The Story of Unde Nes (Part 1)

The tale is told in the Scattered Worlds of the Daamin Unde Nes, who was not like others of her race. Unde Nes from a very early age loved the stars, and often would sit up late at night watching and charting them. In particular her fascination was stirred by the Rept Kretzlab, the Gap of Remembrance which split cosmic dust clouds and allowed a glimpse of the Core, and she longed for the lost homestars of her people.

In the time before Avethell rose, when she was still young as the Daamin reckon age, Unde Nes met one of the Galactic Riders on Nephestal. This Rider was of the race of the Bittalanen, a people who ruled briefly and came to maturity rapidly. Unde Nes became friends with this Rider, Sheltin kar-Nemeph, and together the two set off into the heavens to roam the Scattered Worlds. Many wonders they saw, and many tales are told of their adventures, but these are not part of their true story.

In these times some hint of the might of Avethell was heard, but the Gergathan had not yet come to fear the name of Aemallana, and there was more commerce between the Scattered and Gathered Worlds. At last the minds and eyes of Unde Nes and Sheltin kar-Nemeph turned toward the Core, and Unde Nes longed to see the close-gathered starry skies of Verkorra. So together they flew into Rept Kretzlab, and past the Curtain of the Hlutr, and so they came into the Gathered Worlds.

Upon several worlds they landed, and learned much . . . and rumor of their presence traveled far, even to Messilinia. And as the Gergathan was always on the lookout for those who dwelt in the Scattered Worlds, that it might pry from them the secrets of the Free Peoples, so it commanded that they be made to find their way to Verkorra, where some of its ships waited in ambush.

So came Unde Nes and Sheltin kar-Nemeph at last to Verkorra, and Unde Nes was eager for sight of her race's homeworld. But as the two made orbit, the ships of the Gergathan fell upon them and Sheltin kar-Nemeph was hard put to save the tiny craft from capture. The Rider, however, was one of the most skilled, and now her skill showed itself -- she brought the vessel to a safe landing in a snowy field at the foot of the Mountains of Kras Tenterb Nlan, the Great Glacier. The night sky was bright with the radiance of countless stars, stars of all colors Unde Nes had ever seen, and her emotions were lifted by the sight.

"We are dead, Unde Nes," said Sheltin kar-Nemeph, "for the ships that attacked us are surely those of the Enemy, and they have followed us down."

"Then let us flee, for now that I have reached this world I do not wish to give it up so easily." So they fled toward the mountains, as the Gergathan's ships settled to the ground nearby.

Then did Unde Nes face the Gergathan's vessels, and she composed her mind to peace, and she whispered prayer to Hesket, which in Coruman is the Hemmin Hesketen, a song older than the Pyslistroph (blessed be!). And Unde Nes' eyes brightened, and in their red depths appeared a tiny spark of icy blue. Then there sprang up a snowstorm, and under its cover Unde Nes and Sheltin kar-Nemeph were able to reach the mountains.

They climbed rapidly, and soon came to a cave in the mountainside; through cold and darkness they followed the cave's twisting passages until they were both very hungry, and each knew she could go no further. At last Unde Nes sat down and sighed.

"I can go no further, Sheltin kar-Nemeph," she said. "Calling the storm drained me of energy, and I cannot take another step in this cold and dark."

Now Sheltin kar-Nemeph, who was more rested, reached out to her friend. "If I may touch you, Unde Nes, then I shall carry you."

Unde Nes nodded, and thus it was that a lesser creature touched one of the Daamin and earned respect, not punishment. And in gratitude, it is said, those descendants of the Bittlanen who remain in the Scattered Worlds are ever exempt from the prohibition on touching the Daamin.

Sheltin kar-Nemeph carried Unde Nes, and her burden was not as heavy as she had anticipated. And as they stumbled on through the dark, Unde Nes laid her head against Sheltin kar-Nemeph's body, and cried out in weariness and hunger, calling upon Naervara and asking for one more sight of the stars before death or capture.

Then Sheltin kar-Nemeph became aware of a glimmer in the darkness, and she made for it. Soon she came to a large cave atop the Great Glacier, a cave whose roof was crystal-clear ice; and beyond the roof was the brilliance of Naervara's endless stars, filling the whole cave with cold white light. Verkorra's small moon was visible as a pale shadow against the brilliance of the stars, and nowhere were the ships of the Gergathan to be seen.

Then Sheltin kar-Nemeph put down her friend, and she curled up next to her, and the two of them slept.

(Next week: part two)

copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers

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Maerdik is one of the few Gathered Worlds which has any commerce with the Scattered Worlds.

Maerdik is the playground of Delger. Delger's creations abound there, Talebba constructs that supervise the channeling of the populace. For Maerdik is primarily a port of entry and departure, a controlled gateway through the Curtain of the Hlutr.

As recently as 100,000 BCE, Maerdik was a much busier world of two-way interaction, when the Core's power had been broken. When the Gergathan was still fighting to regain power in the vicinity of Messilinia, the Galactic Riders were paying regular visits to Maerdik, and there was a vital, thriving culture composed of a melange of all the peoples that had been left there two million years earlier in the fall of Malreppidar.

Gradually, over a thousand years or more, Kaylpeskrit expanded, and finally Maerdik felt first the rumor, then the breath, and finally the full smashing power of the Gergathan. And with Maerdik's fall, the Curtain of the Hlutr was re-established to warn Scattered Worlds vessels away from Kaylpeskrit.

Still there is an underground on Maerdik. The Galactic Riders may have given up on the world, but the Council of Free Peoples never did. Now Maerdik is a vulgar ruin compared to its former self, a planet dominated by Delger's agents and by the transient population of soldiers and servants who pass through its cities -- but even yet there is some small hope, and both the name of Aemallana and the knowledge of the Scattered Worlds are kept holy in the ruins by beings of peace.

copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers

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Top Ten Reasons We Love Brin & Catherine

Valentine Day TE 183: As everyone in the Empire knows, Mesayyid Brin Lütken and Catherine Leonov celebrate their 25th Anniversary today. For the occasion, we here at Stars of the Galaxy put our heads together and came up with the following list of The Top Ten Reasons We Love Brin & Catherine.

10. 1300 colonized worlds in the Empire as of this year...and 1200 of them have some public feature named for Brin or Catherine.

9. Brin Bonuses got us through the Slump of 172.

8. We get to spend every April wondering if Catherine is pregnant again.

7. Who else would have brought justice the murderers of Cambolinee?

6. Giving us all something interesting to watch during Vernon Castiligoni's speeches.

5. Five children so far, and maybe more to come, ensuring that gossip columnists will never be out of a job.

4. Never a dull moment in the Patrik Lütken/Kristen Kristeller on-again-off-again romance.

3. Is Darryl Lütken the cutest baby ever, or what?

2. Those commemorative wedding plates and holo-displays appreciate in value every year.

1. On their Silver Anniversary, they're still the Galaxy's storybook couple.


copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers

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The Imperial colony of Javal (founded TE 94/2247 CE) was a marginal world, its economy sustained largely by tourism and mineral production.

After the fall of the First Empire, society on Javal quickly regressed to a pre-industrial level.

In 3187 CE, a group of ideological outcasts from the Deletian Monarchy settled on Javal. Calling themselves "Klavvin," (a word of uncertain origin), they conducted a systematic absorption of the natives, which was complete by c. 3800 CE.

In 3524 CE, the Klavvin signed a trade treaty with the Tr#skan Trade Union, and by 3700 CE the island of Traskas was a Level One Tr#skan Trade Base, with a state-of-the-art spaceport in Teklenn Valley.

In 4635 CE, following the destruction of BDA Tr#ska, approximately 20,000 Tr#skan refugees landed on Javal and took up residence on Traskas Isle. Relations between the Tr#skans and the Klavvin became strained.

With the failure of Relay Delta (4723 CE), the Tr#skans became increasingly isolated from the rest of the Galaxy. Finally, in 4864 CE the Klavvin invaded Traskas and enslaved the Tr#skans. With a combination of drugs and hypnosis, the Tr#skans were reduced to a slave-labor caste.

This situation continued until 4951 CE, when a delegation of Knights Economic led an assault against Javal and succeeded in freeing the Tr#skan slaves.

copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers

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