This is a very rough draft of a possible Science Fiction / Fantasy book, or series of books, I’m thinking of someday writing. Let me know if it’s absolute rubbish…
Chapter 1 – The Years of Change
It was in the year 2643, during the 11th lunar cycle, when they found the object. The northern desert wasn’t a place that archaeologists normally thought of as a rich area, but this find was stranger than they had ever seen, and sparked an increased interest in archaeology worldwide. It was metallic, and it was buried in a stratum that was over 65 million years old. The fact that it had survived all that time was a mystery in itself.
During the lunar cycles that followed, numerous theories arose to explain how it got there, and what it was, but none made a lot of sense. One belief held that it was of non-terrestrial origin, that it was a small part of an ancient asteroid that had crashed on the planet millions of years ago, but it didn’t match any of the other asteroids that had been recovered, when there was anything to recover, that is.
Religious theorists seemed to take great interest at that time in the artifact, and held that the gods themselves had left this for us to find, and to study. They had the idea that it might be a key to knowing the past, and the future. Many from within darker and more isolated orders within those same walls, simply felt the artifact should be returned to where it had been taken, or simply left alone.
The explosion of archaeological digs planet wide resulted in precious little to add to this odd artifact since the strata that it was found in was extremely rare, and usually devoid of any signs of life, and only found in two places on the planet, the northern polar land mass, and the northern desert, a frozen wasteland where very little could survive. The northern polar land mass was covered in most places with a mile thick ice sheet, which stretched down across the frozen north sea to the northern desert.
The artifact was discovered by the famous globe-trotting Urillian adventurer Yserka, while he was attempting to break his previous record for walking the 1500 mectar distance across the frozen desert. Twenty five years before, he had done the same thing, and had been the first to discover that life did hang on, even here, in the frozen wastes, discovering strange fauna that subsisted in sub-zero temperatures year-round. This time, his fame was even greater, and as hoards of archaeologists braved the elements to see the wonder that the wind was revealing, he reveled in his new found celebrity. He was contracted by a major bookseller to write his life story, and it was then that the world found out that many of his tales were either fabricated, or plagiarized.
The artifact, however, was real enough, and after the initial media hype surrounding it, and its discoverer, died down, it was shuffled off to the great universities of the central mountain continents. Those bastions of higher learning that dominated, and yet hid themselves from the day to day operation and governing of the world. The artifact found its way to one such institution, where it was cataloged, labeled, and shelved, and nearly forgotten for over fifty years.
In the intervening years, the world saw a revolution unlike ever before. Scientific breakthroughs enriched and lengthened life, the planets population tripled, and the perfection of air travel brought the world closer together. The lighter than air zephyrs zipped across the stratosphere riding the trade winds of the planet, and the cities at the ends of these trade winds grew exponentially. The great sea was finally traversed by one of these zephyrs and there was officially no place that hadn’t been touched by Urillian influences.
Even fashion had evolved with the times. When the now nearly forgotten artifact had been found, the art of hiding ones tail was in fashion, now, it was common for Urillians to celebrate their tails, and again use them as a third hand. It was a real back to nature movement, complete with certain Urillians reviving the old tradition of building dwellings under the extensive forests of massive trees of the northwestern continent. Those trees that were sometimes over five hundred feet in circumference, and had lived for two and sometimes three centuries. It was even rumored that some of these hole-dwellers regressed and began climbing the trees again, using their tails as the Urillians of old had, before the time of the great burning, when the planet was struck by a meteor so large that the sky was burnt orange for one hundred years. There was even rumor of vast hidden cities in the trees. Most modern Urillians, however, dismissed the very idea that people would give up technology for such a pastoral life as legend, and left it at that.
War, too, had changed in the last fifty years. As Urillian science advanced, so did the art of war. Gone was the hand to hand to tail combat of one hundred years ago, now it was swords in close combat, projectile weapons and chemicals in the cities and towns of ones rival city state. Even the great sea wasn’t immune to war. Great ships and even war zephyrs were built by the great shipping guilds of the western coastal lands.
One thing that did remain the same, however, was the great universities. The outer world marched on, advanced, mostly thanks to the discoveries made by scientists at the great universities, but the universities themselves, remained relics of the past. It was in one of these universities that a discovery was made, or rather, a re-discovery. The metallic object found by the adventurer Yserka had lain in a large drawer for close to fifty years. It remained the kind of enigma that takes more time and effort to solve than many students had, and many of the faculty had already come to conclusions that they felt were satisfactory regarding the object, and therefore regarded it as old news, and something to be forgotten.
There was one student, however, who had seen a sketch of the object, and had never forgotten it. His name was Ursala Surbla. Having come from a wealthy Urillian family in the south to the central university, he spent many days in the library, and in the specimen room, simply satisfying curiosities. Yet he was never allowed to view the artifact. However, he found the Yserka volume that described the strata that the object was found in, and was mystified. How could an object, so obviously unnatural, have come to be deeply embedded in 20 million year old rock? It just didn’t add up.
His studies forbade him the kind of time that he wanted to dedicate to the project, and his professors thought it was a foolish endeavor anyway. Still, the idea that this object was special weighed heavily on him, and he continued his research as often as he could. He came across several articles by other scientists who had studied the object, many of which came to the same conclusions. He found it odd that there was such unilateral consensus on the artifact, that there were no respectable dissenting views. It was then that he started noticing that this object had only been studied up until mid-summer of 2647, and no one had seen it since it was taken off display in the central university gallery in 2652, that was 49 years ago now. At this point, research on the object had abruptly stopped. The core group of scientists who had worked on it was now all dead. And no other writings on the object existed.
Millions of sinister thoughts filled Ursala’s head, his ears turned and flattened back against the fur on his cranium, further increasing his concentration on the matter by closing off the sounds around him. He hissed through his front teeth and twitched his tail softly over his shoulder. He was suddenly very interested in this object, and greatly desired to see it with his own eyes.