Starman Part 3

Starman part 3. (Part 1 here, Part 2 here)

A lot can happen between adventures.

Yaska, Jan, the Starman, and Chloe stood just inside the desert village, near Yaska’s house.

“This is the Starman,” Yaska said.

Chloe considered him. She looked at his face, and his form. The face looked similar to Jan’s, but less cheerful.

She said, “you know, Yaska, I doubted your letter, but… I can tell that something with this Starman is off. I need to prove it to myself.”

“What do you mean by off?” Jan asked.

“Yaska, can you get me one of your shirts? No, not the one you’re wearing right now.”

Yaska shrugged. Shortly after, she returned from her small stone hut with a shirt. Chloe took the shirt and offered it to the Starman, who put it on.

Chloe asked, “does it fit?”

“It fits exactly,” he said.

Yaska’s eyes widened, but Jan remained confused.

He asked, “what’s this about?”

Chloe addressed the Starman, “You look like a man, but you’re not, are you. You just copied what’s around you in order to give yourself shape.”

“I’m still lost.” Jan said.

Yaska looked at the Starman. Her shirt fit the creature far better than Jan’s did.

“Well, I am not lost,” Yaska said, “when he landed, the first person he met was me. He was just a ball of light, and then he took on my shape. Jan, do you remember when he first came to the village?”

“It had no face…”

Jan’s expression became passive. Chloe and Yaska both noticed that, without Jan’s constant grin, they really did look identical.

Yaska’s face became stern. She said, “it came from the sky and imitated my body. It came to the village and imitated Jan’s face. Then, it came to our campfire and imitated our language. What does it want, blending in with us so?”

She accusingly pointed a clawed finger at the Starman, “is getting home truly your only goal?”

Silence overcame the group. The Starman stared, searching his limited vocabulary for words with to explain himself.

Chloe’s mumbling eventually broke in, “…imitation, returning to the sky… he truly is a star, isn’t he? I didn’t think that the legend was true.”

Jan said, “what legend?”

The Starman said, “tell us, please.”

Some of the villagers had gathered around Jan’s fire, anticipating the story from the outsider, Chloe.

“My father told me it was long ago, I always assumed two or three thousand years. A star fell from the sky. It was unlike a dead shooting star. It was alive, and it landed on the planet. The ancient people encountered it, and came to fear it.

“The first person to find it was a great hero. The star took the shape of the hero. It was uncanny for the people, to see this false form of the hero. The accused it of being a demon, and captured it out of fear.

“The hero feared for the star. The star had done nothing wrong, but would likely be charged will all forms of frivolity, and the ancient people would decide to kill it. Standing around the star’s cage, and surrounded by his people, the hero decided to take a risk to save the star.

“The hero gave a great laugh, and then pointed to the cage, ‘you fools, you have captured the wrong person, for I am the star, and he is the true hero!’

“The star was cunning. It said, ‘I am indeed your noble hero, please free me!’

“The hero gave the star a secret smile, and then ran. Half the ancient people pursued, and the other half hastened to free the person they thought was their hero. The star was yet still cunning, it said, ‘I will chase down the imposter! Leave it to me!’ And it gave chase. The two heroes ran about the city, each claiming to be chasing the other.

“The hero, that is, the true hero, stopped at his house to rest. He hid, and watched through his doorway. The city calmed. The star was still wandering about, but he assured everyone that he had chased the imposter out of the city. In truth, he was still searching, but without frenzy. He walked around, fearful at the civilization before him, fearful of getting caught.

“Finally, the star noticed the hero in his doorway, beckoning. The star approached, and the hero pulled him inside. The hero fed the star, and told him to journey out of the city and return to his home. The star told him, ‘I need energy,’ so the hero fed him, and gave him drink.

“The star left the city, under the guise of the hero, and returned to the skies. They say that the star still looks down on the hero in thanks, and that the hero still looks up as well.

“Supposedly, it’s the hero that passed this story down to his children, and to the next generation.” Chloe finished.

Yaska, usually stoic, had become quite surprised.

Jan said, “are you the same star?!”

“No.” The Starman said.

Chloe grinned, “so, if the legend is true, and my father says it is, all we have to do is feed the star!”

Yaska shook her head, “I apologize, but we already tried. It did not work, he said that our food was not star food.”

Chloe looked from Yaska to the Starman. She considered Yaska’s words for a long time. Their food is not star food. The hero’s food was. Did that mean that the problem was that Plainkind food specifically was not star food? What was different about what the Plainkind ate, compared to what the hero ate? And then Chloe remembered the odd quirk in Plainkind diet the separated them from nearly every other race.

“I know what it is!”

Sorry, guess it’ll be four parts instead of three!

Daniel Triumph.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)

Starman Part 2

Starman part 2. (Part 1 here)

A lot can happen between adventures.

The next morning, Yaska came to Jan’s stone hut. Outside, he and the creature were talking.

“Look, Yaska, he fits okay in my clothes… sort of. A little tight in the arms and baggy everywhere else, but not a big issue,” Jan shrugged.

Yaska stared at the creature.

“It can talk now so I’m guessing it learns by imitation,” Jan said, “sort of like a kid who picks up really really fast. I think it figured out how to talk just from the stories last night!”

He learned to talk,” Yaska replied.

The creature looked at them both, then said, ” ‘It’ is closer than ‘he,’ but considering me a man will make referring to me easier.”

“You know, he kind of talks like you,” Jan said.

“Hmm.” Yaska surveyed the creature. He seemed to have a strangely slim but broad build.  She asked him, “what should we call you?”

“What would you call me if I was still in the sky?”

Yaska spoke tentatively, “a… star?”

“Okay. I am a star that looks like a man.”

Jan said, “I’m just going to call you the Starman.”

“Okay.” The Starman said.

“Okay.” Yaska said.

“Al right, Starman, what would you like to do?” Jan asked.

“Well, I would like to return to…” he pointed.

“The sky”

“The sky, but I do not have enough energy.”

Yaska looked around the desert. Her gaze passed the Solune wall to the east, and the mountains to the north. She said, “Do you think you could return from the top of the mountain?”

The Starman followed her gaze and said, “perhaps.”

Jan packed food and bloodskins, and looked for someone to hunt in his place. Mariça volunteered. Then they headed up the mountain.

For a Plainkind, climbing a mountain is less difficult and more tedious and the northern mountains are of unexceptional height. The small group managed to reach the summit with a little effort and in less than half the day.

“How is this?” Yaska asked.

The Starman gazed at the sky, and said, “I will see.”

He began to glow as he had when he had first landed, and Yaska expected him to morph back into a ball. Instead, he stopped and cooled off, returning to normal.

“What made you stop?” Yaska asked.

The Starman said, “Now that I have seen the top, I am certain that I do not have enough energy to return to the sky. I would rather not waste what I do have.”

Yaska put a hand in her hair, “I guess my idea was not that good after all.”

“I apologize. But, at least we will no longer have to wonder.”

“Okay, wow,” Jan said, “you guys are so stuffy. Listen, what did you say? That you don’t have enough energy?”

“Right.”

“Well, here. Eat. Drink.”

They found a flat rut in the mountain, and began eating. The average Plainkind meal is raw dinosaur meat, and blood. Other liquids are very difficult to find in the desert, so blood is the primary source of fluids.

When they had finished, Jan said, “So? Is that better? Do you have energy now?”

The Starman thought for a time, and then said, “no.”

“No?”

He put the food down, “this is, I think, the wrong kind of energy.”

“What? So, the mountain didn’t help, and the food didn’t help? What are we supposed to do?”

Yaska stood, took the Starman’s food, then gave it to Jan. “Take this, and calm yourself. Stars probably eat a different sort of food than we do. Come, we should return now.”

They started down the mountain. The Starman’s face was impassive.

“What do stars eat?” Jan asked. “You should know, you’re a star, right?”

“I know what it is, but I cannot tell you.” The starman replied.

“What? Come on, we’re trying to help you!”

“I… do not have the words.”

Yaska nodded, “the word for his food probably is not in Plainkind vocabulary.”

“Vocabulary?” Jan asked.

Yaska said, “vocabulary is… it is all the words you have to choose from when you speak. I learned the term from Chloe.”

“Oh yes, Chloe, the outsider. She knows quite a bit, doesn’t she.”

“Yes she does,” Yaska agreed, “Chloe knows about history, and science, and… Oh Jan!”

“What?” Jan asked. The Starman, too, looked at her.

“We could ask Chloe to help!”

“Oh, great idea!”

“I will write her a letter when we return. We can send it by bird.”

Daniel Triumph.

Previous Part,Next Part

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P.S.

I apologize for the quality drop in this one. The next one is better.

Starman Part 1

Starman part 1.

A lot can happen between adventures.

Yaska May Däwngale and the people of her village sat around the community fire. Jan was telling a story about the storm festival. Yaska rubbed her fingers through the sand. It did not rain a lot in the desert, but once every two years, there was a rainstorm. Even though she had been gone for so long, Yaska had heard his story many times and had gotten bored of it. She decided to leave the village to look at the stars.

“Where are you going?” It was her friend Mariça, the most unusual looking of the bunch.

“West. I am going to look at the stars.”

“Okay.”

Yaska walked until she couldn’t hear the buzz of the gathering. She found a spot next to a shrub and lay down, resting her hands behind her head. It wasn’t always easy to see the stars because the atmosphere often distorted them. In her homelands, however, there was less humidity, so heat distortion was reduced. Even on this clear night, the stars shimmered and danced in the skies, and Yaska knew she was only seeing a fraction of them.

Yaska gazed at the hundred or two shining dots, tracking their irregular movement until she saw one that was moving oddly. She blinked. It wasn’t shimmering, or moving in hazy circles. It was shuddering. And getting brighter. Yaska watched it, and realized that it was growing.

She sat up, and then, keeping her eye on the star, she stood. She rubbed her eyes, and when she opened them again, the light was the size of her fist.

“What?”

A fiery mass plummeted down from the heavens. Yaska watched as it smashed into the ground, twenty steps in front of her. She was quite astonished.

Yaska, fearless, approached the landing area. As the smoke dissipated, she could see a bright mass of whites and yellows shifting around. She watched as the ball of light took shape. It morphed vertically, splitting at the bottom and the sides. Yaska watched it compress into the definite shape of a person.

“…Hello?”

The form’s brightness faded slowly, until all that remained was a soft glow over it’s tanned skin. The face remained featureless.

Yaska waved her hand in front of where the face should have been. She thought that perhaps it would spark the next part of the creature’s transformation, that it had gotten stuck.

Yaska put  her hands on her hips, staring at it. After a while of nothing happening, she took a step back.

The creature tentatively stepped forward.

“Aha!” Yaska took another step backwards, and the creature again followed. “So you can do something!”

Yaska turned and started walking back the the village, checking over her shoulder frequently to make sure the creature was following. As she neared the makeshift stone huts of her village, she heard muttering.

Then, a voice rang out, “I will go, because I am the eldest. If anything happens to me, it is a much smaller loss than if we lose Jan, our hunter.”

Yaska entered and approached the group; huddled together and worried. It was Mariça’s part-mother who had volunteered herself. Jan noticed her first.

He said, “What is that following you?!”

Yaska stopped. The creature stopped. Yaska realized she had no idea what she had just led into her village. She assumed it wasn’t dangerous because thus far it had been so benign, but she couldn’t be sure. Still, she wasn’t too worried. If it was dangerous, she had the strength to deal with it.

Yaska turned around and said, “- oh, you are finally getting yourself a face, I see.”

The face of the creature pushed itself out of the front of its head, much to the surprise of the villagers.

Jan ran up to Yaska and whispered, “is this normal?”

Yaska nodded stating, “It started as a ball of light.”

“Hey!” Mariça shouted from among the group, “it looks like a boring Jan!”

Yaska and Jan looked up.

“I look like that?”

Yaska approached the creature.

“Can you speak?”

The creature opened its mouth and gave a shriek. Jan stepped back. Yaska stepped forward, readying herself, just in case.

Mariça’s mother walked to Jan and said, “that’s an infant’s screech. If it just got its face, it likely doesn’t know how to use it.”

Jan said, “Well, actually, it just got my face.”

After tapping it a few times, Jan declared the creature harmless. Yaska said that since it figured out how to grow a face so fast through observation, it would likely learn how to speak the same way. So, the village returned to the fire and Jan began another story.

And the creature did listen.

Daniel Triumph.

Next Part

This will probably be a 3 parter. Not super long. Yaska really should have more appearances, as she’s one of my oldest characters, but so it goes.

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Unhelpful Signs (Solune Academy)

Finch was walking down the halls after his day’s classes. His girlfriend was working late that night, so he intended to go to the collage’s library and study. He exited the Biology and Neurostudies building and breathed in the dusk air. The grass was never cut, but the path that cut through it was kept clear. He strode down wide cobbled lane.

Finch had always wondered why the university buildings were so close together and mismatched. They didn’t line up at all, and in some places they were so close together that they cut into the path. Usually, though, the space was just large enough for Finch to lie across, the path bordered by a few inches of grown lawn on either side.

Finch walked to the only four storey building on campus. The library was attached to the Mathematics and Physics building, as it tended to be the quietest one. Finch entered. The library was carpeted for sound absorption, and carpet was hard to clean, so the janitors had requested that there be a rule. No outdoor footwear in the library!

He took of his shoes, glancing at the “take off your footwear” sign. He made a double take. There was never a no footwear sign before. He remembered bringing Alice in one day, and she had to borrow indoor shoes because her bare feet were considered outdoor footwear. They had already considered this loophole, and so the sign said, “no outdoor footwear in the library.” Finch re-read the sign.

It said, “take off your foot.” There was an iconograph of a foot made up of the words, “Remove your feet! Remove your feet!” repeated over and over, and margined into a foot. Finch blinked, like, five times in a row.

“What?”

Finch shook his head. Whatever. He put his bag back on, placed his shoes on the doormat, and went up the stairs. He studied for a couple of sixths, reading a Natural Studies textbook. Even after specializing, Finch enjoyed reading about the broader subjects. When the sun began to set, Finch stood and packed his things, looking towards the stairs. He saw another sign.

He rubbed his eyes.

He took his bag and then walked to the sign.

He read aloud, “in case of fire, do not go upstairs.”

What?

At this point, he became more curious. Who was making these? Were they everywhere? Finch went downstairs and pulled his shoes on, exiting the library. He decided to check out the nearest building, Economics and Politics.

He found another sign, “capitalism is just a dictatorship pretending to be democracy.” He wasn’t sure if that one was a joke or not.

Mr. Rhye exited the building as he re-read the sign. He said, “Finch, did not classes end hours ago?”

Finch turned, “yes Mr. Rhye.”

“Class is over, I’m just Drake right now.”

Sorry, Drake. I was studying, but look.”

Finch pointed to the sign. nodded.

“That’s an interesting perspective. Did you make that sign?”

“No! There are weird signs all over the place, do you know why?”

Drake was perplexed, “no, but Janna might. She’s just gathering the confederation draft.”

Finch knew about Janna. She was the King, but she had started spending a lot of time at the university shortly after her most recent public announcement.

Janna Rhye strode out of the building and immediately noticed Finch.

She announced, “Finch, classes are over. Why are you here?”

“The… the signs.”

He feebly pointed.

Janna said, “I made that. Isn’t it clever? I wanted to put it above the door, but the school didn’t like that, so threatened them. Now it’s here, beside the door. A compromise.” She sighed.

“Right… What about the ones in the library?”

“Hmm?”

“I can show you…”

“Sure. Drake, take my scrolls. And for heaven’s sake don’t drop them, this is future law in the making!”

Drake obliged, and Finch led them to the library. He noticed that Drake followed him, taking the path, but that Janna tromped right through the tall grass. Apparently she didn’t take orders from anyone, not even the ground.

Finch showed them the foot sign. Drake raised an eyebrow, but Janna looked blank. They went upstairs and Finch pointed at the support wall between the staircases.

Drake read, “in case of fire, do not go upstairs.” He said, “well, that’s not technically wrong…”

Finch felt the sign, “look, it’s metal and everything. Who made these?”

“Finch, I have no idea.”

Janna said nothing.

They exited, and walked towards the north, exiting the campus. Then, Finch saw another sign.

“Do not enter.” He said.

“What, is there a problem with a ‘do not enter’ sign?” Janna asked.

“Yeah, look! There’s no door, this is just a wall. How can you enter a wall!”

Janna whimpered.

“What!” Finch turned to face her.

Janna burst out laughing, “It was me! I made those signs!”

Drake put his palm into his face, “I should have known. You didn’t say anything this whole time!”

Janna wiped her eyes, “yeah. They have the royal seal, so if the school tries to take them down I can remove their hands.” She began to laugh again, mirthful.

Finch stared until she was done.

“What?”

Finch put his hands on his hips, “I can’t believe you’re using you powers for evil.”

Drake looked at him. Janna looked at him. Then, he began to laugh. Then they all shared a laugh.

“Is there any more?” Finch asked.

Janna put her hands on his shoulders. Even though he was done growing, she was a full two heads taller than him.

“Son, there are many, many more. You probably won’t find them all even after you graduate.”

Daniel Triumph.

See? I told you this would be a fun series!

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The Wavering World

Shamelessly Inspired by Aeva and the Waving World.

When Janna finally woke up, she felt a numb pain in her forearm. She looked to her right and remembered what was going on. She was stuck to the tree, a branch jutting out from the space between the two bones in her arm. She was in a hole, a lush bright brown hole of dirt, moss, grass, and the tree. The tree who’s branch was intruding on her arm’s wellbeing.

She knew her sister was there with her, but everything was so blurry. She was in an uncanny and wavering world. Off in the distance, it seemed, a hazy figure moved with purpose. Then, it stopped all of a sudden.

It spoke with the voice of a feminine man, or perhaps a deep woman.

“Ah, the King is awake.”

The voice touched her ears, but seemed to skip all the formalities of her nerves and go straight to her mind. It was a warm feeling. This person, who was not at all her sister, was very easy to listen to.

“You have lost four ounces. You use ounces, correct? No? I apologize. You have lost two-hundredths of a stone. Oh, no stone either?” The person looked away, a glowing blur, “twelve percent of you blood is here, shared with me in the ground. I thank you, dear, I have taken what I require.”

It was definitely a woman, but her voice was deep, deeper even than Natasha’s, who spoke low due to the immense height of her trachea. Natasha blinked and tried to focus, but nothing worked.

“You have fluid in you eyes, focusing will not help, dear. Look, I will show you.”

Then Janna felt a spined tongue lash out softly and clean her eyes. Yes, it was so large a tongue that it cleaned both eyes at once.

Janna blinked again, and focused, and this time it worked. Before her a lioness stood, grinning smugly as cats do.

“You will be fine,” the creature growled, licking Janna’s arm, “but this will forever be the weaker for it. In certain distant timelines you lose a lot more blood, so perhaps you might consider how close you are now to joining me and my company.”

The lioness looked to the sky as she said “company,” and then became a blur once more. Janna blinked, and between instances, the cat, Mother Nature, disappeared.

“She’s gone catatonic. Oh good, the bleeding has slowed. From being catatonic.”

It was the deep feminine voice of Natasha.

“But it still hasn’t stopped. And I didn’t find anything.”

There was a great sigh. She was blurred but Janna, who was entirely unable to move or act, could see what she was doing. She came into focus, but only slightly.

Janna watched her older sister as the young woman closed her eyes and, taking a bone razor from about her neck, cut neatly across her inner wrist. A small but deep vivisection. Natasha violently tore a tendon and then noticed Janna’s open eyes.

“This is all I could find. There are no vines around. Do not look at me so, this is the vestigial tendon, it does nothing.”

Even as Natasha said this she realized that she had pulled the wrong one and no longer had control of her pinky finger. She inhaled sharp regret, swore, and then continued regardless. She wasn’t going to go pulling out any more, but she still had what she needed.

Natasha tied the artery closed, then cut the dead tendon and wrapped it around the forearm near the elbow. Then she removed Janna from the tree and lifted her. Janna at this point was a lot smaller than her sister. She had yet to hit puberty, while her sister had just finished with it.

Natasha held Janna close, facing away, and then sat against the tree with Janna in her lap. They stared up out of the hole. Natasha embraced her little sister, and Janna, who had begun to shiver and turn blue, was grateful for the warmth.

Natasha held the wound tight. She had slowed the blood flow a lot, but it seemed not enough. An hour passed. The wound stopped bleeding. Natasha studied it and after another hour she removed the tendon that bound the artery. The now healed tube did not reopen after blood flow returned at full force.

“Oh, thank the spirits.”

Minutes passed, and Natasha removed the other tendon as well. She no longer had to apply pressure either.

She realized that Janna had been sleeping for a long time. Good. Natasha lay back and rested, but did not sleep. Her wound also healed, although she would not notice the regrown pinky tendon for some time.

Not a moment later, Chloe, the youngest of the family, jumped to the mouth of the fissure. She always ran with a sort of bound, prancing about with her tongue sticking out at the corner of her round face. Natasha looked up and saw her.

“I got mum! And also, Kain and dad and Zealott too!”

Only then did Natasha sleep.

Daniel Triumph.