The Forest Folk Chapter 7

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The Final Chapter

Chapter 1 (v.1) - The Last Founding

Submitted: July 30, 2017

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Submitted: July 30, 2017

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THE FOREST FOLK:

 

Chapter 7 - The Last Founding:

 

Although this Founding took more than a century and a half to reach completion, it was still relatively quicker than the ones that had gone before, some of which lasted for a millennium and more. The reason for this was, that in the latter part, the technology necessary for space travel had been developed. Although the portals were effective, over time they were prone to deteriorate, and would thus need to be renewed periodically. Thus at any given time, only relatively few emigrants were able to pass through these doorways. But, with the advent of craft capable of transporting people through space, this and other previous limitations were removed. Not only that, but the ability to explore an entire star system, without needing to build a portal first, meant that more worlds were settled over a shorter period.

 

Many systems became inhabited within what is considered to be the Sylvan 'Home Galaxy', situated near the Lion Nebula. As an example, one in particular was known as the Shyr System. Compared to the Horyth System, in which Tor Aman, Heydres, Gilmuire, and the like were situated, the Shyr System was huge. However, only five worlds were settled by the Sylvan. These were: Theia, Parethia, Galgoneth, and Datu. The most recent is the forest moon known as New Meridea. These are known as Core Worlds, and are close to the centre of the System. The closest is Theia, which is only fractionally nearer to the Sun than Earth. Parethia is next, followed by Datu. The planet around which New Meridea orbits - called Zoastria - is next. The inhabitable world that is furthest from the centre is Galgoneth, which consequently is also the coldest planet.

 

Two of the five Sylvan planets within the Shyr System were founded using the Kiyoen. The other three were settled later, by means of colony ships. The first two were Galgoneth and Theia. Later on, these two worlds, along with the rest of the Sylvan planets, were involved in a bitter war that lasted for over three years, which in modern times, is considered to be very long and drawn out.

 

The only two worlds mentioned in this history thus far, that are not in the Home Galaxy, are Earth and the planet upon which the land of Alfheim is situated. This world is called Mannicia. Both of these are - of course - in the Milky Way.

 

Beyond the Core of the Shyr System are six more worlds inhabited by races other than the Sylvan. The largest planet in the system is called Ghash-Nae'are, and is one of the homes to the race that were behind many of the wars that ravaged the system up until recently. These are known as the Saurians. They are a savage and hostile reptilian race, whose expansionist policies have set them at odds with the rest of the Shyr System's inhabitants. They sought to either enslave or extinguish all other races from the system but their own.

 

Three of the other outer planets were inhabited by a truly alien race known as the Qael. The worlds they dwelt on were called Haldiore, Ylthora, and Dorun. That was until the last of the trio was subject to a disaster that rendered it uninhabitable for all other beings, except for a race of mutants simply called Aberrants.

 

The Qael planets were as unique as the beings that dwelt upon them. The Qael themselves were roughly humanoid, but with almost simian faces. Their limbs were long and sinewy, and some of them had more than one pair of arms, although all of them were bi-pedal. Even from the earliest times, it appeared as though their forms were modified according to their function in Qael society. Those that became intellectual leaders, for example, had larger brains than others, whereas the ones with multiple upper limbs worked with intricate machinery, that required more than one pair of hands to operate. Their warriors developed tough skin that acted as natural armour, and many of them used their hands as weapons, with long claw-like nails strong enough to pierce any but the strongest of metals.

 

Then something happened, a disaster of epic proportions! The most important substance that was mined on the planet of Dorun was its natural gas. This was used throughout the Qael worlds as a form of energy, and existed in huge subterranean cavern systems throughout the planet. Although there was some on Haldiore, and even a little on Ylthora, the majority of the gas came from Dorun.

 

The problem was that not all of the inhabitants of that world were satisfied with the way in which their home was being governed by 'the Qael Collective', the council that controlled all three of the planets. And so began a rebellion. At first it merely took the form of protest action, which at times deteriorated into violence. But generally the resistance was peaceful. Alas, as is so often the case, there was a certain group of more militant extremists, who believed that the progress that was being made was going too slowly. So this organisation decided to take action, and the violence escalated to become acts of terror.

 

The biggest deposit of gas was outside the city of Tarvandyre, which happened to be where this group had their headquarters. And so some of them set out to sabotage the plant where the gas was being extracted. Because they did not bother to do sufficient research, these terrorists did not realise that most of the cavern systems that contained these gas deposits were linked together by an intricate maze of underground tunnels and fissures. This meant that any damage done to one of these gas mines would stand the chance of setting off a chain reaction on an almost global scale.

 

The saboteurs took their time: First some of them applied for work at the mine itself. Once they had been accepted, they arranged for a large supply of illegal explosives to be brought to the site. One night, they made their way to one of the shafts responsible for releasing some of the excess gas from underground, and placed some of the explosives in strategic positions around the small shaft. These were detonated remotely once the perpetrators had reached what they considered to be a safe distance from the blast. When the bombs went off, however, it destroyed an area more than ten times the expected radius, and of the nine individuals responsible for the attack, only two survived without severe injury. One of them was left in a critical condition, but at least he was alive. The other six were all killed.

 

But that was not the end of it! The ripple-effects of the first explosion caused a series of subsequent detonations. Within three hours after the bombs had gone off, the whole neighbourhood was ablaze, and a massive cloud of poisonous gas covered the entire area. And still the situation worsened. More deposits went up in smoke! Over four thousand fires were caused by that one explosion, destroying more than three quarters of the city. Many that survived the blazes succumbed to the noxious fumes.

 

Still the devastation widened. It rapidly spread throughout the land, and then the whole continent was set alight as the deposits were ignited from the heat that flowed through the tunnels that joined them. A world-wide effort was made to contain the carnage, and eventually the explosions stopped, but by then the entire globe was covered in a dark cloud of toxic fumes. This killed over ten million people worldwide.

 

And then the unexpected occurred: Those that survived began to mutate until the whole population seemed to devolve into brute beasts with two basic desires: To procreate - either by normal means, or by infecting others, and to feed. This mutation was not exclusive to the Qael either. It also effected those animals that had not died during the explosion. These beasts, regardless of what they had once been, went on the rampage. They were not selective with regards to their prey. Anything that moved became a source of food.

Many of those that had somehow escaped the mutation began to band together in a vain hope of somehow surviving the onslaught. This was the only option, because the fuel needed for their ships to get them off-world had been all but destroyed. Before the total meltdown, the authorities had sent off a distress call that was transmitted via sub-space to the other worlds in the system. But in the meantime, all the desperate people could do was fight for their very lives.

 

Eventually, ships from Theia arrived and were able to rescue a remnant of the Qael from Dorun, and the planet was evacuated. Those who escaped were kept in strict quarantine until their rescuers could ascertain the cause of the mutation, and perhaps create an antidote to prevent them from suffering the same fate as those that were left behind. Naturally, there was also the fear of this condition being spread to others. Although some of the unfortunates perished after they were saved, the majority were able to resist until a counter-measure was formulated.

 

It was discovered that the actual mutation was not directly caused by the gas itself, but rather by a form of virus that had laid dormant in the tunnels and caverns where the gas occurred. When the explosions took place, not only did it pollute the atmosphere with toxic fumes, but it also released the virus. This explained how the condition could be transmitted from one individual to another. Another shocking revelation was that it not only caused physical mutation, but also infected the victim's brain, so that - in a sense - the host would become a slave to the virus. This was why many of the attacks did not seem to be driven by the need to feed, but to spread the disease.

 

The Qael Collective declared that the entire planet would be placed under quarantine, and labelled the mutants that inhabited it 'Aberrants'. They were considered as vermin, and a danger to the entire Collective. Understandably so, because if any of them were to somehow stow away on board a Qael vessel, they could possibly cause an outbreak of the same condition on the other planets.

 

There had been many attempts at finding an antidote, and perhaps even a cure for the infection, but the virus that caused it appeared to be very adaptive, and would mutate quicker than any treatment could be developed. This meant, that no sooner had the researchers made a breakthrough, then the condition became resistant to it. Thus, over a long period, the Qael were forced to systematically eradicate the Aberrants from Dorun, which remained uninhabitable for over three hundred years after the last of its inhabitants had been destroyed.

 

Then followed a period of transformation for the Qael. They had long been aware that their home worlds could no longer sustain them, and thus something had to be done in order to prevent a possible collapse of the environment. Like the Sylvan, the Qael had pursued the path of ascension for quite some time, but their approach was somewhat different. For the former, the Kuivisye was based on personal growth and development, but in the case of the Qael, it was a collective effort, one in which the entire race was equally involved. And so, there came a stage when all of them had become so advanced, that their physical existence was a limitation and a burden to them. Thus the time had come for them to lay aside the mortal body, and release the immortal that dwelt within. This was when they were transformed from physical beings, to entities that consisted of pure energy.

 

They began to create 'bodies' through which they could interact with the physical world, but these were only temporary, lasting only for as long as they were required. An example of these was called the 'Body Suit'. This was an intricate device that allowed the Qael that indwelt it to enter into combat with a physical foe. It was necessary because, although the Qael themselves were pure energy, there were those who opposed them that had developed the technology to make use of energy-based weapons. The Qael in their natural form were impervious to ballistic weapons - that used ammunition such as bullets - but they could still be injured, and even killed, by those that used energy pulses. Thus the Body Suit was designed in such a way as to protect the being within from the effects of these weapons. There was also a fail-safe: Before the Body Suit is destroyed, the Qael inside it is immediately removed, and transported through the Warp to the nearest place of safety.

 

Even the Qael ships, the largest of which are called 'Behemoths', are a fusion between organic and technological engineering. Hence it was they who invented the term 'Bio-Mechanoid', referring to this melding of the two. Their planets have been allowed to revert back to their natural state as well. This is because, as beings of pure energy, they have no need for architectural structures. In fact, the more pristine the planet, the better suited it is for the Qael to inhabit. The reason for this is, that they thrive on natural energy.

 

The incident that brought about the Aberrants was not the only disaster to occur in the Shyr System. The other, that caused havoc on Galgoneth and Datu, was brought about by the Saurians. In the early days of space travel, these reptilians sent out ships to explore the other planets, and to ascertain which ones they could inhabit. One such world was that of Vahn. When the exploration teams arrived, it appeared that the planet was uninhabited, although there was plenty evidence that a civilization had existed there at some time.

 

Further investigation revealed that, in many of the old buildings, now almost entirely in a state of ruin, were found what appeared to be some form of sarcophagus. With no regard for those that might have been entombed in them, the Saurian explorers began to destroy these coffins. Unbeknown to them, they also damaged a power source, the purpose of which they did not realise until it was too late. Some time later, once the explorers had departed from the planet, thinking that they had annihilated anyone that might have survived on this new world, some of the beings within the chambers that had been left behind began to awaken. This was because their stasis pods, which the Saurians had mistaken for burial chambers, had been switched off, so to speak, when the power source was damaged.

 

These beings were extremely powerful, and sought to avenge those who had been killed in the attack. However, they had no idea who the perpetrators might have been, and thus swore revenge on all other forms of intelligent life in the System.

 

Their campaign started with the planet of Galgoneth. One of their leaders, known as Yadaya, seized control of that world, and enslaved the entire population with the aid of her partner whose name was Danoell. Galgoneth was originally a Sylvan world, with rich forests and jungles covering most of its surface. Yadaya and Danoell bombarded the unsuspecting world from space, until it was reduced to almost a desert. All but two of the once mighty cities were razed to the ground, and those Sylvan that survived fled into small enclaves where the forest remained. With no leader or hero to defend them, the remnant soon became Yadaya's slaves, forced to rebuild the cities under her command.

 

As providence would have it, three ships had left their home world of Galgoneth just before the attack took place. When their captains lost contact with their bases on the planet, two of them headed for two of the other Sylvan worlds, being Parethia and Theia. The inhabitants of the former had formed an alliance with a race known as the Tirrians, or Tirrian Coalition, some time prior to this event, and called upon their leaders to aid in regaining Galgoneth from the clutches of the two despots from Vahn.

 

Before these allies could take any action, a second planet fell into the hands of those who sought to either destroy or subjugate, those they held responsible for the merciless attack on their own world. This was the world known as Datu. This was also a planet inhabited by the Sylvan, although it contained less forests and woodlands. It was also smaller than Galgoneth. Under the command of one of Yadaya's compatriots, known as Karn, the people of Datu offered little resistance, and were soon subjected to a life of servitude to this tyrant.

At last a fleet of Sylvan and Coalition ships assembled, and headed for Galgoneth. When they first arrived, it appeared that the enemy lines were impenetrable. Many of the allied ships were destroyed even before they came within range of their goal. The battles that followed were fierce and unrelenting, and it appeared that the counter-attack would end in defeat.

 

But then something changed: Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive armada of alien ships arrived, and began to fight alongside the Sylvan and Coalition defenders. Their opponents were soon brought under control, and the time came for the attackers to launch their ground assault. Soon after they landed, the Sylvan forces and their Tirrian counterparts came into contact with their new allies for the first time. There was little time for introductions though, as all three contingents hit the ground running. The fighting was fierce, and lasted for many days before the new alliance began to make a dent in the enemy's forces. Eventually, they were able to gain a foothold on the planet from which they could continue their campaign.

 

Only then did they discover the identity of those that came to their aid, and how they knew about the attack on Galgoneth: The third ship had come under attack as it tried to flee from its home world. In an attempt to escape, the pilot was forced to head away from the Shyr System into the previously unexplored region beyond. Just as it seemed that the attackers would overrun the defenceless vessel, a small group of fighters appeared, and seeing the stricken freighter being pursued by armed ships, confronted the aggressors.

 

Once they had been destroyed, the alien ships escorted the damaged vessel to one of their own planets near to where the incident took place. At first their hosts were suspicious of the newcomers, but once the captain of the cargo ship had explained to them their plight, they became more accommodating. The crew was taken before their leaders, and asked to repeat their tale. After some deliberation, the Council returned with their response. Not only would they help to repair the damaged ship, but they offered to send a fleet back to Galgoneth to help liberate that planet from the clutches of their oppressors. These new allies were known as the Tyeberan Empire, the race was called the Tyeberi.

 

It took almost two years to rescue Galgoneth from the stranglehold that Yadaya and her followers had over its people. Datu, being smaller and more sparsely populated, did not offer as much resistance, and nine months later, both of these worlds were restored to their rightful inhabitants. This war also cemented relations between three of the most influential races in that sector of the System: The Sylvan, the Tirrians, and the Tyeberi.

 

Once the two planets had been liberated, a delegation of Sylvan, Tirrian, and Tyeberan representatives met with the remaining inhabitants on Vahn, and explained to them that it was not they that were responsible for the initial massacre that took place on their home-world. It took some convincing, but eventually the people relented, and the crisis ended. For the Sylvan and their allies, that is. Naturally, what followed did not bode well for the Saurians. The attack on the planet of Ghash-Nae'are was swift and ruthless to say the least, and all but drove the reptilian race from the System completely.

 

Theia was by far the most stable planet of the last Founding. Subsequently it also soon became the most advanced. Theian scientists and technicians spearheaded the progress in space travel, so that it took a relatively short time for the Sylvan to develop the technology, that allowed their ships to venture far beyond the confines of their own system, and traverse the entire galaxy. And thus began the reunion of all of the worlds from the various Foundings. Soon a federation was formed that encompassed all of the Sylvan-controlled systems. This became known as the Sylvan Confederacy.

 

 

Most of these had also entered into the era known as 'Ultra-Modernism' at roughly the same time. Golshen was unique in that most of its inhabitants had become wandering traders, known as Corsairs or 'Sehaneye'. This title was used to distinguish them from the Makareye, because they originated from Golshen itself, rather than from Tollana. They built huge ships, called City Stations, upon which entire communities could survive, while travelling from one side of the galaxy to the other, in search of new produce and resources to trade with other civilizations. These Corsairs had been largely responsible for the establishment of the accord between the newly formed Confederacy and the Tirrian Coalition.

 

Later, their travels placed them in contact with another race, the Satarians. Many of these people had taken up the role of peacekeepers between warring factions, within the many systems and among the manifold races, with which they shared their sector. This is why the Sylvan came up with the title Caelissye, meaning 'Defenders'. These humanoids aided the Corsairs by providing them with countless potential trading partners, in return for the benefits that they enjoyed from their contact with the Sylvan and their allies.

 

At one stage, Parethia bore the brunt of the Saurian invasions. These threatened to almost cripple the realm before it even emerged past its fledgling stages, but that was just before the Sylvan on this planet developed star-faring technology of their own, and in fact fuelled the advancements needed. Soon the once besieged people began to fight back. It was during this time that they first made contact with their comrades on Theia, the planet nearest to them. It was their combined efforts that finally drove the Saurian threat away, and restored peace and stability to this rich planet.

 

Another planet that was threatened with Saurian invasion was called Nyrena. This was a rich world, inhabited by a myriad of species. Parts thereof would have been considered 'Beast-lands', as they were largely populated by advanced members of the animal kingdom rather than humanoids. Most of these willingly shared their homes with the likes of the Firyen and the Drimm.

 

There were also two races peculiar to this world: The first resembled the pictures of the ancient Greek Deity, Pan - also known by the Romans as Bacchus. These were called 'Riayen', or 'Deer Men'. The other was a bizarre being, with the hindquarters of a horse, and the upper body of a large human. Ancient mythology refers to a similar being, called a Centaur, but there is one difference: In the case of the legendary beings, they had the body of a horse, but in the place of its neck and head was the torso, upper limbs, and head of a man. The Nyrenan version was called Royen, a combination of two words: The Sylvan for 'Horse' (being 'Rokko'), and 'Firyen', the name for the cousins of humanity in the Sylvan Galaxy.

 

To begin with, there were no Sylvan on the planet. These only began to migrate there after official relations had been established, once the conflict with their common enemy was over. The various nations on Nyrena pledged their assistance with those on Parethia, and a large contingent of Nyrenan troops and ships were sent to assist them.

 

This force was commanded by the sister of one of the most prominent monarchs on Nyrena, the Firyen Queen, Ashara of Pevarii. Alas the Princess, whose name was Kyra, was slain in a particularly fierce battle during the early parts of the war. Although her death was greatly mourned in her homeland, her valour had cemented the friendship between her world and that of Parethia. Indeed, in the city of Lymen, the capital of Ytheon - one of the prominent nations on Parethia - a statue stands in memory of the Princess '… whose boldness and sacrifice helped bring peace to us all …', as is written on her capstone.

 

 

 

Here is an excerpt from one of the commander in the Nyrenan forces' diaries, that refers to Princess Kyra's death: '… The fighting was relentless, and our enemies brutal. Surrounded by foes on every side, I saw the Princess fighting with all her might and deftness. I was not the only one, but many of my comrades tried in vain to reach her. Alas, before any of us could go to her aid, a Saurian brute lunged at her with his blade, running her through.

 

There was a sigh of despair that went through our ranks, as we saw her double over in pain, and sink to her knees. Desperately, she tried to get to her feet once more, and carry on fighting. But she had not the strength, as her life flowed out of her with the blood that stained the ground where she knelt. Watching her determined last stand spurred us all on, and we fought with renewed determination. Only once the field had been cleared of the last piece of reptilian filth, did the sad reality of so great a loss sink in. So intense was our grief that there was no shout of victory, no song of rejoicing. It was as though every heart broke at the sight of our captain's lifeless form lying in a pool of blood, surrounded by the evidence of her bravery and skill.

 

Even in the short time that we had been fighting alongside our Sylvan allies, they too had joined us in revering Princess Kyra as a great leader, indeed one of the finest. I looked around, and saw that they were also stricken with the same sense of loss as we were. Even the knowledge that our victory was won, and that largely thanks to the likes of her - if such a leader does indeed exist, for it seemed at one time that she had no equal - did little to heal our sorrows. More severe than any injury the enemy could have inflicted upon us, was the pain that we felt at her passing.

 

Our only consolation is that she is in that realm beyond, where pain and suffering are no more, and that she still looks down from that lofty place. Perhaps it is her smile that brightens the first morning of Spring, or her tears of joy that brings the summer rain, I know not. But of this I am sure: Our loss is Heaven's gain!...'

 

Relatively recently, a group of explorers from Parethia came across a small forest moon. It orbited a planet that seemed to consist of solid rock, the uninhabitable world of Zoastria. Upon landing on this moon, they were astounded by its great beauty and richness. Its surface consisted of a single land-mass, most of which was covered with dense rainforest, with a large body of water in the middle. Having gathered sufficient evidence, the team returned to their superiors, and gave their report. Soon after that, there was an announcement that a limited number of Parethians were invited to travel to a 'New World', and to colonise it. The offer attracted much attention, and soon the quota was full.

 

A single colony ship departed for the forest moon, and the first inhabitants set foot on its fertile surface, there to establish - what at first was considered a satellite of Parethia - with the same stature as a colony, but later became an independent member of the Confederacy. They gave it a name to commemorate the greatest, and the first, of all the Sylvan worlds. It was named New Meridea, and it is the smallest of all the planets and planetoids in the Shyr System.

 

As the Confederacy grew, so it played a greater and more pivotal role in establishing, and maintaining stability and progress in the galaxy. This influence was further increased when the Galactic Alliance was formed, and the Sylvan joined forces with the Tirrian Coalition and the Tyeberan Empire.

 

To the best of their ability, they have attempted to uphold, and where necessary to spread, their philosophies among the races that they consider allies. One in particular, that they periodically neglected during the Great Corruption, is 'Illusse yi-jadrukven, seartra yi-caelissin': 'Never be the aggressor, always the defender'. And so they continue to defend, not only their own rights and freedom, but many races that have suffered under the iron fist of oppression and tyranny.

The only world that remains seemingly beyond their reach and benevolence, is Earth. One of the reasons for this, up until recently, was the dissension that existed between the members of the two factions, the Seelie and Unseelie Court. While the former have ever longed to reach out the hand of friendship to humanity, despite the atrocities of the past, the latter would rather see the human race pay, even to the point of being destroyed, for the wrong that it has committed against the Sylvan and their indigenous counterparts.

 

Until recently it seemed that these two opponents would never see eye-to-eye, but lately representatives from both sides have agreed to meet in order to discuss their future relations with the dominant race of Earth. It soon became apparent, that only the extreme members of these two factions remain at odds with one another. The majority are prepared to come to some accord as to the way ahead. Those who were less than willing to let go of the past have warned the more lenient ones, not to move forward without due caution. After all, modern man has a poor record of keeping any form of agreement with those whom they consider to be 'less than human'. In the past, these included such races as the 'First Nations' of North America, the San of Southern Africa; and the Aborigines of Australia … While those in favour of progress have urged the more hesitant to lay aside their fears, and step out in boldness to embrace the potential of the new world order, in which Sylvan and human are one.

 

This is deemed especially important, as there has been an ever-increasing call, within the human race, to seek the path that has been known by the Sylvan since the beginning of time: The way of the Kuivisye, the way of Ascension. Far from still holding the race of men at arm's length, ever suspicious of their true intentions, the Sylvan wish to embrace their allies on Earth, and face the new dawn, and together stand in awe of its brightness.


© Copyright 2017 Tristan Biggs. All rights reserved.

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