KHAI OF Q'WENU: #1 - The Valley of Uchuu-mura

Thanks for tuning back in for another entry into the world of Q'wenu. If you're a first time reader, you can check out the first entry here. Today, we're revealing our first "Hexia Report" which explains a little more about the planet of Q'wenu. Unlike the Prelude, this narrows the overall perspective we originally created to benefit the current story. There'll be other Hexia Reports later detailing other planets; but only when we feel the time is right. Following the report is Chapter 1: The Valley of Uchuu-mura. Enjoy!


HEXIA REPOT I - Q'wenu

Q’wenu is an old and chaotic Earth-like planet, predominantly inhabited by Ka’shasi (Kas). Q’wenu is a heavily forested planet made up of a lot of jungles, deserts, and world altering canyons. Every six years, a “turning” occurs; which is where, for about a year, Q’wenu’s 3 Moons (Vorosko, Zükiri, and Cetienne) would align in such a manner that would cause enormous storms, blizzards, and even quakes. Thus often times, reshaping certain regions of Q’wenu.

Species:

Ka’shasi (Kas) – Kas are a relatively young race in comparison to those that inhabit their neighboring planets. Their skin tone ranges from various shades of blues and purples. When grown, they stand anywhere between 6 to 7 and a half feet tall; lanky in stature but athletic in form. Their bodies can bend and disjoint to the will of their world allowing them to move quickly through their harsh lands. Earlier works of art have shown them to have cartilage for a nose and ears but they eventually evolved out of them.

The Kas were birthed into existence where space age technology, spaceships, and intergalactic conflicts were a common place. This resulted in a species that learned how to embrace their surrounding; adapting to any situation within their means. As with any world, the more civilized areas of Q’wenu are the most prosperous. Knowledge and skill is a trade unto itself and they treat their planet with kindness. Only taking the resources they need to survive. The older generations of Kas (even those today) still worship their planet and it’s Moons as deities.

World Powers:

Ichuu (ICH) – Comprised of many islands and important regions; Ichuu is the sole seafaring nation of trade and goods. They’re not the most powerful but they do carry the most wealth. They’re a monarchy embracing a class system, not by blood but in ability. Labor is power. The more you can do for your country, the more they can do for you.

Niyèto Empire (NE) – Most would consider Niyèto Empire to be the world power of Q’wenu. Their size and military prowess alone seem undefeatable. There are many other regions within Niyèto that claim allegiance but only out of fear. Though in some areas, their reach is spread so thin that rebels try to take back what they believe is rightfully theirs. It comes as no surprise that Niyèto is constantly under attack in some form or another, especially from within the more fringe regions of Q’wenu.

Republic of Soah (ROS) – ROS is run by an elected family with an elected Council of Senators for a term of 7 years. Unlike other Republics, no law or bill is passed without the approval of the Commoner’s Hall; where citizens can speak freely for or against certain issues. Soah has a mixture of old and new traditions where they still assign newborn Kas a rule and duty but given them the rights of any freeperson of Soah. They do this to insure everyone has a purpose.


CHAPTER ONE: 723.2 A.X.

THE VALLEY OF UCHUU-MURA

“So’th say the Vor be slain, shall another rise to honour him with blood.”

“I pray with thee, brother, because you’re not alone. For these are just words, but your path has been sewn,” Dorro begins to pray, kneeling before his Commanding Vor of the 22nd Division of Soah, Vor-Lawlin. His leader, still gowned in his battle attire lies fatally wounded across a rubble-ridden marble floor. He continues, “You died a Vor, with honour, and with might. The Moons will speak of you, with purpose this night.” He pauses for a moment as he tries to recite The Night’s Calling, as it is an old religious poem for fallen warriors. Lawlin harshly coughs only to quickly be subsided by a slight smile at Dorro’s ignorance. He too knows that there isn’t enough time for such silly traditions. Dorro tries to hurry, “I pray with thee, brother, because I am a friend, your family, your bearer, a means to an—”

                Lawlin softly interrupts by placing his weakened hand upon his addresser, “It’s quite alright, Dorro. I’m proud of you, but we both know isn’t time.” For the first moment in his life, Dorro’s words escape him as he fears for his Commander’s inevitability. Lawlin, with the remainder of his might grabs ahold of Dorro’s arm demands of his brother Vor, “Protect the Queen. Fight for Q’wenu. We are Ka’shasi… may the moons gui…” The Commander fails to catch another breath before the violet hue in his eyes fade to gray.

                The room that Dorro prayed in was once a Clergy Hall for practicing ancient rituals. Now hardly recognizable as such; it’s littered with debris, stain-glass, and crammed with fellow brethren. As they look on from the shadows, the Vor remain silent. Not out to loss, it though it saddens them to lose such a leader, but rather they’re embracing the stillness. The Chunar’s most recent attacks were crippling to the 22nd; a Division once known as one of the most decorated in Soah. Uchuu-mura is just a small, shanty miner’s town that lost control of its borders halfway through the war. As shanty as it may appear, it’s location proves worth and is the only haven safe enough to stand ground between the Chunar and Allied territories. Ever since the 22nd reclaimed this town nearly a month ago, their attacks have been calculatingly endless. Warriors piloting speeder cycles and manning halo-drones have been ripping what’s left of this town apart. In fact, the Ka’shasi lost more lives here in the past few days than their entire occupation. Today is the first day they haven’t heard a shot fired. The calm is regretfully rewarding.

                Dorro slowly stands to look out at his remaining brothers. Their bodies have been beaten and broken to near worthlessness but to no surprise, their spirits remain resilient. The same can’t be said for him. As it says within the Laws of Vorosko-Soah, the moment Lawlin’s hand fell limp; Dorro was assigned the task to take up his mantle as Commanding Vor of the 22nd. He attempts to lift his chin but his halfhearted confidence only masks the truths of their future. He knows this mission, shall be their last.

                Vor-Timoh, a matured soldier cladded in an old warrior’s breast-plate steps forwards into the setting sun’s light. The many scars of battles previously fought echo across his brow. He suggests, “Before we spare another moment, brother, we must send a message to the Queen. Inform her and seek aid.” Timoh, the eldest and wisest brother within Division was never chosen to become a higher ranking officer. Though, within the heat of battle, he’s has proven more valuable as a leader than those typically assigned to him.

                Dorro nods as he takes a moment to respond, “I know Tim, but we’ve made discovery of Senator Vatunus’ plans… so who can we trust outside these walls? How many more of the Council is a threat to the Queen?” Timoh looks away. While Dorro’s doubts aren’t his alone, it’s strange for a Vor to openly question one so dreadfully. He collects his emotions before sitting at a table once meant for washing one’s feet, “Who else is left?”

                “Well, we have a runner from the council… they call him Khai but in all honesty –“                      

                “Good! Bring him.” Dorro motions to the rest of the group. “The rest of you, return to your posts. Remember to sleep when the chance presents itself. And keep me informed of any movement. We have to hold this valley.” Timoh nods and follows the rest of his battled brothers out.

Dorro looks out a narrow broken window beside Lawlin’s body, the sun still slowly setting over a charred forest that has seen more than its fair share of war. The smoke continues to bellow up and over a large mountain to the west. Such a thing only signifies why the Chunar have ceased attacking for now. A storm is coming. The Clergy Hall, strategically perched on a side of a steep hill gives a clear vantage point over the rest of the valley. Off in the distance, you can see what’s left of the forest outside Uchuu-mura. The trees are old, large, and wide, often sometimes melding into the other as if they were all connected. Blue flowers so massive, he could smell them from here. He can still see life beyond the ruins, a life he’ll never feel again.

Dorro exhales through his nose and returns to an unfinished parchment containing the truths behind Senator Vatunus and by a death report. So far, 192 confirmed, including Commander Vor-Lawlin, and a denial for resupply. After he slowly rolls up the letter, he ladles a blue waxy substance over the seal, and presses his thumb onto it. Then grabs a small, mechanical tube and slides the parchment, a few notes, and a marble sized data crystal inside. He looks out the window again… distracted by thoughts; he removes his bajji from his chest and runs his fingers across the bloodied face of it. It’s a metallic, triangular medallion that’s given to every Vor of Soah. Each one was forged from the precious metals of Vorosko; one of the three moons of Q’wenu. Engraved on the front are three crescent moons. “Vorosko, Zükiri, Cetienne” and “9985-21” are clearly displayed on the back. It was given to him as it is given to all Vor, at birth. As footsteps approach, Dorro snaps back to task and quickly locks the container.

                “Aye, you’ve returned so soon.” Dorro said with his back towards the entrance to the Hall.”

                Timoh is still catching his breath, “Yes, Commander. Do you have the messaged prepped for delivery?”

                “I do. And what of the runner?”

                As Dorro turns around, a thin and quiet fit Kas steps through the archway. This runner, Khai, has elegance to him. His stance is proper, well trained. He also has much lighter blue palette to his skin. Practically looks unscathed by war or any physical kind of activity, for that matter. A handle of a small laser pistol pokes out behind his brown tattered cloaks. He’s feet are bare, darkened, and hardened by his profession. Dorro hasn’t seen such a civilized being in almost a year. This worries him more than it should. He eyes Khai with intent, “Answer me this, runner… You’re from the Council correct? What of the other runners?”

                Khai responds quite stiffly, as he assumes how one Vor would speak to another, “Yes, I arrived yesterday, sir. The Council put thought towards Uchuu-mura and was curious to why you have sent word for any reinforcements. So they sent me. As far as the other runners go, we only know of Turk. He was the last one to arrive with a message in hand. His… only hand.”

                Dorro responds as if it as Khai’s responsibility, “By the Moons! Turk? That… that was months ago! So you know nothing of the attacks?

                “No, sir. Not until I arrived.”

                “They should have assumed as much. Why haven’t you approached us sooner?”

                “I spoke with Vor-Lawlin as soon as I was able… before he was shot.”

                Dorro walks over and shoves the tubular device into Khai’s chest, rendering him of breath for a moment. “This package is your life, runner. Don’t just be a messenger, be strong, be quick... or so be it, the moons will promise you an unworthy death.” Khai respectfully nods and heads towards the door. “Wait, runner!” Dorro looks regretfully to Timoh. “You’re not going alone.”

                Timoh nearly pleading, “No, Dorro. You and I both know my… my skills are needed here. In the fight. I’ve been apart this unit before you were even born. I belong here, sir.”

                “I’m not having words with you, Vor.”

                Timoh yells, “and I’m not some cocking babysitter!” Khai snaps back as soon his words echo throughout the Hall. The eldest Vor, giving the most apologetic expression tries to regain himself only to stammer about in the stillness.

                Dorro grins at Tim’s expression, “Your skills have been needed elsewhere for a long time now, brother. And this time, it’s to protect the fate of the Council. The most central political power in our nation rests within that package. Khai is no Vor and the quality of our future lies within your willingness to listen to your Commander Officer.”

                “Sir… apologies for my reluctance but this is madness! What if we all--”

                “We’re all going to die, Timoh! It doesn’t…” Dorro calms himself down to a whisper, “it doesn’t matter how long we hold this valley. We will die with honour and will we do it for the good of Soah. Retreating at this point is absolute lunacy. You and I know that. The 22nd is still too large to march out of Uchuu-mura without being picked off by from the sky, our vehicles have been completely decimated, communications have been cut off, and we ran out of rations days ago. We… will not… make it. Even Turk was the last runner to survive the trip back, so do you realize how many we’ve lost since? It’s too dangerous for either one of you to go it alone.”

                Khai stands there amongst the heat between the two Vor. He’s heard his fair share of war stories but nothing to this degree. Chosen at birth, the Vor are the elite, strong-hearted and level-headed. Their discipline alone is beyond intimidating; but brought to the brink that straddles life and death, anyone is bound to unravel. And even though he was destined to serve the Council, Khai couldn’t help but feel envious of their loyalty.

                Timoh looks down and slowly nods, “As you wish, Commander. I will protect the runner.”

                Dorro follows with a sigh of relief, “Good… because I also request one last task of you. It’s personal.” Timoh raises his head as the Commander rips some cloth from Vor-Lawlin’s misaki; a purple cloak trimmed in a silky red identifying his Commanding rank within the Division. With his bajji still in hand, he wraps it in the cloth and ties it off. “Give this to my wife and child… let them know I died with honor. And that I died with them in my thoughts.”

                Timoh now appears more sympathetic to the cause while he pockets Dorro’s final request. “I understand, consider it done, Commander.”

                Dorro reaches out as brothers would and they grasp each other’s forearm with the free arm patting the other’s shoulder. “Now be off! May the rains of the turning forever wash away the stink of war.”

                “And may the Moons guide you a better path in the afterlife.” Timoh backs up and motions Khai out the archway. Dorro slowly walks back to the table looking out the narrow window. Another moment alone, and thus he treasures it.

To no surprise, this entire experience is completely foreign to Khai. He was chosen last for a runner only because the close relations he has to a member of the Royal Family. The technology the Kas harness is incredible, but in fear of the enemy overhearing any sort of communications between their kind, they use runners. Messengers are built for maneuvering quickly across their harsh lands and skilled in path-finding & navigation. Since this is his first outing, his confidence isn’t want one would consider, Vor-worthy. He flinches at the dim prospects of travelling with a heavy-heartened warrior through enemy territory. It’s only a 3 day walk to the nearest Soah territory of Shinu, and the only thing he can think of was a warm bed.

They make it to the edge of the town, just beyond the Northgate entrance to the Uchuu-mura; then Timoh stops and looks to the runner, “Pardon our mission but I seek only a moment.” He turns around facing the battled-torn valley that was his home for 28 nights and kneels. Dorro unsheathes a two short swords and places them cross-ways across his chest. The moon’s light birthing from the sky reflects a sharp bright blue light from the bladed ends of the swords, literally illuminated the area around them.

Timoh prays with absolution, “I pray with thee, brothers, because you’re not alone. For these are just words, but your paths has been sewn. You died Vor, with honour, and with might. The Moons will speak of you all, with purpose this night. I pray with thee, brothers, because I am a friend. Your family, your bearer, a means to an end. You died Kas, for the heartship of Soah. The night is now calling and it’s time to let go. The night is now calling… the night is now calling.” Timoh sits for another moment before quickly sheathing both swords and looks to Khai, “Which way?”

Khai points down a dirt road leading off into two different directions, “Just a few kilometers east, we’ll come upon a fork and--”

Timoh raises his hand and respectfully interrupts, “Then we”ll shall head North through along the mountain side. A storm is soon approaching and we”ll benefit from high ground. Trust me.” Khai nervously nods and quickly follows Timoh towards the fork.

COMING NEXT WEEK!

That was it! Again... I know, I know. Not too much Khai here either but I swear it's worth it. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it wasn't too difficult to read with all the different names and mannerisms. The dialogue is different than what you're probably used to but think of ancient Rome or Greece when it comes to that. By the way, next Saturday will be our next Supara Update. Plenty to talk about there including some fun news. And two weeks from today will be a NEW and DIFFERENT entry into the "Foundation Files".

So once again and always, thanks for reading and we'll see you next time!