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Peaceful cessation

Vojira

No. no no no nononono.



The word spiraled utterly out of control in Beyond's head. Arehe was somewhere behind him, talking to his mother's lovemate,Zehrus...



Beyond stood utterly still, his now wide eyes going over the sight in front of him.



He knew what the cessation of a human tribe looked like. He had, in his youth been the ruin of several human tribes. A more devious shadow of his much more direct father, who would simply make the rock and earth do his bidding.



The Nidoyara tribe's home, a city of 30 houses carved out from a mountain side was empty and it's silence was only broken by Zehrus' voice as he spoke with Arehe and the hushing wind. Marakka sat up ahead with his back up against a ruined wall of a house. His purple eyes fixed on him with some amount of worry.



The beautiful stone houses looked old, unused, broken. Tainted by dust.



Beyond, with an expression of apprehension, began to move up the hill that connected the decaying city to the rest of the Shadowgrounds. Eyes reading words and actions in the empty houses, the wild growing plants, the barren streets, the tools, carts that stood undisturbed.



It all sang to him, and him alone. He heard it in is totality. The other could see the dust, the ruin...



Whispers of something so eerie as natural cessation filled his mind and pushed everything else away.



He didn't notice Marakka get up and follow his every steep.







Entering one of the house, told him the owner had left it peacefully. The tattered window coverings hung as they should, the little wooded chair, table...all stood as they should. He moved over to the table and picked up a little decorative figure carved out of tree and picked it up to get a better look. The colors, red and green had become faint, but it looked very much like Uli, looking as serious as ever. He noticed a another little figure, all blue hues, fuzzy hair, fangs and long spider-like fingers. He raised an eyebrow. His dear Selfshaper Sleeper. The wicked woman would be utterly bemused at the thought somebody had spent days carving a little figure of her.



Beyond placed the figure of Uli beside the figure, turned and walked out of the house.



From what Marakka could see, Beyond seemed to be doing the same thing again and again and again. Walk into one house, stay there for a short time, and come back out and then go to another house. Walk in and come out looking more and more miserable. He had been doing it for seemed like an hour.



He had gotten to the very back of the city, getting closer to the great end wall. Two gigantic pillars had been carved out of the wall and in the middle of them were an opening that, from what Marakka remembered, led to a gigantic room of pillars, statues and a long marble table.



Marakka recalled a man from the Jenhna tribe, eons ago had told him they called that sort of building a 'temple'. The old rockshaper leaned up against another wall, eyes locked on Beyond who went into the last house. As he did, Marakka's eyes slid over to look at the temple.



The Shadowground humans had an odd tendency to build temples and statues in honor of the 'Gods' that ruled the land they inhabited. The Jenhna did it out of genuine love and adoration, while the Nidoyara and the Denadraga did it out of respect or to show they had no ill will towards them.



The Denadraga, the oldest of the surviving human tribes, lived in the shadow of the Avalin Mountains, basically being neighbors to Arehe, who they honestly seem to outright adore, while they had a more level relationship with the rest of the Timeless.



Or the D'Tei, as all the human tribes actually called them.



Marakka shook his head, letting go of his thoughts and returned to look at the house Beyond had gone into.



He hadn't come out of it yet. Marakka pushed himself of the wall, and went for the door himself.







He pushed the door's tatted cover to the side and entered the last house. The place looked just as dry and dusty as the everything else in the city. Marakka found Beyond in the smaller part of the house, the area seemed to be the sleeping chambers.



The room was partially destroyed, half of the window-wall having collapsed outwards, revealing what looked like a wild growing garden filled with colorful flowers and other plants.



The trickster stood with his back to the rockshaper, leaning in over a low bed, holding its cover with one hand and staring down at its content, blinking rapidly.



With ever so slightly shaking shoulders, Beyond put the bed cover down again and backed away from the bed, right into Marakka.



He made no sound and no indication of surprise when his back collided with the rockshaper's chest. He simply stood there, eyes lock on the bed. Marakka put his hands on the trickster shaking shoulders.



'Beyond?' Marakka asked quietly, after a second. His hands still on the other elf's shoulder.



'...I've been in all the houses.' Beyond finally said, voice toneless and a far cry from how he usually sounded. 'I've looked in all their rooms. And this is the only body I've found.' He continued, his shoulder tensed, making Marakka tighten his grasp.



Marakka looked over the other elf's head to take a look at the bed. All he saw was a dried up, brittle and darkened remains of something that had once been a human. He couldn't tell if it had been male or female from where he was standing. The remains did look like the human had been quite aged when it had died.



A very small and soft sound, something that could best be described as a whimper, from Beyond brought his attention back to the shaking trickster. Without thinking about it, Marakka let go of Beyond's shoulder's and drew him in to an awkward hug.



'Unless there's any bodies in the temple, this one buried it's tribe mates. All of them....Spent the last years of its life doing so...' Beyond managed to say, voice shaking as much as he was. Marakka blinked at the information. Before he could comment on it, Beyond spun around in his grasp, hands coming up to paw at the rockshaper's shirt, leaned into him and managed to force the older elf into one of the corners the room still had.



Marakka stared down at Beyond with worry. The green eyed elf's face was twisted into an expression that seemed to be a mix of sheer fury and absolute devastation. Neither of the emotions seem to be able to win over the other.



'Y-you know what happened here, my dear friend?' Beyond stammered out, his voice completely breaking, becoming bright and high pitched. His hands still grabbing at the other's cloths as if would somehow help him get control of everything that was going wrong.



'These...these...these people died. And did so peacefully.' Beyond struggled, looking up at Marakka with eyes far too bright.' There was no war, no raids by other tribes that we don't know about. No sickness, no disaster where the crop failed. They just stopped at some point. Like the old Gliders! Stopped! Stopped breeding! Stopped having children and waited for the end times! One by one by one! Humans don't do that! They don't! T-t-they DON'T! They cling to life and they will leave it kicking and screaming and cursing your name to the skies for making them let go!' Beyond somehow pressed the black haired rockshaper further into the corner, bombarding him with words. Marakka couldn't even begin to think of what to say. He was stuck in a corner, listing , with his arms wrapped around the upset trickster.



*WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL ME?! WHY DIDN'T THEY CALL OUT TO ME!? WHY DIDN'T THEY SAY ANYTHING!?* Beyond screamed in a sending so forceful it nearly made Marakka throw his head back into the wall. He wasn't sure what to do. Very few people ever saw Beyond like this, raw, honestly upset. Beyond wanted to be seen as the eternal happy, wicked trickster. Anything softer was hidden. The only one who had likely ever seen him like without his mask of a trickster, was likely Uli and Sleeper. And now him.



He wasn't sure how long they stood there, him pushed into a corner by a breaking and shaking Beyond, who was still holding on to his cloths. At some point Beyond broke their staring contest to look back at the dried up corpse on the cot.



'...why didn't they ask for help? I would have helped them. I owe them that...' he whispered, suddenly burring his head in Marakka's chest. 'I would have helped...I would...' He said before his legs buckled, Marakka's arms being the only thing that kept him from falling to the ground.

Embala

WOW ...

... that's great, Vojira!