I’m pretty sure I started to sweat. You don’t think about those thing when they happen though, you just feel the tension in the air, and the racing incoherent thoughts, with the one saying ‘outrage’ quite loud among them, still hardly recognizable among the other thoughts. “So, uh, uh, what is an offering? And what is the Plane?”
The Elder looked towards me, and for some reason I felt like he was seeing me for the first time. He had an odd hollowness to the way he moved. His arms made stiff motions that reminded me of a robot, or perhaps a puppet. “Yes, I felt another void among our populace recently. That must be you. One is taxing enough to divine, but two is untenable. We will make a double offering this period.”
He… Made no effort to answer my questions. Of course, Mika had the look of ‘What creature with no brain are you?’ I… Just don’t know what to do about this.
Mika finally looked away from me, slowly looking back to the elder. “He… is a void too? Where did he come from? I was told that I was the only Void currently alive.” Her last few words were quiet, almost hard to hear, like a muttering to herself.
“We were unaware till now as well. We are aware that we could not know of his existence, but not why, the Trees have deemed it so. We are also aware that he is… Ignorant. You have precious little time left before the offering. Teach him of that he does not understand, and of the Runes. You will need him to survive in the Plane. The Trees provide all in the Enclave. In the Plane, you must find your own way. You now have access to the Library. It is kept for those among us who walk another way. Once you enter, you are sealed forever from our thoughts. Mind that in your planning.”
Mika looked pale, I felt pale. I’m pretty sure we were being banished. First day in another world, and already banished. Let’s take an inventory:
Beaten up by someone of the opposite gender? Check.
Fallen from a (presumably) unsurvivable height? Check.
Exiled immediately for no apparent reason? Check.
How the hell is this supposed to be an opportunity to revel in base desires? Clearly not.
Mika looked to me and spoke, “We have a lot to cover, lets go to my room and talk.” She grabbed my arm, and dragged me back out of the trunk of the tree.
“I don’t really understand any of what just happened…” I tried talking to her.
She inhaled, and breathed deeply for several seconds. “You, you’re a Void. And, we’re going to leave the Trees that provide all. We aren’t Rune branded, we’re not awakened, and leaving the Enclave means that our immortality is revoked.”
I’m pretty sure that only made sense to her. Except the immortality part, I got that one. “Uh, so, other than losing Immortality, I need to be frank, I… Don’t know what any of that means.” I have an ‘Honesty Policy.’ It’s always better to be honest and upfront if it starts to get real. It helps others understand and plan.
Mika grabbed her hair with both hands, tugging it backwards as if at wits end… which in retrospect, she must be. “Voids… They can’t hear others, well, mostly. And others, they can’t hear voids, most of the time. So, yeah, we’re Voids. The only two.” She laughed nervously, probably to herself, before continuing. “The Trees, they provide all. The light, food, shelter, everything is provided by the trees. There are no trees outside the Enclave. They are life here. We are immortal in the Enclave because the Trees provide all. We will never age if we eat their fruits.”
“No, that’s normal, the elder has been around since the beginning. Since he was alone, and there were no others. The trees gave him children to care for, and those children are still alive today, thousands of generations my elders.”
What? Thousands of generations? How can they live so long? Surely their telomeres would have long since degraded and their cells ceased to reproduce.
“You… Really don’t know?” My surprise must have shown on my face, because Mika changed from high frustration, to semi despondency, and fell to her knees. “Runes… Runes are what you see on people around, they glow, but they are so much more than that. They strengthen everyone’s connection to each other, and allow trivial things to manifest.”
“So… You don’t have any?” If she wasn’t Rune branded? I wasn’t sure what that meant.
“No, I have Runes. They are my Runes.” She lifted her vest halfway exposing her stomach. There, several Runes glowed.
“I… See…” But I didn’t. I have no idea what runes even did except glow.
“Lets go.” Mika stood, and composed herself. “We won’t gain anything by staying here, and you’re dumb. I don’t know where you came from, but the elder said something weird about the Tree not allowing him to know. Nothing good comes of prying the Tree’s secrets. Or so he’s said before.”
Thanks for the support! I am in your care! I will continue to release on Tuesdays. I have 19 chapter backlog! Almost to where I can release 2 chapter a week. We’ll get there. Hopefully I can start that Thursday.