or by fours into beryllium.

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