The man, the enemy, and the crystal

Well, it's certaintly been a long time, hasn't it? Many things have come up and I just haven't had the time nor brainpower to continue this story until now. I believe I started this story when I was fifteen. I'm now almost a month from my eighteenth birthday and I just finished High School yesterday. Now that it's summer, I'll see if I can't regain my composure with this story and finally conclude it.

By the way, the comic on deviantart is coming along swimmingly. I'll also have more time for that this summer as well. On with the story!

Like a leaf trying to flow up a waterfall, the Condor blasted headlong into the storm. So intense were the elements upon the Condor's bow that it formed a gargantuan wake of thundering wind as the airship and storm clashed time after time. Lightning flashed angrily left and right, turning the world black to white in an instant.

Stork's arms shook and the veins in his neck stood out like ropes as he strained to keep the ship steady. The entire bridge vibrated along the Condor's overheated engines and the shriek of the metal exterior stung Stork's ears until his hearing was numb.

I wonder how fast we're going, he thought, surprising himself by his own casualness. Wrenching the control the other way, Stork almost jumped out of his skin as a dead bird splattered, slid, and disappeared from the windshield in a quarter second. Apparently way too fast.

"Stork!" Piper yelled from somewhere behind him. Stork hoped she had a good hold on Radarr, and perhaps a good hold on a pillar too. "The Condor can't take this! We need to pull out of this storm!"

The fuzzy white moth on the window twitched.

"Just a little more, Piper!" The words flew from Stork's mouth. He blinked. Did he just deny safety?

"What in the world are you looking for in here?" Piper's scream hoarsely rose above the deafening noise.

World peace? Mind worm repellent? Waldo? Stork's head pounded with a rising headache and stress. His elbows were trembling uncontrollably and his knuckles were turning blue. "Invisible magical terra of eyeballs…" Stork almost hummed, scanning the black turmoil broiling against the windshield. "Pop up anytime now…"

Stork. The moth's bent wind fluttered. I leave the fate of Atmos in your teams' capable hands.

The fate of Atmos? Stork couldn't even properly care for a goldfish! He was about to respond when the moth suddenly vanished. Vanished!

"Whoa!" Stork lost control of the ship and fought to regain dominance. "Hey hey hey! Not cool! Don't just leave!"

The moth did not come back. Stork, hanging onto the control with both hands and a leg, could only gape in disbelief as the Condor continued its wild plunge into lightning infested darkness. The lady moth just dumped him!

And then, like smoke blown away, the storm dissipated before Stork's very eyes. The clouds parted before the Condor and a blinding white light filled the bridge.

Fabulous. A white light… Stork thought, swinging to and fro upon the control. Haha… I'm dead!

The thunder faded and the roar of the engines began a solo as the Condor, propelled by little more than momentum, arced out into the whiteness.

Stork gripped the Condor's control tightly, but didn't dare give the airship an order. Were they descending or ascending? Where and how did they exit the storm? At what altitude were they? The panel instruments were spinning so uncontrollably that it was impossible to get a reading. They were rushing blindly thought the unknown!

The whiteness ahead dimmed somewhat into a crystal-like appearance and brilliant sparkled in Stork's vision. Wait… that was solid! Stork wrenched the Condor's control to port in an attempt to avoid collision, but the insane speed that drove the airship onward hurtled them down like a rock. Stork pulled the control up, lifting the Condor's nose high and presented the airship's flat underside in a last ditch effort to cushion the blow.

Whum! The Condor indeed hit the landform quite safely, but instead of grinding to a halt as Stork expected, the Condor slid.

Lights flickered and the alarm began to howl, bathing the bridge in red as Stork frantically tried to halt the Condor. He activated the airship's wings to create drag, and when that failed to stop the sliding airship, the merb proceeded to set off the landing gear to dig into the ground and anchor them in place. But instead of digging into the earth, the Condor simply rose up as the landing gear folded out and continued gliding like an awkward ice skater, turning in slow circles on the way.

No rocks? No ponds, trees, ditches, bushes or hills? Nothing for the wheels to catch on? Stork held onto the Condor's wheel helplessly as the airship rotated and glided, rotated and glided, rotated and glided until, ever so slowly, the Condor slid to an easing halt.

By the time the Condor finally stopped and rocked back on her wheels, Stork was dizzy. He waited until the world stopped spinning and then, finger by finger, freed the control of his death grip. His muscles were throbbing. Rubbing his hands together to prevent Fingernail Laminitis, Stork staggered around to survey the bridge. "Piper? Are you okay?"

Piper, lying facedown near the table, didn't respond. In a rush of adrenaline, Stork shot to her side and shook her arm. "Piper! Can you hear me, Piper?"

And then Stork saw what had hit her. Adorned in its expensive and unreasonably fancy frame, the large picture of Finn that Finn himself had hung up lay broken where it had landed after striking Piper's head.

Stork lifted his unconscious teammate onto the table and folded a dirty uniform Aerrow had left on the seat into a pillow. Discouraged and tired, Stork pushed the makeshift pillow under Piper's head. Now what was he to do?


Feeling a tug on his pant leg, Stork looked down to see a disheveled Radarr looked up at him pathetically. The merb turned to him. "What should I do? Moth fairylady dumped us, I don't know where we are, and Piper's not here to telll me to calm down and not panic and – "Breathing hard, Stork felt his face. " – And I think I have a case of Skull Distortion."

Radarr hopped up onto the table alongside Piper and Stork, feeling his pulse, walked over to the windshield. The windows were misted and, even when Stork whipped a hand across the glass, refused to allow the merb a glimpse of the outside. Stork swallowed hard. He would have to go and see for himself.

"Radarr," Stork said, walking nervously across the bridge. "You stay here with Piper while I…" He stopped at the doorway leading to his quarters. "I… go gather some things."

Radarr squatted solemnly beside Piper. "Rawr."

Rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle.

The pans and plates strapped to Stork's body made a racket as he shook uncontrollably. He adjusted the blow-up ducky about his waist and placed a hand upon the lever that separated him and the unknown dangers of the outside world. Instead of lowering the ramp and exiting the Condor the usual way, Stork decided that the quickest (and most unexpected, just in case something was waiting for him) way to survey their crash site would be to zip in and out of one of the two cannon doors. That way, if he was faced with a raging rabid monster with terrible bone crushing teeth, he could slip back in and fold the door back up in a heartbeat. Stork's hand trembled upon the lever. Hopefully the door would stick.

When he finally cranked the lever, after reattaching kitchenware upon his body several times for reassurance, the door lowered outward from the wall and the cannon popped up. White light poured in like a thousand spotlights and Stork, who had planned to leap out and then back in with no time to spare, could only stand transfixed by the sheer brightness with his hands shielding his eyes.

Slowly, and ever so painfully, Stork's eyes adjusted to the blinding light. Keeping an arm over his face to ease the brightness, Stork crept forward until he clasped the doorway. He cautiously lowered his protective arm and, squinting, looked out into the whiteness.

The storm outside threw its lightning and drummed out its thunder like there was no tomorrow. In a small cave of a battered rock outcrop, two cold, hungry and equally battered humans and one wallop stayed sheltered in its protection, warmed only by a dying fire and a tale upon an ancient parchment.

My name is Atticus Rivers. I am the environmental specialist under the command of Leonardo Bellous, Captain of the Rex Bears. We were deployed several months ago along with five other squadrons by the distinguished Terra Rex Council, charged with the mission to discover new territory, establish colonies, and raise crops to ease the famine plaguing Atmos during these hard times. We came upon a large, fine terra soon after departing, rich with black soil, broad trees, and a series of tall mountains in its centre. Leonardo was so pleased with our find that he bestowed the new land with his own name ; Terra Odranoel.

After staking our Flag upon the tallest mountain peak, we returned to Terra Rex to report our success, only to find that our home was under attack by the same savages who caused the Great Famine, ravaged Atmos, slaughtered entire terras, and destroyed Terra Arexia ; The Cyclonians.

Their leader, Cyclone, has risen to power with the aid of an accursed Wrath Crystal, a red crystal of pure evil thought to have been a legend. Crystals and their powers are new to us and we have only been using their fuel for our flying carriages for several decades. To use such a new and terrible crystal as a weapon was completely unheard of. Cyclone is a dark and cruel man with countless soldiers called Talons at his command. His Wrath Crystal summoned a crimson storm over Terra Rex and he was wiping out our forces with swipes of power. We managed to slip through the battle to find the Rex Council. They were all dead or gone.

With no leadership or moral, our forces were being whipped out. I ran outside to see if I could be of assistance. Two of the Rex Bears, my dear comrades, were dead by our vehicles. I had no weapon and the talons were flying all over like a swarm of flies. I ran to the Council Hall again to find Leonardo and I spotted him behind the Judges' table. He opened a hidden door and withdrew a large, purple crystal that was unfamiliar to me. When I requested as to what kind of crystal it was, Leonardo replied that it was a new specimen that he himself had discovered years before. A Morphing Crystal.

I followed him outside just in time to see Cyclone swoop down upon his vehicle. He was a terrible sight. The Wrath Crystal in his hand bathed his entire body in red and his face was not human. Cyclone pointed his accursed weapon at us and Leonardo pulled me away onto an abandoned vehicle. He told me to fly as he sat behind me with the Morphing Crystal. I obeyed and we soared into the skies. Cyclone followed us. It was as we were pulling away from the battle that a stray shot hit me in the back. I kept flying.

Gradually, as the noise of war faded behind us, my sight became blurry and I could feel my body shutting down. I did not know if Leonardo was aware of my situation with his attention turned upon the enemy following us. I headed for the terra in the distance and managed to use the wind from the Wrath Crystal's storm to our advantage, crash-landing on the terra's rolling hills ahead of Cyclone. When I looked up, I saw our flag. It was Terra Odranoel.

Cyclone was upon us in an instant, a hellish sight that I h ad only witnessed in my nightmares. Leonardo dismounted the vehicle and told me to go. I didn't want to leave him behind, but Leonardo turned his back to me and raised his Morphing Crystal. A striking violet light blinded me and I somehow got the vehicle into the air, hating myself for leaving Leonardo behind. When the light faded and I was at a decent altitude, I looked back. Terra Odranoel was gone, along with Cyclone, the two crystals, and Leonardo. Completely gone.

I wept for the loss of my brave commander, but I now have no tears. I found this rock outcrop and retreated far into the back of this cave after disposing my vehicle over the side. Alas, my wound has me slowly dying and I fear that it will take my life before I finish. You who have found this must be a clever and sophisticated fellow, and I can only hope that you will use this information for the good of Atmos.

This is the tale that I have and this is all I know. The coordinates of the terra's original location is below. May the wind blow under your wings and the stars guide your flight. I regret that I cannot tell you more.


Atticus Rivers

The storm raged on like a hungry beast and frost dressed the stone like a white sheet. The awake individual of the three sat back with a long exhale and glanced at the sleeping others.

His words echoed dully in the freezing cave. "Ah… what a sad tale."

That's it for now. I'll see if I can't reread the last dozen or so chapters and update myself a little better on what's going on.