Archive for March, 2016

Rings of Fate S1xE2 – Explorer – Discoveries (pt.5)

allringsfinal2.pngFiery streaks were drawn across the sky, visible by day and night. The distant thunder of objects breaching the soundbarrier as they entered earth’s atmosphere was omnipresent, followed by the appearance of yet another streak. “I’m going on the Explorer, Dad. Tell Mum that I am sorry.” Nye turned to an elderly man. His cheerfulness vanished from his face, slowly he stepped toward his daughter. “For what? Surviving?” He shook his head. “Don’t worry, your mother understands. We will live on through you.”

After a short embrace Nye’s father stepped back. “I guess you lived in starship city all this time, you should return there.” Nervously Nye looked at the time on her cellphone. The flight was due in three hours. “I guess I should.” After an awkward pause she hugged her father again. “I love you dad. And mum. Everyone.”

“I know kid. We love you too.”

 

Nye awoke to the sound of her alarm beeping from her nightstand. Grumbling she turned it off, got up. Wouldn’t there be a chance to meet Jacob, she would prefer to stay in bed.

“Today’s schedule?” Her voice sounded like an angry bear woken from its slumber. “Meeting with the feasibility group on project Ericsson at 10, open invitation for lunch with Jacob Charles at 12:30,”

“Confirm invitation, but request for rescheduling at 14:00!” She interrupted the computer voice, a moments pause later she was doing her morning routine, left her quarters mere twenty minutes after getting up. The hardest thing I ever had to do was giving up coffee for life, she thought while walking to the tube. Maybe Jacob has some growing in that garden?

The ride to her office offered little new, Karla came in late. Leif had sent more telemetry, but was way past Ericsson, only more of nothing, including that it would shut down communication since it was drawing on its power supply.

Although powered by a small thermonuclear device it had to conserve energy too. “What is new?” Heavy german accent woke Nye from her train of thought.

“Nothing. Why do you ask?”

Karla curled her lips, “You are dating that bioengineer, yes?”

Feeling her lips turn to smile and her cheeks warm with the heat of a blush, Nyr turned away to face the screens again. “Yes. We’re having lunch today.” I hope.

Again her mind wandered off, to the ten o’clock meeting with the feasibility group. “We have that meeting today.”

“You’re just trying to change topic! So how is it going with that plant doctor?”

Again smiling and blushing like a schoolgirl Nye sighed. “Well.” Am I a substitute for a decent soap opera? “He showed me some of their work.” Both of them smiled.

 

In the feasibility meeting for a potential landing on Ericsson, Nye was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the involved scientists thought it possible to land a small group and bring them back.

Their curiosity about the rogue planet was just as big as hers. Mostly astrophysicists, geologists and astrobiologists. If it was up to them, they would be going themselves, staying long enough for Destiny to pick them up after ten years. Studying the first truly alien world they came across was an opportunity they did not want to miss. Formed in a solar system other than the one they came from. Especially the civilisation that had perished there.

Only one medical doctor had joined the the group, and he too was convinced that a human could, if prepared amd protected properly, survive the extreme acceleration. His main concern was with germs that the visitors brought with them to the foreign environment, and how to feed the group there if the worst should happen to occur.

But the consensus of the group was clear, it was not only feasible, but also, necessary.

 

Still she had to steal herself away from the meeting, so she could make it on time to her date with Jacob.

As before they met up at the access to the tube network where they first met. Somehow Nye wasn’t looking forward to her next meeting with Doctor Donal.

It had been Jacob who set the date, Nye set the time, and thus she had prepared food in one of the mass halls in the outer sections of the ring. Close to noone lived there yet, the hall was empty.

Stools and chairs covered with sheets, rese, bling almost a scene from a horror movie, or a ghost town’s deserted diner.

Lunch came in bags that they had picked up.

“I must confess, before I’ve met you, I never had heard your name used as a first name before.” Nye lowered her fork, she was drowning in dark brown eyes. “Well,” she cleared her throat, “that’s because it usually isn’t a first name. My mother is sort of a late hippy.” As so often when she spoke with, or about Jacob, she blushed. “I was conceived on New Years Eve, my name is an acronym for that. N. Y. E., Nye.”

Neither could help but laugh, echoes of the empty hall were swallowed by the sheets on stools and tables. “Do you have any questions about my name?”

Musing for a moment Nye played with the fork. “Not realy.” She admitted finally. “But I definitely am a member of team Jacob.”

“You watched those movies?” He blurted out, glad he left out that he found them god awful. “Yes.” Nervously she picked up some food.”But then I read the books, and hated the movies.” She winked.

A moment of silence paseed between them, Nye felt awkward. “What movies did you watch?”

A broad grin appeared on Jacob’s face, exposing white teeth that made Nye feel like hers were black. “I enjoyed all the nerdy stuff that could get you horribly beaten up in South Africa. But if my information is correct, it could get you horribly beaten up anywhere else too.” Again they shared laughter.

Outside the hall sounds alerted them to someone else in the otherwise empty part of ship. Peeking over her shoulder Jacob just greeted someone with a nod, then they were alone once again. “Just a colleague, tending the plants in the hallways.” he quickly explained.

Although the outer levels of the rings were largely uninhabited, the hallways and common rooms were filled with plants, just like in all other parts of the ship, producing oxygen.

Before Jacob knew what happened, Nye had gotten up, bowed over the table and kissed him. Baffled, but glad he returned the kiss. A muffled computer voice in Nye’s pocket told them that a mere fifteen minutes had passed since their lunch break had begun. Slowly she pulled her hand from her pocket, with which she had pressed the button on her HUD glasses to tell the time.

“Fifteen minutes to go.” She breathed only centimetres from Jacob’s face.

Her intention of moving slow in this relationship was melting away rapidly.

No. There was no moving slow.

If her dream was a sign from her subconscious, as her therapist would tell her, it was a sign that there was no time to move things slow.

Life was precious.

And short.

 

With one look Karla knew how her colleague had spent her lunch break. The messed up hair and hastily rebuttoned clothes told her everything she needed to know. “Anything happened I should know about?”

Karla shook her head, suppressing a smirk. “Good, … then, …” Nye stammered looking around. “I, … uhm, I need a minute or two, … to,” her desperate search for an excuse to leave once more so she could make herself representable again was interrupted by the beeping of an incoming transmission.

A quick look at the source was cause enough for both of them to pause.

The Magellan probe.

Second farthest of the probes sent in advance to RV-p 296.

Radiation associated with antimatter detected. “Our children will run into this when they are in their forties.” If I had kids right now that is. Nye swallowed. “Contact the Admiral.” Karla suggested with an ill feeling in her stomach.

Crappy Easter 4/4

Nothing says resurrection of Christ, quite like a bunny shaped pillow and a stoned plushie.
Nothing.

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Because the death and resurrection of story of this Jesus dude, would be nothing without the integral parts of drug addicted rodents that multiply faster than a virus in an unvaccinated child.
Really.
It’s there, look it up.

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Until next time,
Take care, keep shopping, and good bye.
A.

War Journal – 1 Swift Wings (ep6)

Leif sat under a fir near the house waiting for Eric. “You came!” Eric sounded surprised as he emerged from the darkness behind Leif. “Theobald paid us a visit just today, he was worried for you, in two days he had not seen so much as a thread of your cloak, let alone you. He figures you stowed away somewhere in that keep of yours.” Leif smirked, such was his intention, the old knight needed not to know where he had been.With slight envy Leif studied the stubs on his father’s face. He had hidden for two day sin the forest, oher than a smell and some dirt, no one could tell. But there was not a single hair sprouting on hos cheeks and chin. Obviously his father hadn’t shaved in those two days, sporting a manly stub. “So what did you.want me to come here for?” Leif had had time to calm down but the reminder of his shortcomings on his father’s face made him angry again. “Come.” Eric smiled, turning away from the farn again. His guests thought him ill, lying in a cabin in the woods where he and Thorsten woukd retreat to when surprised by heavier-than-usual storms while working their fields, so not a single one of them would be missing him. “I had promised your moher to raise Erica to a woman she’d be proud in. It wounds me deeply I probably won’t be able to do so.” he announced as they wandered through the darkness of the woods. The conifers around them darkened the land further, not that it hadn’t been dark before. Stronger wind gusts told of the forest lightening up ahead of them, soon giving way to some undergrowth, berries most like. From the shelter cabin that Eric was supposedly lying in their path went further to the west. Through now empty fields, sheltered from the winds ferocious zeal by undergrowth and trees, nothing more than clearings in the forest. As they passed through a group of treestumps in he middle of the forest Leif felt painfully reminded of the boat his brothers in the order were building. “There we are.” Eric’s voice was laden with pride.Gently waves caressed the prow of the little ship, though the wind blew quite violently, and soft rain mixed with spray from the ocean blew with the gusts, the ship only rocked a little. Undoubtedly both due to its design and he small bay it lay in. Waves of the sea only rolled ashore there when the tide went in. From the deck came gentle light from a lantern hung at the mast, one of the lanterns that snuffed the flame if the winds should sweep it off and shatter the tank holding the oil. “Thorsten helped me build her whenever time allowed us.” Eric climbed a knotted rope at the side of the ship. Leif followed, still lost for words. “Your.order might have taken your idea into their own hands, but you and I will leave the pole in pursuit of your endeavor.” “You are coming as well?” finally having found his tongue again Leif stopped gazing around the ship long enough to stare at his father. “There is no way I’m letting you go alone, Erica will be raised by Thorsten and his wife. Most like she’ll be raised as their daughter, with her nephew as brother of the same age.” Eric looked up the mast with dismay. “Unless the lass birthens a girl too!” he added, wishing he could stay and raise Erica, doung right by Yngrid, but the dire tones Leif had sung when talking about the perils their people faced drove him to do otherwise. Thorsten was not only understanding but more than willing to agree to not selling Erica into a marriage agreement before she was of an age, and consenting. Both Thorstens wife and Yngrid had always been insistent on the consent of their potential daughters. Most marriage arrangements were consensual, although some families tried to get an arrangement before time. Navigating the ship through the narrows of the bay was the hardest part, no ne alive on the pole had much experience in sailing, although there were a few fishermen in the eastern village. They were positioned inside a bay that experienced little waves, unless a heavy storm wreaked havoc on the land, outside the bay waves crushed at the rocks, ebbed down on the narrow opening, allowing the people of the bay to sail. “Westward, until the storms end.” Eric announced after he and Leif had successfully left their little bay, and braved the waves that rose out in the sea. Behind them the sun rose, and turned the clouds into colorful specs in a dark gray sky. Soon the color vanished again and the sky turned from a sea of color, ranging from dark gray to rosé and pink, as well as orange and blood like crimson, into a mixture of different grays. All the while rain was driven around the pole in a clockwise motion by the winds.Soaked by both rain and spray from the waves that broke against the backboard side of the ship and its prow, Eric manned the rudder. Leif had his hands full keeping the sail from ripping and he ropes from tangling. The design of the small vessel provided shelter from most of what the angry sea thad to throw at them, but some waves managed to reach the railing and unload water onto the deck. Using his.knowledge from keeping his granary sealed Eric had made certain that the lower compartment of the ship remained dry.

Crappy Easter 3/4

Cages, broken eggshells, and shooting gallery training targets.

Okay, I have a theory.

This was for a shelved Jurassic Park movie. The raptors hatched from the eggs, and were supposed to trap themselves in the cages, but since they have some anomalous DNA in them, they Chameleon their way around this by appearing as bunny shaped shooting targets…

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Here’s a pro tipp, you want half an eggschell?
Ostrich farm. They sell ’em, and they do NOT look lile crap.

Crappy Easter 2/4

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Don’t you love itnhow he stands there all like “Bitch always undercooks the eggs.” While she looks as if she laid them herself, colored them to resemble the Irish flag, and seems to ask herself – in a moment of self awareness – why she’s holding this crap, a bunny can’t cook irish sparrow eggs, “you little snottlet”.

So 20 euros for one of the soulsnatching, demon hatching, oirish Bunnies from hell, with an attitude.
Nope. I think not.

Crappy Easter 1/4

It is that yime of the year again, the one where the highest Christian holiday is taking place!

Yes, you read that right. This one is the highest Christian holiday, not that disturbing massdelusion of consumerism in December (for which I still need to make an index).

Anyhow, let us celebrate today’s alleged crucifixion of Jesus Christ, by carrying around colored eggs in this abominable paper trashbag

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In all honesty, the transfixed stare this bag sports, paired with the small, but definitely recognisable smirk is more the stuff of nightmares, than glee and joy. Better keep it away from the kids, unless your little snowflakes from hell are already psychologically disturbed little demon spawns…

Do not come to Austria!

That is the message our foreign ministry wants to send to potential migrants/refugees from Afghanistan, by running a campaign in TV Radio and on busses and print there.

Are you fraking kidding me?

This is called negative advertising. It makes people want to come to Austria. Why?

Simple psychology. “They don’t want us going there. It must be the land of milk and honey, lets go there!”

Jesus refugee Christ in a warzone.
Do these people have advisers? Do these advisers have a functional brain and/or sense of reality? Let alone a degree in psychology? I know I don’t have one, but I’d go to the land that ADVERTISES not to come.

Clearly a lot of effort and cash went into making these anti-adverts, and that means, they got to hide something, don’t want to share.
I need to go there!

Dear ministry of foreign affairs in Austria, step down.
All of you.
Now.

The refugee crisis won’t be solved by running anti-adverts for Austria in the countries where many of the refugees come from. Help ending the wars. Then the refugees will go home, or stay there.
Simple. Takes more effort, but the solution is really simple…

Take care,
A.

Rings of Fate S1xE2 – Explorer – Discoveries (pt.4)

allringsfinal2.png“For now we will send automated probes to the planet, we’re certain they can be instructed to manufacture a delivery system. If we’re going to send people, and the civilian authorities urge to stress the ‘if’, we’ll make that decision when the Explorer nears range.” Admiral Anderson stood at the front of the board room, where Nye had stood before.

As he went on to tell the assembly that a ship wide announcement would be made, and transmitted to the other ships and Earth, Nye drifted off mentally. Off to Jacob, and their impending lunch, or dinner. Blushing as she recalled the embarrassing part of her message she had neglected to delete, she heard her name from the Admiral. “Pardon?”

“I asked whether you could oversee the probes operations once they reached the planet?”

Nye chased away her thoughts of Jacob. “Admiral, the term Probe control is misleading. With these distances all we can do is receive telemetry, sent long before we receive it. By the time our instructions are received by the probes, any unforeseen circumstances have already played out. ” Her hot cheeks did not get cold, as all eyes in the room were fixed on her. “But me and Karla can oversee the telemetry sent to us. We can help with the programming and backup programming.” Uncomfortably shifting from one foot to the other Nye wished to be as far from the conference room as possible.

“I see. Still, we would like you and Dr. Hansen to be in charge of the probes for that planet.” The Admiral looked to the others who gave confirming nods.

Probe control just got more interesting. Smiling both Nye and Karla accepted the new assignments.

“Doctor Monroe, a word please.” Nye was already on her way out when the Admiral asked her back in. Commander Brenda O’learey was there too. “Did you receive any telemetry concerning the Ark1 from the advance probes?” Nye thought for a moment. There had been telemetry, but they had sent it to the command centre after they figured out what it was. Since that incident a few weeks prior no further telemetry concerning the Ark1 had been received.

 

Beeping.

Annoying beeping, Nye thought. Drunken on sleep she gazed at the fake windows of her room.

Dark, to simulate night.

Stretched out on the bed, which doubled as couch, she was still watching the ship’s television network. During an episode of her favourite hospital series she had fallen asleep. In the top right corner of the screen was the current time, informing her she had slept for only twenty minutes. “Accept call.” She mumbled to her headpiece as she lifted it from her nightstand.

“Good evening, Doctor!” Jacob’s voice filled the tiny room.

“Good evening, Doctor!” Immediately she had found her smile again.

“I found your message, and was wondering whether you’d like to have dinner tonight?”

How did he find out where to call me? “Sure! I’d love that!” Close to jumping from the edge of her bed Nye grinned. “Where and when?”

“Let’s say in thirty minutes, where we met!” She clearly heard that he was grinning as well.

 

The minutes flew by in a great haste.

Before Nye knew it, she had changed clothes and stood next to the doors of the tube network. With a hiss the doors to the tube pressurised. As they slid open, Jacob stepped out.

Never before had she considered the hempen clothes looking good on anyone, but Jacob looked dashing in his dark blue ensemble. “Doctor Monroe!” He took a slight bow. “Doctor Charles.” She dropped a curtsy.

“I thought to show you something beautiful tonight, if I may.”

Blushing Nye followed his inviting hand gesture and stepped into the tube cab. He entered the destination into the display and the doors closed. With a hiss they depressurized, and the magnetically suspended cab took flight in the vacuum tube. After a few moments the doors hissed, opened, and revealed a humid hallway. Plants covered the ground, only stepping stones led away. “Water refinement, seed vaults.” He pointed at the doors that were half hidden. The ceiling was twice as high as in every other compartment of the Explorer that Nye had seen so far. After a turn the hallway broadened toward a large door.

“Unauthorized personel detected.” A screen next to the door flashed up. Would either of them be wearing their glasses they’d see the words flash in front of the doors as well. “Authorisation Jacob Charles, PHD, bioengineering. Unauthorized person has temporary permission.”

The screen turned green and then dark. Humming the doors opened, revealing something that Nye had known existed aboard the Explorer, but had never seen before. “We’re working on a fenced off public access to the gardens, but first we want to be sure that the plants have fully developed and are stable.” Nye barely heard him talk. Her eyes drank up the glorious sight she beheld. The entire inside of the ring was overgrown. An orchard of epic proportions.

 

“Engineers first wanted to build one gigantic cylinder, an O’Neil cylinder, but for obvious safety reasons that was transformed into the rings. Then it was debated how much of the rings was supposed to be gardens, and how much space should be used for quarters, offices, labs, et cetera. All the while taking the coriolis efect into account.” Jacob explained while leading Nye through the orchard. “This is the end result.” He pointed to a relatively large tree. A blanket covered the ground beneath, a basket stood on it. “A picnic?”

“A nice first date, I thought?” Jacob displayed an open innocent smile that would’ve won Nye over, had his message at the tube entrance not done so already.

Walking in the direction of the ship’s length axis was no problem, but in any other direction created the impression of slightly walking uphill.

The tree was uphill.

Above them the central tubes stretched lengthwise through the ring, inside the central column, which was lined with the lighting for the gardens. Currently only displaying a pale moonlight like illumination to simulate night. “How does irrigation work? The central column is zero gravity, so rain must be difficult to simulate?”

“It is zero G, but still we can use pressure to make rain happen. It isn’t the same as on earth, but it’s something.” Jacob sat down beside Nye. “Maybe you’d want to be here next time it rains?”

Loving the idea Nye just nodded enthusiastically.

“So, Jacob Charles PHD, tell me something about yourself.”

Snickering Jacob opened the basket and took a bottle out, two cups and poured one. “You sound like Doc Fraiser.” Seeing Nye baffled with ignorance about Doctor Fraiser he handed her one cup. “He’s my therapist.”

A wave of a familiar smell swept over her from the cup. Demonstratively she sniffed at it. “It is watered down, but otherwise genuine, no artificial tastes or sweeteners added.”

Apple juice.

Genuine apple juice.

Nye felt like a new being while taking the first sip.

“As I said, soon harvests will be big and prove stable enough for a raffle. Meanwhile the bioengineering department is rewarding it’s employees with the fruits of their labour.” Jacob said in a frie dly low tone.

The only reward I get for my labour, is more labour. Nye silently pondered sloshing a sip of apple juice around in her mouth.

“Anyway,”Jacob put the bottle back in the basket. “I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. But I did not stay there. After graduating I went and got accepted into the Explorer crew after my work in thd field of Bioengineering at the university. I lost five brothers and two sisters, ” musing he paused, “or rather I will loose them. Once disaster strikes, but I’ve broken up contact with them when the ship took flight. Now you tell me something about yourself, Nye Monroe PhD.”

Blue feelings washed over Nye, only repelled by Jacobs presence. “I’m from New York, left my family there as well. It tears me apart, and sometimes I doubt it was the right thing to do.”

Jacob laid his hand upon hers. “To quote Doc Fraiser, we all are plagued by these thoughts and doubts. And to tell you the thruth, I for one am damn glad you made that choice. Even in the event that this is our last date, I really enjoy this moment. And I feel privileged to have met you.”

Feeling heat in her cheeks, Nye sighed. “I too am glad that we met.” slowly she withdrew her hand. “I ain’t saying that this leads to nothing, but can we move slower?”

A broad smile appearedappeared on Jacob’s lips. “Please, forgive me if I seemed to rush forward! I merely wanted you to know that I am glad you’re here, and that I’m glad to have met you.” Smiling with him Nye looked up. Through the branches of the apple tree, faint lights of the garden on the other side of the ring were visible.

Tue 22nd March 2016

Again some people blew themselves up in an urban area killing innocent people.
Again it was done by people who did it because they have an infirority complex about their god.
Again.
Just like a few days ago (or was it a week already?) in Turkey.

Again.

Now I’m not particularly sad about people losing their lives, although it is a tragedy and the victims, survivors and relatives have my sympathy.
I’m not in fear or terror that some insecure lunatic with a bomb might blow himself up in my face.
I’m not even all that enraged that all this is still a thing in this day and age – what ever stupid and arbitrary scale of measuring time (a.k.a. caldender) you adhere to – although admittedly I do feel a sizeable amount of anger.

Mostly, I’m just disappointed.

We have discovered/proven fucking gravitational waves just now!
We have unlocked the once indivisble thing (the atom) and discovered that the stuff that makes it up (protons, neutrons and electrons), is made up of even smaller things (quarks, etc.).
We KNOW that evolution is a thing – we can see it on a day to day basis with germs and even pests that develop immunity to our pesticides and antibiotics.
We KNOW that the earth is a sphere (I know it’s a bit bumpy, but a newly minted billard ball has deeper cravices than anything the earth has to offer, so STFU), orbiting the sun, which is in turn oribiting the center of the galaxy, which in turn is but one of hundreds of thousands in the observable universe.
We know the big bang is a thing, and we know almost everything that happened in those first moments after it occured.
We have deciphered our genome, and we KNOW that we share 98.9% of our genes with our closest relative in the animal kingdom – the chimpanzee!
We have technologies that allow us to communicate with people on the other side of the planet as if they were in the room with us. We have devices that fit in our hands that can store more information and perform more calculations than what was necessary to land people on the fucking moon and bring them back a few days later.

And STILL!
STILL people kill each other based on some trivial shit such as skin color or the even more retarded thing to get upset about – INVISIBLE FRIENDS!

If god exists – and you morons keep insisting on that – he or she or it is not proud of any of you (or me). He/she/it is disappointed.
Once you die, none of you fuckers is going to heaven. You’ll go to the pearly gates, where you will be greeted by god, slowly shaking his/her/its head showing the utter disappointment in your conduct in life. (Whether you’re a radical religious nut, xenophobe or nationalist doesn’t matter.)
And off you go. He whisks you off to someplace else. Wherever that may be.

So no.
I am not mad.
I am not sad.
I am disappointed.

Here’s to hope that all these differenfes will be forgotten or overcome soon, and that our shithead politicians, religious leaders and economic leaders will either be burned publicly to make an example, so that we will stop bloodshed over NOTHING, and stop burning coal and oil while we can make electricity out of daylight and wind.
Maybe we can create a clean and sustainable future for ourselves, launch ourselves into space and spread out.
So we will survive the inevitable desaster that WILL one day smash into our planet potentially killing close to everything on the planet.

But that is the delusional hopes of a hopeless romantic and optimist, my realistic side tells me that the random GRB or stray asteroid wipingnus out would be a relief…

Take care,
B.

War Journal – 1 Swift Wings (ep5)

The lights inside the keep were low as usual, the hallways scarcely lit, the common rooms only drenched in dim light reflecting off the basalt walls. But it was warm, the volcano rthe keep was built into saw to that. Only a few parts extended out of the rock, providing daylight for the rooms inside. The scholars study room was one such room. Five of the brothers in the scholars division were crowded around a table, discussing the plans spread out before them. Their cloaks and hoods were hung on hooks next to tge door, one had left his in his chamber. Leif glanced into the study, the walls made of basalt quaders reflected little light back into the room, seemed to swallow the light. But they gave off the warmth of the sun, heating the room even more. There was a lot of dust in the air, Leif could see in the rays of light shining through the windows. All the parchments, papyrus scrolls and folios, they lost part of themselves to become dust. Better than to turn into mold he thought watching the silent dance of dusty specks in the light. “Brother!” Theobald turned the corner seeing Leif in the door to the study. “Brother Theobald.” he greeted, bowing his head. “Doesn’t it fill you with joy that your plan is set in motion?”

“It does,” Leif glanced back to the knights around the table. “I just had hoped that it would be me who sets out to sea.” it was hard voicing his anger in such calm words. “I can understand, but you have to understand the decision, a seasoned knight, who knows how to speak with a golden tongue is better suited for this mission of yours.” Leif swallowed anger, enough to still his hunger for the day he thought. “What if the young races made it?” Theobald looked at him in a puzzled manner. “The bane. What if they restored the bane?” Waving away the idea with his left hand Theobald took anoher two steps to the study. “The dragons destroyed the sandtrees, without honey from their nectar, without their roots, the bane can not be restored.”Turning to face the study as well Leif sighed. “There might be other ways, you read the ancient reports, the sandtrees had spread their pollen with the winds that drifted north and towards the sea line between continents.” he shook his head. “What if they did?” Theobalds face was laden with thought when Leif took a look at it. “Maybe the young races did manage to recreate the bane, most like they did not. It is not you who will sail, understood?” disgruntled Leif took a turn and left the.older knight standing in the hallway in front of the study. It was not often that Leif wandered to the dome in the knights keep. Gazing off the railing made him dizzy. Oil lights lit the large structure, showing countless rails, levels and rooms beyond. The numbers of knights the keep could hold was higher than anything he could count, the nunber it held was around nine hundred. “Leave me be Theobald, I’ll be down there, seeing if I can find lost treasure of thought in the depths of our keep.” he glanced over his shoulder to Theobald who had come after him. “If you wish.” the old knight sounded hurt, he had been Leif’s mentor aince he had joined the scholars of the order. Only the sounds his shoes made on the basalt ground as company he descended into he keep. There were guarded doors on every floor, those that lead to the gateway, formed by liquid fiery rock. Each of the guards had a horn, meant to be sounded if trouble arose on the other side of the locked and watched doors. He avoided that side of the dome. Also the lowest floor was to be avoided, a few scrawny old knights stood, or rather sat, watch there.There amongst thousands upon hundreds of thousands of skulls. The wooden medallions on leather strings handlging below their lifeless grins. Their bodys long gone into the fire, their ahses long gone to the soils in the farms. The farthest back one went he more likely it was to find the wood and leather had also turned to dust over he thousands of years. Leif frowned. He had no objection of his skull staying in the dry heat of the orders graveyard, but pointlessness in which his talent was wasted in his eyes made him angry and sad.He took a turn away from curious eyes and paced slowly through living quarters that had been empty for close to two thousand years. Just long enough until watch was changed. The lantern he held was giving off warm orange light, although he had to admit, warmth was the least of their problems. The doors to he sides of the hallways were open, or half open, if they were closed they were not locked and Leif wohld leave them open after entering the rooms behind. A bed, a table, two chairs and a trunk. Standard issue chambers. Ever now and then a large room with several tables and benches, a small common room for the knights around. Most of the furniture would turn to dust if touched, although the dry heat preserved the wood better than a damp cold would. Sometimes he found a trunk still worthy of the name, although he wouldn’t put anything too heavy in it, or sit on it. Mostly he went in the old chambers to read.Like their wooden medallions, which every knight had, many carved their names into the bedposts. Name, date of birth and date when joined, followed by name, date of birth and date when joined. sometimes he thought of moving down there, but it would’ve been too far off. He liked the company. And the thirty or so names in his bedpost, followed by his own, were like friends. The further down one went, the shorter the lists of names, only one level above the cemetery he imagined things were differently. The oldest and most frail of knights guarding the cemetery lived there. As the watch changed he slipped up again, careful as not to be noticed, he knew ways out of the keep without being noticed. Probably every knight knew them. Back in the day when celibacy was not enforced by mandatory becoming a eunuch some of the brothers had found, and made, sneak ways out of the keep. He was glad for these ways.Once outside he took to the woods, he’d wait the two days out, better than to be furher upset by the plans he helped set in motion, and especially the changes made to these plans.Music drifted across the yard of Eric’s farm, the sun was already setting behind the storm clouds, winds gusted across the land in furious manner. Only a few people had set out to Eric’s for the harvest festival, all relatives of some sort. Leif’s maternal cousins and their husbands, their children. An aunt he barely knew, allegedly a widow, but Leif wasn’t sure and he would not stop by to ask. The greater harvest festival would be in the villages great hall below the rock, one woukd not have to fight the elements to reach it, unless of course it was Eric and Thorsten going there.