It’s been a long time since I’ve even touched this project from last year’s NaNoWriM. However, I’ve decided to share a little snippet of it just so those who might be curious can get a taste of it.
I think it’s important that I provide a bit of an explanation about Sovernfell so that this snippet makes some sense.
Sovernfell is snowy, massive hunk of flatland that stretches on for hundreds of miles, and is all kept within a separate realm from our own. Those who live there, known as Sovarians, use magical Ice Keys to enter our world for the purpose of archiving our architecture and its history. The data is collected within their Ice Keys, which they bring back to Sovernfell and install the copy into their own land to be eternally preserved. The Sovarians that gather this data are referred to as Forgers, and they must remain unseen by (or interact very little with) the people on our earth (also referred to as Time Drifters).
That’s about all you need to know in order to understand this snippet, to an extent. Please understand that this is a rough draft and is likely to be heavily edited or completely tossed out.
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It was a combination of carelessness, bad timing and horrendous luck — that’s what Eka would tell himself after coming to Gerenalt to conduct his duties as a Forger.
It was a cold and windy night in Gerenalt, but for someone like Eka, a Sovarian, cold winds were a staple of his home. He hadn’t been serving as a Forger for very long and anxiety settled awkwardly in his chest as he clung to a wall inside an alley. The winds howled low, whipping through the crevice between the two brick buildings, and mimicked the sound of some fictional monster. He clung to his black cloak as the invisible winds tried to steal it away. He must’ve chosen the wrong alley to regroup his thoughts in, because it felt like he was standing in a giant wind tunnel mercilessly trying to toss him around. Unable to concentrate, he slumped to the concrete and huddled against a dumpster. It sheltered him from the winds to an extent, but the sound of it was still unbearably distracting.
“Where was I supposed to go again?” he questioned himself. He would’ve consulted his map, but once again, the wind would have ripped it out of his hands in an instant if he tried to unfold it. Also, there was hardly any light in the alley to see anything. Angrily, he cursed into the winds, stood and exited the alley. He knew very, very well that he was not to be seen by the Time Drifters. It was of utmost importance. Any interaction with the Time Drifters could be costly, although he wasn’t completely sure why. It wasn’t like time traveling into the past and accidentally stepping on a caterpillar that would bring about the apocalypse… Right? It didn’t matter — the streets were practically void of any civilians. Surely only an insane person would venture out into such conditions willingly.
Taking his advantage of the streets vacancy, he wandered around hoping to find a familiar landmark of some kind. Although he couldn’t conveniently check his map, he did have a reliably innate sense of where most things were — he just needed to find one of those things. Looking out into the distance over the buildings was impossible — the wind cloaked itself in the snow, cleverly cascading itself through the buildings and streets. Eka scowled at the snow, suspecting that it was intentionally working against him. Determined to overcome it, he pressed on and began to manually map out the city in his head. Street after street, he drew closer to the heart of the city where he knew a distinct building stood. If he could find it, he’d then be able to determine where north was and go from there. He clarified the plan in his head once more just before an extraordinarily strong gust of snowy wind plowed through him from the back. His cloak flew upwards and over his head, flipping wildly like a flag as the wind persisted. Quickly becoming intolerant of the mischievous wind, he tempered his cloak and readjusted how he angled himself against the gusts. Out of subconscious habit, he patted down on where the pockets were and realized something was amiss.
“The map…” he breathed exasperatedly, looking to where the wind may have carried it off. Sure enough, the map joyously flipped away in the air, already hundreds of feet away. He’d already abandoned even the thought of chasing after it, but as he watched it teasingly race away from him, a dreadful thought glazed over him and he panically patted his pockets more. He couldn’t feel it. Could it have…? Taking extra precautionary measures, he fumbled his numb, frozen fingers into each pocket. From what his fingers could detect, it was most definitely gone. Oh, but wait! What about his breast pockets? Again, no luck. The one thing he was never to lose had been lost — the Ice Key. It was the worst thing he could’ve lost. Without it, he couldn’t perform his duties of forging new data from the buildings he was assigned with that night. More direly, without it, he had no way of returning to Sovernfell.
Primitive instinct kicked in and he immediately looked at the ground. To further his dismay, the sidewalk and streets were hidden under a swiftly flowing river of powdery snow. There was no hope of finding it, but he had to. He could neither move forward or backward without it. Worst case scenario, he’d have to seek the help of a fellow Forger to get back home, but that would earn him years of humiliation from his friends. But, he couldn’t concern himself with that at the moment — the more time he wasted thinking of the consequences, the more time the key had to get away.
Cluelessly and aimlessly, he began his search with severely dampened spirits. The streetlamps provided very little helpful light and there were so many gutters and dips that it may have fallen into. It was worse than looking for a needle in haystack. If only he had a bit more light.
Just as that fleeting thought passed by, he noticed that the ground was becoming saturated in light, and rather quickly, too. He looked up to the streetlamps, having suspected one of them got inexplicably brighter, but then his eyes were redirected to something in the sky.
What Eka saw was something he’d never seen before. In the sky, higher than he could imagine, a ball of light careened over the city. In a matter of mere seconds, it bursted into a blaze so bright he had to avert his eyes, and through half-shut eyelids, he could see the stinging white light bleach out the entire city for only a short second, and once that second passed, the city was dark once again. However, with his eyes dilated, it seemed much darker than it did before. It was a brightness he’d never even thought possible, like having the sun only inches from your nose.
“What the hell was tha—”
Before Eka could finish a well deserved question, a loud, forceful and exceptionally powerful invisible force slammed into him, knocking him off his feet and straight back. Windows of the buildings surrounding him shattered and various car alarms sounded simultaneously. The unsettling sounds of shaking electricity poles and streetlamps came at him from every angle. And, oddly enough, the wind had died down exceptionally. However, with the car alarms and growing police sirens, nothing was much quieter.
Any conceivable answer to what might’ve happened eluded him. There were few concepts in his mind of what may have flown overhead and then slammed into him. He considered that it could have been some kind of celestial being that had come to administer punishment. Perhaps it was, as he once heard referenced in school, ‘aliens’? Whatever it was, it was gone; just as quickly as it had appeared. He forced it out of his mind, convincing himself he didn’t have the time to dwell on it.
Dazed and slightly weakened from shock, he continued stumbling through the streets, looking for the Ice Key. Just up ahead of him, he saw some people exiting their apartments. It was difficult to hear what any of them were saying from his distance, but they were most certainly puzzled as well. Before they had noticed him, he hid behind some vehicles and stuck to the shadows as he approached them. The loss of his key slowly started to slip out of his mind — he wanted to know more about what had just occurred.
“What do you think that could have been? A missile?”
Eka came into earshot of the couple that stood out in the cold, gazing up into the sky.
“Perhaps a meteor?”
A meteor? It was a term he’d only heard in passing at school — he knew nothing of it beyond its name. The couple continued their speculation, but none of it sunk in with Eka. After subduing the curiosity within him, he reorganized his priorities and resumed his search for the key. However, at that point, he had absolutely no idea where it could be.
As more people began to flood out of their homes, all curiously gazing up into the sky, Eka was forced to fall back into the safety of the dark alleys once again. Nothing was going his way. Everything seemed to be falling apart, and as more time passed, he became more and more worried over the consequences of losing the key. But, now that the city had been rudely reawakened, he’d have to wait before he could move. And so he did, for hours. Never before had he begun to miss home so much. Strange things were happening in a foreign city he didn’t belong in. The fear of it gripped him tighter with each passing minute. What had he gotten himself into?
After what Eka estimated to be at least five hours, the city folk had finally staved off their appetite for answers and returned to their homes. Eka could move again, finally, until yet another strange occurrence halted him — something else he hadn’t been familiarized with.
In the distance, a very peculiar cry raised its volume and pitch, striking Eka’s ears in a strange way. After a few seconds, more of the same cries arose from different locations. They howled loudly, falling in and out of direct earshot. What were they, and were they related to that light and boom earlier? Out of sheer speculation, he assumed they were some kind of alarm system. However, it made no sense to him that they’d be sounding off five hours after the strange occurrence.
More police sirens blared in all directions, flooding Eka’s alley with a choir of reverberating cries. He went to cover his ears, but loud, strangely hollowed out human voices shouted directions, catching his attention.
“The city has issued an evacuation. All need to clear out of their homes and travel at least three kilometers away from Gerenalt.”
Even more confusion befell him as he listened.
“The nuclear power plant is experiencing severe malfunctions due to damage from the meteorite impact. All need to evacuate immediately.”
“Nuclear”. Yet another word Eka had only heard in passing. As the loud voice made its rounds across the town, more and more people piled into their cars and into the streets. Eka had to stay hidden and could only view the situation through various openings of his alley. Many people were crying and running. Some were maintaining their composure. Others were laughing out of fear.
Eka didn’t know what nuclear meant or what it implied, but these people did, and it seemed quite obvious that whatever was going on was serious. Something disastrous had taken place in Gerenalt, and he was in the thick of it. Fear evolved into terror and injected his body with adrenalin. He despised the idea of directly going against orders, but he knew he needed to walk amongst the people and look for another Forger. He needed to get out as quick as he could.
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That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this teaser of sorts, and I apologize for the abrupt cutoff. The rest was pretty much dogshit. Also, I’m sorry about the awkward formatting. Copy and paste doesn’t work so well sometimes.