Pure Fiction: “Aurom” Prologue & Ch. 1

Pure Fiction

Over the next few months, I am going to post some fictional writings that I have been working on over the years. Many of these, I began prior to becoming a Mason, but interestingly there are elements within them that may seem Masonic in some sense. I have many of these unfinished projects that I am seeking to finish. Help me decide which one I should finish first.

I will post a portion of the beginning of my works and I hope you will leave COMMENTS as to whether you would like to read more. The work that has the most COMMENTS will be the work I will finish first. Also, I will randomly draw the names of FIVE of the commenters to receive prizes, like signed copies of the novel when it is finished.

The current posting is from a Sci-Fi novel, tentatively titled, “Aurom,” which I began within the last year or so. This is very early stuff, but if it’s something that strikes an interest, then I will focus on completing it. Leave COMMENTS, if you think I should keep working on it.

Remember this is just early concept writing, so editing is needed, please email me at freshfromthequarry@gmail.com, so that I may make the necessary changes. Thank you!


 

Prologue: A Scourge Upon This Land

“Our forefathers never would have allowed such blasphemy!” Shouted the tall, skeletal elderly man in worn and ancient hierophantic robes. His long whitish-gray beard blew in the wind, as he pointed his long, slender finger towards the hundreds in attendance. Each captivated by his presence and seemingly invigorated by his rhetoric

“We are the Hidden! We are the Order!” Cheered his audience, watching from below the dilapidated steps of the Temple ruins. Some cried, “Yaakovi am’Aurom!”

Such commotion would not go unnoticed for long. Though the Sabinnal Empire tried to placate the conquered by allowing them to continue their ways of life uninterrupted, for the most part, they did not look kindly to insurrection. Even the mere act of speaking against the Empire counted as revolt. This protest, rallying of the people, would be seen as far worse.

“Our Temple is defiled by the invaders from other worlds! Here the ruins lay and we are unable to rebuild!” continued the old man. “They have taken our genealogical lines of the Hierophantic Templehood and Astroarchy, only to replace them with Auromian traitors!”

“Those who sit in the new, false Temple, know not the One True God! Those who feast on our fruits and labors, pretending to be the Star Kings of old, know not the acts of conquerors for they are already the conquered. Both are enslaved to the Empire, yet they know not!”

“The Chroniclers of our Order tell of a golden age on Hyxos III, when the Astroarchy and Hierophantic Templehood were pure and true. Before Auromians turned their backs to the one true God, Yaakovi am’Aurom. He, who formed us from nothing and placed us upon the fertile ground under the shining light of Hyxos above,” he pointed his long, bony finger toward the bright sun-star in the sky. Then, he waved his arms, palms-raised, across the people saying, “In his reflection, we are the microcosm, and he is everything!”

“Nearly two thousand years ago, the twelfth Hierophant elected the first Astroarch from among the people. We remember this first Star King in the legends and revere him for his sacrifice. For one thousand years, our Astroarchy ruled alongside the Hierophantic Templehood under the grace of Yaakovi am’Aurom. We were one people then, united under his watchful eye. Six hundred years have passed since the destruction of the true Astroarchy and Hierophantic Templehood, sending our world into the chaos now consuming it.”

Suddenly, the high-pitched squeal of an inbound cargo-flyer ripped across the audience, forcing them to grasp their ears. Several lost interest in the old man and ran away, while many more remained, nervously whispering to one another. The old man waved his hand above the crowd, re-commanding their attention.

“We were once ruled by Dragons!” He shouted vigorously, thrusting his right hand upward to the sky, and then dropping it dramatically, again pointing to the people. “They destroyed our way of life, causing the Great Loss… but we fought back. Where is their rule now?”

“But, we are not content to be a free people. We must be ruled, it seems, and not by the one true God, the true Astroarchy, or pure Hierophantic Templehood. Is this why we allow the Sabinnal horde and their impostor-kings and -priests to maul us and degrade us, enslave us and bury us?”

“No! We fight!” the people shouted back. “Death to the Traitors! Death to the Empire!”

“The Order has maintained the genealogical lineage for both the Astroarchs and the Hierophants.” The old man smiled, “We have never lost sight of the true bloodline, and we will never allow it to be severed again. We will soon have a new true Astroarch and pure Hierophant to rebuild our Kingdom and Templehood!”

The people cheered so loudly to this news that they did not feel the rumbling beneath their feet. They stomped and cried, and shouted and clapped, until they noticed the old man’s face turn from the flush of life to the pallid of death.

“DISPERSE!” commanded an electrical-sounding filtered voice from inside a Bi-Tanker: the small double-barreled phase-cannon ground assault vehicle used by the Sabinnal Empire to suppress masses. Sabinnal Guards quickly surrounded the area.

Some audience members started to run away, but the old man shouted as he descended the steps of the old Temple, “RUN NOT! If we run now, we have lost all hope!” The crowd parted as he walked to the Bi-Tanker, standing defiantly before it. “WE WILL NOT BE MOVED!”

“You must disperse or face the penalty of protest,” pleaded the Sabbinal Captain in his electrical-filtered voice. The guards raised their blades.

The old man sat down, crossed his legs, closed his eyes, and raised his arms to the sky, praying, “Yaakovi Am’Aurom.”

Four more Bi-Tankers rolled into the square, cutting off all exits. The Sabbinal Captain pleaded again, “If you do not disperse we will be forced…”

“WE WILL NOT BE MOVED!” The old man cut him off. “My people we must protest this duplicitous rule. Sit with me here in peaceful protest. We will not let them take our identities. We will not let them take our world. We will not let them rule us anymore!”

Hundreds of protesters fell to the ground, sitting in mutual defiance. “WE WILL NOT BE MOVED!” they shouted over and over, drowning out any communication the Sabbinal Captain could make to them.

The Bi-Tankers and Guards circled the protesters. “You must disperse now!” commanded the Sabinnal Captain. “Go in peace!”

“WE WILL NOT BE MOVED!”

After a few intense moments, the Sabinnal Guards unexpectedly retreated, and the Bi-Tankers rumbled into reverse. The protesters chants grew louder, as their victory seemed assured. They hugged and kissed one another, congratulating themselves. But again consumed by their own interests, they neglected to see the truth surrounding them. The Bi-Tankers maneuvered into attack positions and rumbled forward once more.

Crushing, screaming, chaos… no escape for the protesters could be found, as the tanks plowed through them from one side to the other, side by side. Those who crawled free only found death upon a Sabbinal Guard’s blade. The onslaught was fierce, as puddles of blood and crushed bone filled the Old Temple Square.

“Hunt down the rest of the Yaakoviites!” commanded the Sabbinal Captain. “They are a scourge upon this land!”

***

            For twenty years, the Sabinnal Empire hunted down the Yaakoviites until so few survived to even call them a people. In that time, Hyxos III fell under martial law, as the Sabbinal Guard increased their presence. They also enlisted Auromians into the militia, so they could one-day achieve the great honor of citizenship in the Sabinnal Empire.

Chapter 1: A Militiaman

“To understand the present,” whispered the scrawny scribe, “you must understand the past.” With those enigmatic words, he thrust a tightly bound scroll into Saaliin’s chest and hurried away. Sabinnal guards whistled after him, chasing him down, gutting him in the street.

They missed Saaliin, dressed in the militia armaments of the Auromians (proud supporters of the Sabinnal Empire occupation of Hyxos III). As the guards ran passed him, Saaliin bowed, watching in horror as they wrestled the scribe to the ground. His horror turned to shock, as they turned him inside out in the middle of the market square. No trial, just execution. Saaliin turned away, gripping tightly the scroll to his chest.

“What did he do?” pondered Saaliin, as he carefully navigated the overcrowded market alleyways. “Who is… was he?”

Like most city walls occupied by the Auromians or Yaakoviites, they were plastered with posters of propaganda. “Food provided by the grace of the Sabinnal Emperor,” “Enjoy Freedom, become a Sabinnal Citizen,” and “Failure to disarm is a capital offense,” were among the most common.

While the Auromians were comfortable with the Sabinnal occupation, the Yaakoviites fought back. Labeled terrorists by both Sabinnal and Auromian leadership, they were hunted down and forcibly removed. Fortunately for the Yaakoviites, they physically resembled the Auromians, speaking the same language, and having many of the same customs. The difficulty of identifying the few Yaakoviites that remained was great indeed.

Even Saaliin’s mother was a Yaakoviite. She never revealed that truth to her husband, but to her son was another story. Saaliin grew up, raised in the dueling myths of the Auromians and Yaakoviites. She had hoped, like all Yaakoviite mothers, that her child was the heir to the kingdom: the restorer of the throne and expeller of foreign oppressors. Because she filled his head with the history of her people, he always felt sensitivity to the plight of the Yaakoviites, even ignoring many arrests he should have made.

When the Yaakoviite scribe approached him for help, he was immediately conflicted. He did not want that man to suffer at the hands of the Sabinnal guards, nor did he want to be discovered as a sympathizer. The scribe noted the sensitivity in Saaliin’s eyes and understood. Under different circumstances they might have been friends, but chased as he was, nothing could be done to save him. Saaliin’s sympathetic eyes garnered him the scroll he carried now, protected even.

Before receiving the final words of the scribe and after his pleas for help, the scribe whispered, “These must reach the followers of Moyash. They cannot fall into enemy hands.” At first, Saaliin did not understand. He was unaware of anyone named Moyash, or did he know of any reason why one would follow him. He also had not realized immediately that the man was a Yaakoviite scribe, so determining who may be an enemy was difficult. Knowing now the man’s true heritage, the enemies were vast in number and the majority of people upon Hyxos III.

Upon arrival to his small windowless, bottom-rung home in the middle-district of Aurom proper, Saaliin opened the scroll. It was not just one scroll, but many rolled tightly against one another. He laid them out on his table one by one, examining the workmanship of the scribe. They were beautifully hand-written in the Old Language, a common tongue between the Auromians and Yaakoviites when they were a singular people. Saaliin had only seen this type of writing once before, when his mother taught him to read.

She told him, “You must store in your memory anything that they tell you to purge, because they may forget it, but never should we.”

At first, Saaliin struggled with the lettering, but like most memories stored for long-keeping, he was able to regain his use of the ancient tongue. He picked up the first scroll with the title, large and bold, unlike the rest of the pages, and he began to read:

A Short History of Hyxos III: From the founding of Aurom to the Present occupation of the Sabbinal Empire

Below the large, darkly inked title, a smaller inscription quickly scribbled in the white space between the large title and the following heading read:

What you are about to read is a true history as recorded by the chronicler Yonan am’Higram, a hereditarological scribe of the Yaakoviites of Hyxos III. It has not been redacted to reflect the accepted truth as ordained by the Order. You may not understand what you read. You may not believe it, but it is the true history of my people.

Saaliin re-read the inscription several times before moving onto the first heading:

The Founding of Aurom

Saaliin’s eyes widened upon reading the word Aurom, the city of his birth. To his knowledge, Aurom was never founded; it had always existed, as long as humans existed. Even among the differences between the dueling myths of the Auromians and Yaakoviites, Aurom was created by the great gods or one true God, depending on the myth. It was the first of all civilization and humankind began there. That was the truth as he knew it.

Dropping the parchment to the table on most occasions would not have resounded as loudly as it did then. Saaliin’s head ached. The world around him began to spin and fill with eardrum-bursting noise. He grabbed his face to hold himself steady, fighting the dizziness and nausea. He fumbled for his water jug, cautiously stepping away from the scrolls, so not to dampen them. He drank vigorously, and then drenched his face with the remaining liquid. He shook his head once or twice, and then holding it tightly between his hands, he yelled, “Aurom, Adlash, Avaris, B’Elov, Broma, Durh, Forgash, Fier, Havalam, Norgay, Olmsath, Orv, Palsam, Ravrain, Shol, Uhr, Vrom, Vulgash, Yaakovi!”

He dropped to his knees, gripping his hands tightly before him and prostrated himself upon the floor. His mind raced. He thought of his mother and father. His mother dying and whispering her final words in his ear, “Yaakovi am’Aurom.” She was a true believer of the One True God. He knew she wanted him to believe as well. For some reason he was unable to rectify the differences between the dueling myths, the fact that the Sabinnal Empire invaded from the stars above to conquer them, and the emerging presence of the Kittim and Faerrim.

Saaliin wiped the tears from his face and lifted himself from the ground. One memory of his mother bombarded his mind over and over. She gazed upon the stars at night and pointed to a bright blue star in the sky. She called it, “Thrax.” She said she did not know why. The star’s name was not “Thrax,” however, but “Forgash,” named for the Auromian goddess of agriculture and fertility. He wondered if the name differed for Yaakoviites who did not believe in the many gods. On one night after star-gazing, she slipped away from Saaliin in a dreamlike state, singing, “The history of my people is chronicled. The history is what we are told. There is an Order among things to help us understand and behold.”

Until lifting himself back to the table to gaze upon the scrolls sprawled before him, he had never replayed that specific memory before. Although he did not understand what his mother’s song meant, he felt that it had something to do with these scrolls. He sat at the table and resumed to read them, one by one.

The Founding of Aurom

Twenty-five hundred years ago, the ancestors of my people landed on the third planet of the Hyxos solar system. They believed that they were the first to settle a planet circling the red giant. Revolving around Hyxos were six planets in all: a lifeless rock (Hyxos I), a peri-life planet bustling with both life gases and poisons (Hyxos II), two potentially habitable planets (Hyxos III and IV), and two gas giants (Hyxos V and VI).

Of the eight satellites spinning around Hyxos V and three around the double-ringed Hyxos VI, three were potentially habitable (V-C, V-D, and VI-B). The rest were lifeless rocks, like the two moons of Hyxos IV and the single crater-filled globe hovering over Hyxos III. The system contained plentiful possibilities for the continuance of the human race, and my ancestors reminisced of its similarity to the worlds they left behind.

In the days of my ancestors, technology had advanced so greatly that any group of people who could afford it could travel to and settle distant worlds. Many people left their homes to find vast wealth by discovering resource deposits to mine. Others sought solace and refuge, escaping persecution for their lifestyle or beliefs. Still others just wanted a place they could call their own. My ancestors sought all three.

This information is known to me, because I am the hereditarological scribe or chronicler of my people, the Yaakoviites. Most of my people are unaware of our history, let alone our origins. They were provided the necessary stories (fictions) to mitigate their uncertainties and insure their subservience to the dual line of Astroarchs and Hierophants. A line severed nearly 600 years ago, but maintained in the writing of the chroniclers and controlled by the Order, but I will get into that more later.

At present, my people no longer rule Hyxos III but are held hostage by the Sabinnal Empire. We are impoverished and removed of technology, fighting our captors with crude weapons, cunning, and willpower. The Sabinnals are not our conquerors, however. They have only ruled our lands for the last 150 years. After outgrowing their settlements on the moons of Hyxos V, they came to our world with advanced weaponry, wiping out the Zarthrastans who had previously conquered and dispersed my people in what is now known as the Great Loss.

The seeds of the Great Loss were constantly planted throughout our contentious history as rulers over the north continent of Hyxos III. They began with our arrival and founding of our first great city, Aurom, where three-hundred followers of the astro-chronologer Yaakovi Aurom sought solace from religious persecution within the Thraxian Civilization. The ancestors of my people were not yet Yaakoviites for they worshipped an array of astral beings known as the Birge.

Most civilizations in the galaxy had relegated religious belief to pre-history and considered religionists a product of a by-gone era. They were persecuted as extremists and fundamentalists, adhering to a set of moral values in conflict with the tolerant and equalizing power structures generally in place among the civilized planetary systems. The followers of Yaakovi Aurom were known as the Birguenots, adherents to a polytheistic astral religion. Although they practiced strict pacifism and communism, they were regarded as disruptive to the general population of non-believers.

Two-years prior to their escape from Thrax IX, an anti-religionist crusade began purging believers, like the Birguenots, from the Thraxian Civilization. They were deemed non-citizens and persecution was positively accepted. Hundreds of thousands of Birguenots, men, women, and children, were given to the scourge. Forced to proclaim non-belief and exit their community or face peril and death, they were scattered among the planets of the Thraxian system, depleting their great numbers.

By the time they could afford an escape, only the militant followers of the Birguenot astro-chronologer Yaakovi Aurom remained. He regaled his followers with promises of vast resources and freedoms to behold in a land that would be their own, and they believed the Birge funneled their promises through his astral-connection. Armed with colonizing equipment and war machinery, they set sights on the farthest non-settled solar system they could find. After thirty long years in hyper sleep, the Birguenots awoke to their new world.

The colonizing equipment with its terra-forming properties made the founding of Aurom easy. Although no architects or engineers existed among the Birguenots, Aurom was built within a week. The new land readied itself for colonization, altering the atmosphere of the northern continent to encourage agro-growth, agro being the name for products grown from the soil. In a land that rarely rained prior to the descent of the Birguenots, it quickly became a wet and wonderful, tamed world. The three-hundred followers of Yaakovi Aurom had found their promised land, or so they thought.

The Kittim

History is often redacted by those in power, so they may dictate how they believe or want others to believe the state of the world…

CLANK! CLANK!

Thundered metallic raps from his neighbor’s door, jolted Saaliin from his focus. Carefully and quickly he rerolled the scrolls, noting the place of his interruption. He would return to this endeavor soon enough.

In frantic haste, he scoured his domicile for some hiding place. Finding nothing to easily and safely fit the bundled scroll, he stood still momentarily, steadying his mind. His mother taught him more than the Old Language. She taught him many of the ways of the Yaakovites.

“Slow your thoughts, my son,” she told him. “Focus on a singular word or task, something to target all your mind’s energies at once… and breathe. Always breathe.”

Saaliin often used the technique to calm himself when flustered or frustrated by some obstacle. Over time, he mastered this focused meditation, or slow-thought as  his mother called it, but he often forgot to begin with it, finding himself using it only as an afterthought.

As he stood, silently in slow-thought, his mind’s eye raced through his small home, scanning quickly across all his items and delineating the myriad of possibilities each could be used to house the treasure. Within seconds, he broke from meditation and smiled widely, scoffing and shaking his head, as if to say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

The answer to his dilemma stood in front of him. His table was small for the room, but had four large hollow wooden legs. At the time of its purchase, Saaliin did not have the credit necessary to make the exorbitant purchase of solid wooden legs. Luckily, the furniture-maker had this frugal-buyer’s option available. As if it were destiny, this table was now exactly what he needed at this particular moment in time.

Nextdoor, the interrogation continued. The echoes were loud, but unclear, booming as they were. So, he could not yet tell if the commands were those of the Sabinnal guard or the Auromian militia. Regardless, he could tell that it was not an arrest. They were taking far too long. They were looking for something.

He easily cleared his tabletop, flipped the table over, and removed one of the legs. The space was too small for the whole bundle of scrolls. He unrolled them, and quickly re-rolled them into four tight smaller rolls, placing them each into one of the four hollow table legs.

THUMP!

The loud metallic slamming of his neighbor’s door caught him by surprise. He had not yet finished re-fastening the table legs. He worked quickly, but listened. His neighbors rustled behind his wall, speaking quickly their dampened dialogue, while a second set of muffled voices echoed just outside their door.

“Am I next?” he thought.

Resounding footsteps announced their approach, as he fastened the final leg. The clanking of their raps was expected. “Coming,” he shouted as nonchalantly as possible. “It’ll just be a second.”

Saaliin flipped the table back, re-decorating a haphazard display that mimicked the scattered mess of his home. The interrogators clanked thrice-more asserting their impatience.

“Yes?!?” Saaliin answered hurriedly. “What do you… Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize. How can I help?”

His ruse caught the Captain off-guard. “We’re conducting a random sweep for contraband.” He motioned for the two Sabinnal guards standing behind him to move forward. Saaliin stepped aside, silently allowing them passage. This had become too routine to be random.

“You’re a militiaman?” questioned the Captain.

“Yessir.” Saaliin peripherally viewed the guards, trying not to reveal any concern.

As citizens of the vast Sabinal Empire, guards came in all sorts and sizes from the various conquered races. These two guards seemed to be of the same race, both much larger than Saaliin, similar in body structure, but covered in iridescent scales that change from light yellow to dark purple depending on their moods, time of day, or environmental conditions. Some of the older Yaakoviites derogatorily called them Zarthrastans or Dragons, for what reason, Saaliin knew not. He only knew they were a strong race, but not the brightest. Their oafishness made them good sentries, taking orders from a superior.

The Captain, like most of the superior officers, seemed to be a true Sabin, although Saaliin had no idea what a true Sabin looked like. He assumed that they looked like the superior officers he had seen, as that particular race seemed to always have leadership positions within the empire. Blue or greenish-blue skinned, hairless, and slightly larger than the Dragons, the Yaakoviites called them Four-Armed Brutes. In truth, their second set of arms, protruding from their backs were vestigial prehensile wings, no longer capable of flight. Some older Yaakoviites speculated that the true Sabins were winged, but could not breathe the atmosphere of Hyxos III, so they remained on their homeworld or in their massive ships orbiting the planet.

“Looks clean, sir!” shouted one of the reptilian guards.

“All clear here,” the other followed, turning round quickly and bumping the table. Saaliin’s eyes widened, as the guard grabbed the table and shook it. The mess on top rolled to the floor.

“You mind?” Saaliin eyed the reptile.

The guard looked to his superior, who motioned for him to leave.

“It’s a bit wonky,” the guard said pushing passed Saalin. “You should probably fix that.”

“Thanks,” he responded. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Sorry for the inconvenience,” said the Captain without any hint of apology in his voice. With the same disinterested tone, he continued, “Your service to the Sabinnal Empire is noted and will be reflected on your application for citizenship.”

Saaliin feigned enthusiasm, “Thank you, sir.”

The Captain nodded and Saaliin closed his door. He looked over his disheveled room. Aside from the mess around the table, the room did not seem too disturbed by the intrusion. Saaliin laughed, picking up the few items not returned to their proper place, “Cleanliness is certainly not my strong suit.”

He carried an empty tub back to the table and cleaned the mess around it. Then, he carefully turned the table over. One of the legs was dislodged. It was sheer luck that it had not toppled to reveal the hidden treasure. He removed the scroll, finding it to be where he left off. “What a strange coincidence,” he thought before continuing on.

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