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The various ethnic groups of the Third Era, that is all the races included in the Homo species that populate the Redemption The Third Era world have their own idiom. Many of these language systems have been influenced by the ‘mother’ tongue that was used in a certain geographical area at the moment of the Catastrophe and that have then evolved being embellished with own terms and expressions. The ability to communicate with others is one of the most distinguished features of mankind and the inter-racial communication has always been one of the first needs in order to have relations and create social bonds.
Just to facilitate the interpersonal exchanges even amongst different races, with time a Universal Language has developed which is acknowledged and is spoken by the most part of the individuals that have traveled a lot and have made of their trades their life style and that is used in the relationships that pertain to people belonging to various ethnic groups. The Universal Language (generically called the ‘Universal‘) is formed by words and expressions that derive from the languages used by the various people and for this dynamic it is constantly evolving. Compared to the languages that are currently in use in the Third Era, the Universal has a more simple basic structure (subject, verb and complement) and the terms that compose it are limited. This makes it a language that is easily popularized and comprehended, but that lacks all that is descriptive or poetical. The use of the Universal is relegated to the ‘need’ to communicate and to be understood by ‘all’ to the disadvantage of everything that is ‘language embellishment’ and falls outside the ultimate scope. Even if the Universal is a language that is spoken and written, in this idiom there are no novels, poems, nor songs because the scarcity of expression does not allow harmonious literary composition. All that pertains to ‘linguistics art’ has been left to other languages like the Salk (Salkiis) rich of nouns and adjectives, or the Tamiara (Tamiala) that has sweet phonetics easy to be reproduced, up to the Human that is the idiom with the greatest numbers of words in the Third Era and that, correlated to our days, is a mix of English, Spanish and Mandarin. Another language that is considered to be ‘elegant’ is the Vampiric that represents also an exception compared to the other idioms, because, starting from the original language spoken by the Vampires it has had ‘driven’ variations due to the study, from this race, of the texts written in latin retrieved from the Old Era and for this reason considered a ‘young’ language subjected to continuous evolutions.
Mechanics and technology are at the centre of the Damas life, this couldn’t but influence their language as well (Damarshan) that, out of necessity, includes a vast amount of ‘technical’ terms that often are not used by the other races, but that are indispensable for living in the Chasm and for any scientific book or handbook. The Graunt language (Grauntar) is the hardest to understand and replicate for the other races because it is made of hard guttural sounds that make it difficult to comprehend by any non specialist ear.
Independently from the language differences, communication is a priority that affects all races and it is not unusual that many people could be able if not to speak, at least to understand the various idioms beyond their own. In any discussion it is a good habit, which is interpreted as a sign of respect, to cheer or thank in the language of the interlocutor, which has pushed even the laziest ones regarding education to make an effort in order to learn the most common welcoming sentences in the greatest number of languages, a sagacity that in the most extreme situations can make the difference from a ‘normal’ life and a very short one.
In a Line …
Evidently it had been the wrong time to stop and fill up the water bottles and thermos at one of the Water Posts of Chasm City, but he had got up late, he had to leave and needed some supplies for the trip.
Despite there had been a dozen of small fountains, there was a long line of people at that time and Dustin was in a queue for some time, the only Human amongst the Damas.
He was moving his gaze here and there stopping now on the guy with a bored look that was playing with the gecko climbed on his shoulder, now to a knot of kids that were playing around noisy a little further away, now on the gorgeous Damas that was waiting with a jug in the line next to his own …
The girl raised her eyes and for the umpteenth time she surprised him gazing at her. Dustin took away hastily his gaze: ‘Damn it! – he cursed between himself – Stop looking at her, jerk!‘
She smiled, but he didn’t notice that.
Scattered for the whole Damas capital there were various Water Posts like that, or Water Caves as they had been called by the inhabitants of that place, that is caves set up with dispensers that were distributing potable water for all the population. The Water Posts had been common in the cities of all the ethnic groups and Dustin, along his pilgrimages, had seen many of them. He was used to the imposing tanks that were showing up here and there in the cities of the humans to gather rainy water to be purified and distributed through taps linked to the tank itself. The salk Water Posts were the freshest places of the desert cities that had been built purposely under the level of the streets in order to be located perpetually in the shade and furnished with couches fattened up with soft and shining pillows, that they had been used like real meeting places. The Graunt, being nomads, were the only ones to have portable Water Posts, huge tanks that were assembled on wheels in order to gather rain, purify it and then tap it from basins of polished bone. The tamiara Posts, built on the lowest levels of the cities, those that were closer to the Underwoods fed by three or four big wells, one of which was provided with a canopy and wooden benches, that were getting the water from the forest’s streams and brought it upstairs through a system of buckets and pulleys. The only Water Posts he had never visited were those of the vampires and he had no intention to do it.
Amongst the various systems of potable water distribution, what mostly fascinated him was just the Damas one. Along the semicircular wall of the cave, popped up a line of small fountains that endlessly were dispensing water, with no help from taps or nothing else. The unused water was disappearing inside the grills that were positioned along the collection tanks. In a previous visit he had asked explanations at a Damas Engineer that was in line with him and he had shown to be very happy of being able to explain, in the smallest details, the mystery of the endless water. Dustin had understood more or less half of the technical terms used by the engineer, but at least had succeeded in creating an idea on the dynamics of that phenomenon. Through hydraulic pumps, the water was sucked by one of the many underground lakes of the Crack. Then it was going inside big metal tubes, reached a ‘furnace’ inside which its few impurities were filtered, then channeled in a system of cooling down spirals and from here pushed to the fountains. The one that won’t be used, will go down from the grills in an underground collection basin and from here sent to the lab or shop closer to be used for other production processes.
“My boy, you have no idea of how many things can be done with a little vapor!” had said the Engineer winking his eye.
Suddenly an idea came through Dustin’s mind, he swallowed and turned towards the gorgeous girl that continued to attract his gaze: “Excuse me, – he told her in an awkward damas language, but flaunting his most fascinating smile – while we are waiting … could you explain to me how these fountains of endless water do work?”
She raised her eyes on the Human and with a big smile answered: “Sure, I can.”
That wait could be a sweet one …
Below you can see other three examples of ‘critters’ populating the ‘Redemption – The Third Era’ world.
TAMIARA – Blue Squirrel
The Blue Squirrels have always been the natural inhabitants of the immense forests of Khun where the Tamiara people lives. People that loves nature had made a symbol and guide of these soft rodents, free and independent. The wingsuits of the tree people have been inspired by these small creatures and simulate the conjunction membrane that connects the front and hind legs so useful for flying. The appearance of the Blue Squirrel is very similar to the common flying squirrels, but they are slightly bigger. The nickname ‘blue’ derives from the dorsal streaking of the hair that assumes blue tones, passing from a lighter to a darker color as the animal grows older.
DAMAS – Caves Gecko
The caves and underground tunnels of the Damas cities are inhabited by a great number of these nice creatures. There are two different species of them, but the most common ones are those with six legs or two tails. The coloring of their skin reminds that of the stone of which the tunnels are made and allows these small reptiles to camouflage in case there had been some enemies nearby. For the Damas they are really considered true ‘friends’ to cuddle and take care of. They are carnivores and it is not unusual that in a burst of anger they could even bite their own master, that is why every Damas respects them and treats them with extreme care.
VAMPIRES – Frozen Wolf
The Vampires cities are all deployed along the semi darkness strip that announces the approach of the Frozen Lands. The Frozen Woods is a long strip of land covered by frozen trees that is infested by large white wolves, amongst other beasts, the Frozen Wolves. They got their name from their white hair that is often covered in frost and that gives them a spectral and ‘frozen’ appearance. Their eyes are reddish and they are able to catch any minimal sparkling of light, lighting up with illuminating effects. They cannot be considered ‘pet animals’, but the close proximity to the Vampires ensures these creatures to often circulate in the cities looking for food or other things and, if approached with the right prudence, they can also show to be docile and to be tamed. The cases of Vampires that have as travelling companion a Frozen Wolf are rare, while tales of people that have died from the aggression of such specimens are on the agenda.
Even the world of Redemption The Third Era is populated with various types of fauna, some of these brutal, others more docile that, over time, have learned to live with new people often becoming an integral part of them too. A fitting example in this framework is that of the Kepak, for the Graunt people, or of the Blue Squirrels for the Tamiara people, but there are also some examples of something that is more than integration between animals and people that show a sort of ‘mutual tolerance’ as in the case of the Frozen Wolves with the Vampires.
The fauna as population has suffered many a twisting due to the Catastrophe that happened many centuries before that had brought mutations, more or less noticeable, both from the physical and behavioral standpoint.
Hereafter you will find some examples with a small description of the Third Era creatures that inhabit the cities and the immense spaces of the New World and of their relationship with the ethnic groups that are closer to them.
GRAUNT – Kepak
The Kepak are considered by the Graunt as real members of the tribes inside which they provide assistance in every area. According to the race they belong to they are employed as beasts of burden or race animals, for work or in the battles. Their meat is eaten, their hair is used to cover and as clothing, the scales become part of weapons or decorations, the their tanned leather and the bones are processed in order to get useful tools or very sharp sandstone colored knives. Their body is covered with thick hair that is shorter along their legs and their ears look like those of any common donkey. On the top of their head they have a ‘triangle’ of fish bones and scales that have a protective function, the scales covering also the front part of their chest, the shoulders and the top part of their thighs and their color varies from white to black concurrently with the color of the fleece. In battle they are very fearsome because of their incredible strength, endurance and speed.
SALK – Desert Cat
The Desert Cat, so dear to the Salk population, is the most common mutation of the more common Serval, but it has a more compact and less slender physical structure. Its size is limited too. Even the size is less impressive in regards to their ancestor’s, but he is still larger compared to the domestic cat. His coat, of the same color of sandstone, presents some darker spots that can take the form of stripes along the tail and legs, while they donate to the rest of the hair a spotted pattern. The ears are very large and elongated and the legs are stocky but powerful compared to the body. Of the common cat it has maintained his independence and its inner elegance that pleases so much the Salk people, this motivates them to be surrounded by these felines and to share with them even their dwellings.
HUMANS – Dog
The Catastrophe, the years of stabilization and the tribulation of mankind have not changed the deep bond of friendship that has always linked man with dog and it has stayed unchanged also in the Third Era of the world. The races of dogs have become so varied that nobody has bothered to classify them anymore, and so they refer to all members of this specie simply calling each one by the name of ‘Dog’. Some of these races have been heavily affected by the disorder due to the Catastrophe suffering mutations that, in the worst cases, have undermined the behavioral aspects rendering them very aggressive and dangerous. In the cases when the mutations have acted only on the physical side, the friendship bond between man and dog hasn’t changed and they are the best friend any adventurer may hope to have alongside for a trip or for everyday’s life.
Same day, some hourglass marks later.
I am still going the rounds in these fucking caves. I come to think that I should consider myself to be lucky to be still alive. I think three or four hours have gone by since the last time I wrote something, I still cannot keep the time down here, but I am hungry and, having checked the situation, I would say that we are much beyond a late lunch. I still have two complete food rations with me and anyway I hope to taste my next meal while seated in a comfortable tavern down at Chasm City, I love Damas cuisine…
What I could use would be a good thermos full of fresh alcoholic karkadè, but I could use as well one full of water since mine is getting shorter.
The blade of my sword is no longer electrified since a long time ago and despite Kimbar had wasted lots of Energy trying to make it more powerful, I am happy because I didn’t have the chance to use it … what a humiliating thought for a young Soldier …
I still have found none of the others, I heard no call or cry from them, this should sound good news too because presumably they could have reached an exit or be still around, having found no body it seems a small victory. I haven’t encountered any more beasts, but I heard them moving in the tunnels around me. At every light scratch on the stone or at any light swish I change my direction and go further away from the noise. I shouldn’t say it, but… I am scared …
If I won’t get out of here soon as possible I will go mad…
Same day, some hourglass marks later.
I am starting to lose heart. I met a Xintar that I wasn’t able to identify. He was smaller than the other ones, but he didn’t look like he was a cub … he was some kind of a green scorpion as big as a large dog, I don’t know how I’d been able to kill it without being bitten by its stinger, but I still cannot stop trembling and despite everything I am getting sleepy …
I have just injected one of the serums that are in the bag that uncle Mins gave me as a present for having passed the Cadet exam, it seems that it would be helpful to take away sleep and tiredness, I hope it will work because I have no intention to fall asleep in such a place! These tunnels seem endless and they all look alike. I have a very bad feeling… After having realized that the legend that claims that if you are in a labyrinth and turn always to the left you will eventually find the exit is untrue, I started to leave signs of my passage around, so that I could orient myself and not go back on my steps, but this has turned out to be a very bad idea because of its terrific result …
At a certain point I thought I got lost, so I went back to the previous fork and all the signs I made had disappeared. I thought I had made a mistake, maybe I left no mark on that fork, I recognized one tunnel that was the last one I entered, so I went back the opposite way in order to reach the fork before the last one, but all my marks had disappeared there as well! I always knew that Xintars are extremely intelligent creatures, but is it possible that they did cancel the marks left by a ‘prey’ just to confound it?
‘Prey’ … I came down here convinced to succeed in becoming a young Hunter and now I feel like a prey …
I must start marching again.
Same day … or maybe not.
I have no idea what time it is. My thermos is empty.
My small notebook on which I am writing, is about to end and I have already sharpened my pencil many times. I feel like laughing …
I stopped to rest some minutes, but I shall move on. The serum seems to be working, otherwise I would have already collapsed somewhere. I feel their noise everywhere, getting closer and closer … big paws and claws that screech on the tunnels flooring, guttural calls that zigzag in the galleries. I keep hearing them since some time, just if they were following me. Once or twice I stopped behind a wall to check if someone was ‘deliberately’ following me, but I didn’t hear nor see anything, when I started the noises started again too ….very much closer. Why don’t they attack me and end all this?
I had to light up the last luminescent stick that Alìa gave us (it seems a century has gone since that moment), I just hope to be able to get out of here soon as possible, because I don’t want to stay in the darkness.
1135-10-31-NE (or at least that is what I think…)
I have been able to look at my chasers, or at least at some of them.
I stopped to graze some nibbling of a food ration and when I was about to start marching again I heard some noise coming from one tunnel behind me. I turned back and with the corner of my eye I saw one Rixeen. He was clearly a cub. ‘I can deal with it’ I said to myself. I crouched down the most I could, against the wall and waited. I saw something moving. I sharpened my sight convinced that I would have seen the cub come closer, but the creature that was moving at the edge of the light zone was not the same one. It was almost seventy inches tall, long arms and legs, a head full of horns and indented crests, his massive body covered by blue scales, that was another Rixeen, very very much bigger.
He made a strange guttural noise and something much more smaller moved at its feet, going behind the wall, as if to hide. He then launched a low call, hardly audible, and something else moved positioning itself at its shoulders. I ran away and ran until I was sure that my heart was about to explode. They didn’t follow me, not suddenly, but now they are close again.
Maybe the fear and thirst are driving me mad, but I am sure that it was a mother with its puppies and the most horrendous conviction is that it was training them!
I am their prize, I am the toy to train their puppies to hunt! That is why they still haven’t launched themselves forward, they are learning how to hunt their food.
I will never get out of here! I will never see the sun again, never the desert, nothing ever again, just darkness and the wet walls of this shitty place!
I am ashamed, but I thought to cut my own throat … an unworthy ending for a Cadet of the infamous Academy of the Suntears Fighter, but …
The only thought that is holding me down is that there is still hope and above all I don’t want someone to find my body here and think that I died without fighting and with my throat slit by my own weapon.
It is better that I start marching again, when I walk I am not thinking …
Same day, some hourglass marks later.
I am strained. The only thing that keeps me awaken is thirst.
One of the cubs has come forward. I pushed it back with a mown of my sword. I didn’t even brush it off, but he ran away in a tunnel. He looked straight at me in the eyes, showing so much intelligence to freeze my blood and in those blood shot eyes I saw something much more dangerous than intelligence, it was enjoying it…
I heard its mother’s grunts around us, I don’t know where they were coming from and I also heard the grunts coming from the other cub … are they closing on me?
I shall move, I cannot stay here too long in the same spot.
Same day, some hourglass marks later.
I don’t know how long this farce will go on, but the epilogue is not that far away. I am limping and am losing blood.
I was right, the mother was teaching its two cubs how to hunt as well as showing to close in on the prey in order to speed up the fight. Behind a ridge they came out at the back of my shoulders and attacked me. The one I barely saw up till now is slightly smaller than the other one … how consoling that is.
They tried to hold me, but I sprinted on my side and I don’t know which one of the two was able to hit my leg with its claws, opening there three deep scratches. I am still moving from one place to the other without looking for an exit, I am just running away.
Same day …
I found a small stream, I started hearing its noise and I followed it to quench my thirst. I have bandaged my leg with the bandages I had in my emergency kit and the haemorrhage seems to have stopped, but it still burns in such an unbearable way, I would really need that Trag, or another metabolist guy, would stop by here. I thought about following the stream’s course, it could take me towards some kind of exit, maybe the water course ends up in a small pond or just in the open. The fresh water has reinvigorated me a bit and I believe I can move somehow more speedily.
It is some minutes I do not hear anymore the noises of my hunters, maybe they got tired or maybe I have reached the more external tunnels where they never venture, it could mean that one of these tunnels leads to the exit. The bright stick is consumed, but I hope to be able to soon be arriv…
[From a small diary found inside a Xintar Cave close to the borders of the Damas lands. The few pages that follow are empty, creased, yellowed and stained by blood.]
We were advancing inside a long tunnel, Alìa stopped many times to study some traces on the ground and along the walls. She said that something was wrong. Ernam got close to her and they talked for a while. Kimbar reached them, I don’t know what they said to each other, but after some minutes our marching started again with the Damas in the first position. At a certain moment he waved us to stop, disappeared behind a horseshoe bend, we heard a terrible warning shout and after a second she came up again running, her face in flames and her eyes dilated: “Nest!!” she shouted coming towards ourselves. The silence after the bent was broken by terrible screams and ripping grunts. I saw Ernam drawing his big vitrified sword and placing his legs on the ground in a defensive position. Behind me I felt a wave of ‘tension’ that did brush against me and my hair stood up on my neck, the psychokinetic ones were getting ready. Alìa overstepped Ernam and placed herself in front of me. She took off her small axe with a serrated blade that she was wearing on her belt and the steam gun that was switched on with a hiss and a scorching puffball of vapour. Then, the doors of the Abyss opened in front of us…
Ernam rushed on the first monster that appeared in the tunnel, cut off one of his upper limbs with a powerful blow and right away another creature came from the same direction. A burst of green light arrived from behind my shoulders and hit the second beast piercing part of its shoulder and chest, inundating the cave with the stink of burning flesh and with terrible screams. Helena the corruptor had come into action. Some more Xintar came up, I haven’t even been able to understand which type they were from, I just know that they were frightening. Kimbar shouted something and soon after an iridescent energy shield appeared where there was the corridor’s bent. Some of the beasts were able to get through before the shield was completed, but the ones that followed them clashed on it and, while shaking and shivering, they moved away a bit, waiting while behind them some other beasts showed up. It seemed they knew that the shield would have given up sooner or later letting them go their way … how could that be possible? At the same moment I heard a choking scream from Kimbar, I turned back and saw the Tamiara flying against a wall that was bristling with uneven rocks and then collapsed to the ground almost fainting. From the shoulders of the Xintar that had hit him, it appeared the long dagger with an obsidian blade of the Vampire that slaughtered his throat flooding me and all the others, including the creatures that were around her, with greenish blood. Alìa shot, knocking down one of the Rixeens that had jumped on us. The sudden thud made by her weapon, made ourselves and the Xintars jolt. Trag slipped behind some specimen’s shoulders, I didn’t know what it was, and hold its shoulders with his bare hands, the beast shouted so high that almost broke our eardrums and rushed on him biting his arm, then collapsed to the ground with the mark of the metabolist Graunt hands engraved on its skin, which consisted of many small blisters dripping blood and a yellowish fluid. I took off my sword, shining and fresh from vitrification and … I stood still. I felt somebody’s hand that hold me from the hood of my cloak and was grabbing me from behind. “Stay behind Salk! – Helena shouted – You are obstructing my view!”
The Vampire had no longer anything beautiful on her face. Her features changed completely, the lower side of her face was pushing forward as a tiger or something of that kind and her teeth … her teeth were all upfront barbed and sharpened. Immediately I moved away from her, as if she was a far more dangerous beast than the ones that were attacking ourselves. I may be wrong but when she realized that, she seemed to be amused by my dismay. She raised her hands up and shouted as if she was making a great effort. From her fingers some basking yellow flashes busted bypassing Kimbar’s shield and hit three monsters dragging them to the ground. A plume of smoke came out from their chests.
From the corridor’s bent other creatures were coming up and the wounded ones around us were about to recuperate, ready to launch another assault.
“Go backwards! – Trag shouted – Go backwards!”
We started pulling back. A small specimen, maybe a cub, crawled swiftly along the rocky wall to hit us from the side, I saw it and without thinking I pierced with my sword the middle of its ribs. He tried to grip my hand with its claws and when I pulled back my blade, it collapsed to the ground, gnashing its teeth and staring at me with a hated look, however still alive. Ernam cut off its head with a cutting blow and pushed me to the bottom of the line. If Kimbar hadn’t grasp me on the fly, I would have fallen. I must admit that the Tamiaras have an excellent recovery when they are knocked down in a fight.
“We got to go away! – he shouted in order to be heard above the confusion – Alìa, get us out of here!”
The Damas reached me and Kimbar at the end of the line, while she kept on shooting to the creatures that were surrounding us: “How long that shield will last?” he asked the psychokinetic.
He looked at me, grinded his teeth and then answered the scout: “Too less.”
The girl shouted to the others to follow her, tightening up and trying to ward off the attacks of those creatures, we came back on our steps. We reached a hall from which various tunnels were branching off and from one of these a group of half a dozen creatures popped up, amid them one Skegar, one of the most dangerous type of Xintars. The purple scales that were on its body were something wonderful and the crest of horns of the same colour on its head and around its shoulders was almost brushing the ceiling. Something inside me broke, but also inside all the other ones, judging from their reactions.
“Oh no …” I heard Kimbar whisper. He stretched his hand and held the blade of my sword. A blue electrical charge traversed the weapon and some tangling went through my hand going up my arm. The sword was sizzling with energy. He moved away and started searching through his pockets in a convulse manner.
“Kimbar, they screwed us! – Ernam reached us almost breathless and turning his back to us pushed away one of the Rixeens with a hit from his big sword – They are coming from the tunnel that leads to the closer exit, Alìa must find another way out, get the kid out!”
“I can’t find my awrmis crystal anymore! – the Tamiara shouted answering him, while he kept on searching through his pockets – It must have fell down when they threw me against the wall!”
“You have a bag full of them, use them!”
“This is not the way it works Ernam, I need the big one to open up a portal and I cannot find it!”
Those two stared each other for some moment, completely dismayed. Trag landed on his back in the middle of us with an open wound on his chest. Instinctively I bent down to help him, but he ordered me to stay behind, while with his hand, freed from his huge spear, covered his wound, closed his eyes and his eyelids started trembling. A wither shade of pale came out from his fingers flooding the gash on his chest stopping immediately his blood loss. Ernam helped him to raise up when he gave him his hand.
“You got to do something more, Trag, – the berserk told him – it is not enough to stop the bleeding, you must close the wound!”
“Do you think this is the right moment, Salk?!” without saying anything else the Graunt got his spear while he deepened its shining awrmis tip in the belly of another Xintar that launched another attack.
From one of the various tunnels converging in the hall we heard the sound of powerful nails scratching the stone and the graceless grunts of other creatures approaching. Alìa’s face whitened reaching almost the diaphanous paleness of the vampire: “They are all coming here to protect the nest! – she shouted with her voice cracked by panic – We shall spread out and find another entrance!!”
At that moment another swarm of breasts burst into the hall. Ernam launched the most frightening scream I ever heard in my whole life.
For a moment all those creatures stopped as if they were frozen and for a second a complete silence fell. Then Ernam screamed again: “Ruuuuuuun!!”
We launched ourselves in every available direction as if gone crazy.
Some hours have gone by and I had no news of the other ones. I don’t know how long those creatures did run after me, I never thought I’d be able to run for so much. I have been compelled to stop in order to take my breath and relax my muscles, but now I have to recuperate and look for an exit, I have rested enough.
[To be continued…]