The Forgotten Memory Saga
The Hidden Library
The wastelander pushed herself to move faster, determined to get away. Her boots kicked up dust as she went, her scarf billowing out behind her. Other wastelanders traversing the streets jumped out of her path to allow her to pass.
Behind her, two dog like creatures loped after her, growling in their continued failure to capture the fleeing girl. Their long bodies were covered in fur; one black, and the other silver. They lacked the metal limbs and helmets that gave many of their kind their derogative term. These were Hora Quan. The skull gems in their chest glowed brilliantly, brighter than average sickly yellow, but still unmistakable in nature.
Desert Clan Hora Quan, un-poisoned by the effects of dark eco. By now, the people of Spargus had grown used to seeing this duo loping through the streets, for it was a common occurrence. The Desert Clan was allies with Spargus, thanks to the current queen, and the close relationship with the princess.
The fourteen year old girl was hardly a princess by Haven standard. She was rough, and worked just as hard as the common man at keeping her city safe. She was not protected by walls or men, but by her own skill and power; and she would not stand for the protection either way.
She still remembered the fuzzy years of young childhood, before Praxis over-threw her family, when she had been pampered in such a way. Her mother insisted she not have that treatment, and when she no longer had it after the fall of Mar in Haven, she was glad.
She could hear the heavy panting of the metal heads behind her, and she was forced to recognize her own exhaustion. She considered turning to face them, so she could stop running, but her quick mind had already formulated a plan. She forced herself further, faster.
She brought her right arm closer to her, so she could see the flat side of the armor brace on her arm, where a circular device was melded into the metal. She pushed the large button on it once, before she returned her attention to the street in front of her as it got rockier.
She leapt up an incline in the rock, scrambling up to the flatter surface. She knew better than to take the hard route, as the two metal heads were larger and could easier get over the obstacles. But it slowed them down to have to go through a narrow passage. The girl was forced to slide sideways to get through the passage. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the two try to ram into the opening at the same time, then bicker in their own language on who should be allowed to go first.
By the time the silver female had finally broken through the opening, her flanks brushing the walls, Zara had dropped from the opening and was a good couple of yards away. The distraction would not give her time, but distance. She knew she would need it as she veered off again to go through another crack between buildings.
Soon she had given herself enough room to be a little more comfortable, but still didn't dare stop running. She ran up a hill, watching the doors to the car port opening. She felt her endurance coming to its end and knew she had to rest soon, or lose the game.
The car port had two twin towers that rose up from the walls, and crowned at the top, creating effective look out posts. The spiral staircase that lead up to the tops broke off on the right one, to include a ledge of sorts. She climbed up the stairs, skipping three at a time, her legs aching as she reached the top.
She stumbled to the machine that sat alone on the ledge, a soft purring noise coming up from the hull, the only clue as to what the bird shaped machine was on. It was off white, the color of desert clouds, not much bigger than a man, but powerful enough to lift a small one easily. A hole, oval shaped and a little less than a foot across exposed the soft blue glow of the idle thruster.
Zara didn't dare stop her stride as she hopped up and pushed down a lever just left of the leather strap meant to steer the thing in the air.
With a goat of bright blue flames, the thing took off into the air, leaving the two metal heads gawking on the platform.
A laugh bubbled up from the girl's throat as she circled them. She waved, then pulled on her goggles and pulled up the scarf to cover her eyes. She directed the glider up, knowing the two would follow her.
And follow they did, the wings on their back's easily lifting them into the air and up into the atmosphere. The pilot laughed as they caught up to her, flapping the massive appendages desperately. The dark male made a warning noise to his sister as he fell back and the girl pulled the glider up to slow down.
The two metal heads gratefully slowed their pace to match hers and rose up on an updraft. Zara followed them up as the female, Kitala, directed the trio to the volcano in the center of the desert.
It did not take them long to reach the mountain, which the siblings used the hot air in the volcano to keep aloft as the pilot waved to her friends and took off again into the desert sky. She left them, and rose up into the high, near waterless clouds, out of sight of any threats on the ground.
The girl circled the sky, enjoying the peace of the upper atmospheres. Down below her was her city, and all the problems that went along with it. Although the marauders had been quiet as of late, it did not mean they had left. They were most likely regrouping their numbers for more petty assaults on the Spargan fleet. That was their biggest concern, competition in an already sparse desert.
It all made the girl glad she didn't have to rule yet, and had many years yet to be a simple child. Besides the marauders, there was also the metal cities of Haven, Kras and Hitt. Although Kras wasn't much of a nuisance, being too far north to care for the dealings of a desert city and her corrupted sister. Hitt city never cared for the desert, thankfully, but had a rabid hate for Haven that was only quelled by their mutual hate for metal heads. Hitt city was farther south, on the small island just south of Haven. If Haven city dies, Hitt would be the next metal head hotspot, and they all knew it.
Haven City was Spargus' closest neighbor, and many of the citizens of Spargus where refugees and castouts. It made them paranoid as to the dealing of Mar's old city.
Zara knew from the countless flybys by their gliders, and the intelligence gathered by their spies that Haven was running out of eco, and fast. Damas feared that they would start looking to the wasteland for supplies, bringing their troops much too close for comfort.
The sound of her communicator buzzing in her ear brought her to the present. Ground and sky communication was not possible between glider and car, thanks to the riotous winds and lack of communication towers. So the only ones who could directly connect to her communicator in the air was either a high powered radio connection, similar to the ones that Haven and the monk temple had, or the central tower in the city. She put a finger to the button on the side of her head, activating the communication.
"Respond," came a fuzzy voice.
"Lordess Mar, responding," the girl answered firmly.
The connection garbled before becoming clear as the signal was latched onto from the central tower. The voice from inside suddenly became much clearer, making it obviously Sig who hailed her. "Cherry Pit, you there?" He asked again.
"I need you to come back to the palace, pronto. I need ta talk to ya."
"Yes, captain." She made a mock salute, knowing he wouldn't see but he would know she did it. The connection was cut quickly, as it was dangerous to distract a pilot for too long. She pulled up into the clouds further, turning her glider around swiftly toward Spargus.
The creaky gears ground to a stop at the top of the shaft, and the princess hopped out. Dusty and dark brown from both sand and sun, Sig could tell she had just come in from the desert.
He smiled at her, not being able to help himself. "Find anythin', Cherry Pit?"
She shook her head. "Just an escort mission, no time for any hunting." She smiled nonetheless, her blue eyes bright. "What'd you want to talk about?" She asked cheerfully.
Just then, a loud bark came from the curtained hallway behind the King's thrown, followed by the soft sound of bare feet. ChumChum came bounding out from behind the chair, followed closely by Mar, and proceeded to run across the throne room, under Sig's legs, and jumping up as he reached Zara. The girl caught him with practiced ease and the crocadog made himself at home in her arms. The little boy that had chased after him, watched him as he took refuge with his older sibling, and began to pout.
Zara laughed and set ChumChum back on the sandstone. The boy's blue eyes lit up and he resumed his chase of the chubby little dog. Zara watched them as they twined around and around the throne room, the dog yipping every time Mar seem to be just about to catch him, and Mar shouting out nonsensical noises when the dog moved just out of his reach.
Mar had never talked in his two years, but Salina, the queen of Spargus insisted that he would when he was ready. Just give him time, for he is in no hurry.
The two older wastelanders watched the antics of the child and his dog for a long time, before Sig cleared his throat a little awkwardly, bringing back attention to himself. The girl looked at him, a gentle smile on her lips and silently asked him to continue.
"Zara," he began, and the girl's stomach dropped. She knew that tone, and he said her name, not her pet name.
"What's going on?" She silently cursed her own voice for cracking, and how defensive she sounded.
"Zara," he said again, this time sounding he was trying to calm a frightened animal. The heiress hated it. "Your father and I have been talking." He began slowly. The girl, for some reason beyond her, did not like where this was going. "And we've decided that I need to get back to my other duties."
"Other duties?" She repeated, accusingly. "What other duties."
"The duties to my king, your father."
"I know who my father is," she snapped. "Get to the point."
Sig sighed, he knew she was quick to anger, just like her father. "Haven is getting to frisky for our liking." He sighed heavily, looking out the giant window into the city. "He needs someone with knowledge of the black market to go in and see what the underside looks like."
"What does this have to do with anything?" She demanded. She knew exactly, but she refused to believe it until he said it himself.
He looked back over at her thoughtfully. "He's asked me to go. I know a few connections from my time in Haven, and might be able to get some more valuable information on these Underground people."
"Who cares for that stupid city? They owe-"
"It's not about owing anybody anything," Sig retorted. "It's about the safety of you and your people, Zara." The gentle tone he'd been using had all but vanished. If she was going to be hostile, so was he.
"Then send someone else, we'll be safer with you here in Spargus, doing what you've always done, guarding Mar and me." She took a different approach, latching onto his forearm and attempted to look weak and pathetic. To anyone else, it would have worked, but Sig knew her too well.
He shook her off physically, despite the reproachful glare it earned him. "I'm sorry, Cherry Pit, but I have to do what I have to do. No questions asked."
"I have the right to ask questions!" She yelled, not noticing Mar had stopped his game and was watching her. "I have even the right to answer them."
"This doesn't involve you."
She baulked. "It does if you're leaving!"
"Zara," he said quietly in return, trying to calm her down. "You have always had amazing strength in the face of danger. I need this to be no different. I need you to be strong." He looked at her, his artificial eye lens focusing in and out on her face. "For Mar, and for me."
This stopped the girl before she could retort and she simply looked back at him. She opened her mouth to say something but it seemed she had forgotten what she wanted to say. Rather abruptly, she tore herself away from him. Without a word she left the throne room, her boot falls fading down the hall.
Sig sighed heavily, as if under a huge burden, closing his good eye. He felt a light tugging on his the rim of his boots and looked down to find Mar staring up at him. The large wastelander couldn't resist the questioning eyes and he bent down to pick the small body.
"Don't worry," He said in reply to whatever unspoken question that the heir had posed. "I won't be gone forever."
What was so important about that stupid city anyway? The girl picked up a pillow off her bed and threw it across the room. It hit the wall with a dull whump before falling down to collapse a stack of books with a flutter of pages and cloth. The second pillow was aimed at the window and soared out with little problem. Whether it landed at the base some hundred feet down, or was lost forever in the merciless waves, she honestly didn't care. She would just ask for another one.
That's how it had always been. Even though she made herself strive just like everyone else, the fact never left her that she could get anything she could ever want by just simply asking for it. But for some reason, she knew that it wouldn't be that simple.
But that was fine with her. Sig could go and get himself killed for all she cared. The third pillow landed just below the window sill.
She collapsed on the officially pillow-less bed, becoming silent, but refusing to cry. She wouldn't cave into this, she wasn't this weak, this childish.
She closed her eyes, trying to blank her tumultuous mind. The waves far below the tower, the ones that were probably tearing her pillow apart, crashed up against the side of the city, the retreated. An arid desert breeze blew in from the window, ticking the wind chimes that lined the ceiling. Their music was chaotic but beautiful, the mixture of wood, glass, and metals creating a cacophony of noise.
She suddenly sat up, an idea striking her. What was so important with that damned city?
So I finally get to start posting this story. It's been about two years since I started writing this, and I'm glad I finally get to share it with everyone. I hope you enjoy. I'll be posting every Saturday, or at least trying to. Follow my twitter for updates and stuff. There's a link in my profile.