Entry 3 Day 2
Dawn came, at long last, and I emerged from my hiding place. I decided I would go down into the village but first I would have to make a way to find my hole. I had a good amount of stone, so I also decided to build a tower in this depression, at the foot of the two Elder Trees, as I have been calling them. But before I did that day, I had to visit the village. I climbed back to the treetops where I surveyed the land before and use some stones to make a large cairn in the treetops. With several torches adorning it, I knew it would be hard to miss.
With this completed, I descended once more, this time toward the marshlands. It took only a few minutes to get to the lake and follow a river out toward the village. As I was swimming toward the shore, however, I was sucked into an eddy. Looking down into the water I saw lava and fire, so I grabbed the bank of the river and hefted myself out onto shore. Below me there was a deep cavern that lead into the earth. I would come back later.
I started off toward the village again and the jungle disappeared into an arid stretch of land. Upon it nothing grows and small, desiccated saplings dot the ground. I went to the village, expecting someone to greet me, but no one came out. Indeed, I thought the place abandoned as the first few houses I went to were empty. Some recently lived there, though, because the doors were shattered and splinters of it littered the ground. I was examining the door when I felt a nudge against my shoulder.
I spun around and came face to face with a strange bird-man, staring me down with a thoughtfull expression. He jerked his head a little to one side and walked away. I took that to mean I should follow and went after him. He lead me through the town to what looked like a longhouse of some kind. More of the village's denizens either came out to see or looked on from behind the thick glass of their windows. My guide stopped at the front door and nodded toward the door. Understanding what I could, I knocked on the door. A sound like that of an annoyed chicken came from my host, so I opened the door and entered. I paused at the door to look back but my guide was gone. I shut the door and looked in on the house. No furnishings could be seen and a small group of the bird-people stood huddled at the back of the building. One came forward and nodded to me sagely. Unable to hold myself from attempting to communicate, I spoke.
"Where am I?" I asked the bird-man. His eyes widened a moment and his hooked beak opened a moment and closed again. The bird-man turned to the other two and looked at them a moment before turning back to me. His eyes seemed to drift to a far away place but still searched deep in my own. After a while of looking into the creatures eyes I felt my face relax and my vision blurred. Deep in the back of my mind I heard a voice.
"You are not us-kin, you are other-kin." the voice said in a stern tone. "How are you come to us?"
"I... I..." as I grasped for words my vision started to clear slightly.
"No. Not with sound-voice, with mind-voice, you speak!" announced the voice loudly. Confusion welled up in me alongside a growing sense of fear.
"I don't know how!" I heard myself say.
"You just did, other-kin." a strange satisfaction came into my mind from the voice."You spoke now with mind-voice, not with sound-voice."
"I... Where am I?" I said.
"This place is not your place, you know not how you come to us?" An image of when I awoke came into my mind and I looked out from the jungle. I climbed up to the canopy and saw the village again and tried to think back to how I came here, but nothing came.
"I see. You suffer from the mind-fog, other-kin." I sudden rush of excitement filled my heart and I began to think of everything I had seen since I arrived, all I had done so far. My hole, the jungle, the whirlpool in the eddy...
"Stop! Stop! Too much, too hasty! You must focus on each mind-picture, other-kin. I am only seeing a short-side." My mind calmed and I thought about the eddy again. "Ah, you have been to the water-entrance of the under-tunnels? Our people avoid the under tunnels, too dangerous. But you might go there. You could explore the caves, find the treasures of the the earth. Others will know of your exploration." I calmed again and let my mind wander to the empty houses with the shattered doors.
"You have seen the work of the Ender-men. The servants of the Ender-men come out at night and cover the world, other-kin." I remembered my first night and the distant groan in the dark.
"Yes, other-kin, that is the sound-voice of the servants to the Ender-men. They are dead-kin. The dead kin come in the night, sometimes, and take away us-kin. They do not like our lights, other-kin, so they do not come often to our village. But they can. When they do, they take us-kin away and they are never seen again. No one knows why the Ender-men take us-kin, but they do." I wondered what and Ender-man was and I saw an image come into my mind. I saw darkness. I was looking out a window. I was young and was using my hand-claws to pull myself up to the window. I saw only the darkness and shadows, but off to the left one shadow was moving. It was tall and slender and held a large piece of a tree in its hand. It turned toward me and searched with glowing, purple eyes in the window. I remembered, though, what my mother said. Do not look at the Ender-man, and he will not find you. I closed my eyes and climbed down.
"That was... you?"
"Yes, other-kin. We all know of the Ender-men and pray they will not take us to the dark-place. Go to the cave, and see the servants of the Ender-men yourself, other-kin. I will give you a sword to take with you that you may slay them. You can always kill their forms, other-kin, yes. This is easy. But they do not stay gone. They come back unless you light their tunnels. They hate the light. Always they avoid it, but they are drawn toward it from the darkness. You are not safe in the tunnels until you light all the shadows. And build up your tower, other-kin. You will only be safe when you have a place for your home." My vision cleared and the bird-man glared down at me. Between us there was a stone sword sticking into the wooden floor. It was not terribly well-made, but it would do the trick. I bowed to the bird-man and went out into the desert.
Day was waning, when I emerged from the Longhouse, so I slid my sword between my back and the backpack and started off toward the eddy. The rest of the villagers were shutting themselves up in their homes, some of them staring wide-eyed at me as I strode off into the impending night. When I arrived at the whirlpool, darkness was almost upon me. Taking a deep breath, I threw myself into the eddy and as soon as I was able, I opened my eyes. Below me I saw a pool of lava and I reached out with my arms for a ledge. I grabbed a hold of a stone shelf, and struggled against the falling water to work myself onto the ledge. Luckily, my speed shot me into the cavern at a high enough velocity to where I didn't have the full force of the waterfall bearing down on me. I pulled myself up onto the ledge and sat a moment, catching my breath.