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Stone Child

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Mar 23rd, 2015
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  1. The dry basins of Neolithus lied cold and silent in the dead of night. Thin, sparse clouds threaded through the dark blue sky dotted by millions of stars and galaxies, most notably the galactic core, eclipsed slightly by Neolithus's largest moon, Anghrørd, roughly translated as "Star-Child". The pale stone face of Neolithus was scarred by deep gorges, resembling massive scars, and small crater-like indents. These circular indents were not natural, however, and were dwarfed in size by the gorges, as they were at most 100 meters in diameter. They resembled huge quarries, which they technically were. What made these quarries special was that within them, extensive villiages lined the ringed edges and dug deep into the earth, connected to unfathomably deep catacombs by simple holes and tunnels. The buildings were mostly made of wood and mud, curiously, for they were built in quarries. The reason for this, was that most of the Stone went to building the towering monoliths that surrounded the villages. The huge monuments were silent guardians, warding off the monsters and horrors that lurked in the dark, decrepit crevasses and mountain caves. Atop the wooden scaffolding that clung to the sides of the giant stone archs, sat a nameless herder and farmer, wrapped in dusty linens to keep him warm. His feet hung over the edge, dangling hundreds of feet in the air, as he watched the stars dance overhead. He did not like to look at the ground, as it was often crawling with strange things this time of night. The stars brought comfort. Even during the great storms, he would sojourn on top of the monoliths, shielded by makeshift shelter as the warm stone soothed him to sleep. he had no claim to his name, nor a name at all. He had a word that others would call him, but he had no family line, no known ancestors. The Stone Augurs were unable to connect him to the ancient proto-clans, and his name was not scribed in the endless corridors of the catacombs. These titanic pillars of protection, built centuries before by the first men and maintained by their descendants, were the closest things he had to that deep connection, a glowing thread tied into the golden rope of time.
  2. He sighed, and lied back on the warm rock. His eyelids drifted shut, and he felt sleep enveloping him.
  3. Until the rock began to shake. He awoke with a start, fearing the worst; a stone-clash. Stone-clashes were when great stones beneath the earth crashed into eachother, causing havoc and destruction on the surface. He jumped to his feet and descended from the monolith hastily, knowing a giant upright rock was not the best place to be during a stone-clash. The nameless man looked up at the monument from the ground, making sure he was far enough away that should the column fall it would not send him to the afterlife. When he looked, he was blinded momentarily by an intense, burning object. The thing streaked through the sky, making the earth tremble beneath the man's feet. It rocketed into the horizon, towards the mountains. No one ever went into the mountains, unless he was insane or suicidal. The dark night was lit by a fiery, white explosion, and the shockwave blew the nameless man off his feet. The entire mountainside was on fire, and even from the immense distance he could see the flames.
  4. He saw it as a gift of the gods. A chance to claim his destiny, the one he was denied at his birth. The people of the village called him insane, mad, and a fool. He ignored them. He knew, deep in his heart, that his fate lied beyond the horizon, in the dreaded mountains where men go to die. He did not fear death. He had no future, no wife, no child, no family. No woman in their right mind would marry a man of no bloodline. And so he walked, out of the stepped quarry of his village, and beyond the towering monoliths. He soon dissapeared into the dust, to what all presumed to be his doom.
  5. But he did not die, he trudged onward through the knee-deep dust, his soles pressing against the dry stone beneath. He hid from the hideous beasts at night, and saw things that would drive some men insane. He was on a mission, and not even hell could stop him. He had taken enough ridicule, enough silent mockery. He was even lower than a bastard, a man with no name. But that was all about to change.
  6. At the end of the third day, he reached the foot of the mountains. He climbed the jagged rocks, bloodying his hands and feet. Finally, as the sun rose behind the summit of the imposing mountain he had conquered, he reached the impact site. It was a giant crater, charred and still burning after 3 days and 4 nights. He stumbled into the deep, geological scar, marvelling at the plethora of relics that littered the black, burnt earth.
  7. Then he heard a noise. It sounded like... a baby. A baby's cry, yes, it was a baby's cry. He wandered towards the noise, maneuvering through the huge hunks of reflective stone-no, it wasn't stone, this was something else-and then he saw it. An infant, wriggling on its back like an overturned turtle. It was covered in the black ash, and seemed to have fallen out of whatever heavenly carriage had sent it there. The man rushed over to the child, swaddling it in his brown cloak. He caressed his soft head, and his weeping began to soften. The man glanced over to the child's container, and saw only the signs "XVII", although the lines meant nothing to him in his native tongue. He dug his fingers into the charred earth, rubbing the black substance between his fingertips. "Onyx" he said to himself. "Onyx!" he exclaimed, laughing to himself and looking back at the dirt-covered infant. The man rose to his feet, and held the child in the light of the morning sun. A new age had dawned on Neolithus.
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