The tale of the strange Amber Cube

(Written for Ryzom Halloween event 2009)

The tale of the Strange Amber Cube.

It was quite the ordinary day for the five friends to be on a trek throughout
the lands of Bounty Beaches. They’ve had many runs through this area, specially
some years ago when they were younger and curiosity was at its peak. Since those
days they had passed the areas quite a lot, but still the adventurer in them had
not had enough; they still felt that there were places they had yet to see. So
they kept exploring the areas close to their home.

They were intialy six in total; B’oden, Faenor, Kird, Nik, So’rn and Caelos, but
this day they were reduced by one as B’oden managed to harm his foot during
battle practice two days ago. And since this had slowed him down until it would
heal properly he had chosen to stay at home studying instead of joining them on
their trek. Of course with due friendly remarks from the others.

So the five of them were running around in Bounty Beaches, hoping to find a new
place to explore, a crevice they had not seen before, a hidden cave or just
about anything new that would deviate from the usual.
They had been running around for a few hours, still with the mood at top, until
they decided to sit down and rest as even if this was a land of water, the sun
shined strong enough to dry out the best. So it was in order to have a little
stop and replenish with water and perhaps something little to eat.

As they had already passed TwinTops quite a while ago it would take them too
long to travel back there. So they decided to find somewhere as safe as possible
to sit down for a while, preferably somewhere near the mountain as it would
provide shadow.
They were closing in on Liberty Gateway Border Post, but they have had some
smaller run ins with the local tribe there so they decided to search along the
mountainside towards Cute Springs for a place to rest.

Strangely enough it did not take them long enough to find a spot that seemed
rather desolate, it was as if there was an area that was in a bit cleaned out;
there were no animals there, no flowers on the ground nor did the trees that
grew there looked to be much alive. Still, it did suit their needs so they sat
down in what seemed to close to the center of that small area, leaning towards
the mountain enjoying the chill of the shadow.

“I got some water here if you want a sip” Nik said as he held up a medium sized
flask. The others happily accepted and it was shared between them. When the turn
came, lastly, to Caeolos he was not sitting next to them anymore.

“Hey, Caelos, you want some water?” Nik shouted to him as he seemed to be
focusing on something else. “What are you looking at, did you find something?”

Suddenly all of them were gathered in a ring around Caelos as they looked down
on the ground. There was something sticking up from the ground, it was something
shiny, yet familiar.

“Is that an Amber Cube?” Faenor asked as they looked at the strange item.

“Might be, lets dig it up and find out!” So’rn said in a quick reply and started
to push away the sand around it. And so the others joined in and soon enough the
sand surrounding the object was removed. It shined just a little, barely enough
to be caught by the eye.
Caelos noticed this and lifted up the cube from the ground. He saw that it held
some sort of shimmer inside, yet he could not make any sense of it so he moved
it so that he could light it up with the help of the sun. The moment the cube
entered the rays from the sun a shock was sent through Caelos body and the
others, so powerful that he dropped the cube and everyone fell over.

The others was surprised by what had just happened, but they soon noticed that
everyone was unharmed and they laughed about it instead. They found the Amber
Cube quite interesting so they decided to pack it in a bag and move on as it was
soon mid day and they wanted to get back in time for the evenings festivities.

Two hours later they were all back in Fairhaven meeting up with B’oden and was
headed towards their apartments when they were halted by a guard.

“Have you lot been up to something again? You all look awfully cheerful today!”
He said.

“No, not really. I mean not more then usual that is!” Kird shouted as they ran
past the guard laughing. The guard could not help but to laugh also.
It was a night to be remembered, it was a celebration of the times to come

There were many fireworks covering the night sky, many Homins had left their
homes and beds in order to share the fun this evening, and the team of six
adventurers were not any different. Well, at least five of them were as Caelos
was late to the party, and when he finally showed up the had brought the Amber

“Couldn’t you just leave that at home?” Nik said as he saw Caelos.

“No, wait, look. I want to show you all something.” He replied and dragged them
all a bit away from the stables in Farihaven. “Here, see.” He said as he picked
up the Amber Cube from the bag and held it towards the moonlight.

The Amber Cube did still shimmer just a tad, but as it was held in the moonlight
it was as if it was a catalyst to its shimmering. It started to show off a vast
amount of colors, always changing pattern and shiftning between soothing colors
to more bright, just to go back into its slow shimmer again.
Everyone was amazed by this, it seems as this Amber Cube was not an ordinary one
at all.

“It seems to do that at random times, but always when its held up against
moonlight. The markings on these sides here I have not been able to interpret
though.” Caelos said as he put the cube back into the bag again. “I’m not sure
what to make of it, but I wanted to show it to you guys.”

Everyone agreed that this was an adventure they had been waiting for, they had
found their riddle to solve! And this should be celebrated and so they hurried
to the bar and ordered a small keg of Stinga Rum to be shared among them. And
later on, when the keg was not far from half full Caelos said that he would go
back to his apartment and put the cube back so it would not be lost. The others
kept on drinking and celebrating with all the others until early morning when it
was time to get some rest.

Later on the following day B’oden and Nik went to see where Caelos was has he
had not returned to the party. They suspected that he was tired, or perhaps too
tipsy to stay upright, and therefore went to bed. They stopped outside his
apartment and knocked on the door. The one opening the door was not the one they
were expecting, it was an elder Homin that stood there staring back at them.

“Excuse me, is Caelos here?” Nik said quite surprised.

“Caelos, there is no Caelos here I’m afraid. I am Roedr if that is any help to
you.” The old man replied. Both B’oden and Nik looked at each other and then at
the outside of the door. The number was correct, this was Caelos apartment.

“Are you sure he is not here?” They asked.

“I am pretty sure, since I have lived here the past 20 years or so”

“20 years?!” They both said surprised and the old man nodded. “But, our friend
Caeolos has been living here for the last three years, we should know as we
visited him here, in this apartment, quite often.”

“Sorry lads, can’t help you. As I said, I’ve been owning and living in this
apartment for the last two decades. I can show you the proper papers if you

Overwhelmed by the surprise they told the old man that there was no need and
they excused themselves. They did not know what it was that just had happened,
but they sure knew that there was something strange afoot. As they exited the
building complex Nik almost fell over stumbeling on something that was lying
close to the door. It was the sack Caelos had brought the Amber Cube in. And
when they looked inside it was still there! It was still shimmering, although it
seemed to be a bit stronger. But they did not care, something was wrong with
Caelos and they needed to find the other three to solve this!

They were in luck as Kird, Faenor and So’rn met up with them at the walkway in
Lorias Rise and they gathered at Frogmore where Nik and B’oden explained to them
what had just happened. They were flabbergasted after hearing that there was
another one living in Caelos apartment. Still he seemed to have vanished.

As they stood there the guard that had spoken to them last night came walking by
so they stopped him for a moment.

“You lot seems as if someone has scared the living out of you, is something
wrong?” The guard asked them.

“Yes, we think so. Say, you spoke to us yesterday right? How many were we then?”
Nik asked the guard.

“What kind of question is that? You were five of course. Just like you are now!”

“Five?! Six, we have always been six!” Nik almost shouted back at the guard.

“Son, I think you might have had a tad much yesterday. Go home and get some rest
and a proper meal. Besides I need to go, duty calls.” The guard said as he
walked on.

They were quite taken by this, they knew they were six of them, they knew Caelos
was part of their team. He always had been. Still the guard had seemed so sure
about the number five, as if Caelos never existed. What had they gotten
themselves into? They tried to desperately come up with some sort of explanation
to what might have happened that they lost track of time.

“Oh, crap. I need to go Nik said suddenly. “I forgot that I had a delivery to
make this day. And it needs to be there before tomorrow.”

“Where are you going?” B’oden asked.

“To Umbra”

“Ok, well I don’t want anyone to be alone right now, just in case. So’rn can you
go with Nik please?”

“Yeah, sure. I don’t really like the notion of being alone now either.” So’rn
replied and got up.

“And this, can you bring this too? And throw it off somewhere in Bounty. I don’t
want to see it anymore.” B’oden said as he handed Nik the bag with the cube. The
others nodded in agreement that it would be for the best to have it as far away
from them as possible.

One hour later Nik and So’rn stood ready at the stables as the sky opened up and
it started to pour down. They were stranded in the stables until the rain would
stop so they made themselves as comfortable as possibly while waiting. It didn’t
take too long until the sound of the rain made them doze off. As Nik suddenly
woke up from the quick nap he thought he saw Caelos sitting in a stablebox not
far away. Perhaps he had fallen asleep in the stables yesterday!

“Caeolos, is that you?” Nik said

“Come” was the only reply he heard as he came closer to the man sitting in the
box in front of him. As he turned his head Nik could see that it was indeed
Caelos, but the sight was not lasting long as he was suddenly knocked down on
the floor buy a Goari! A quick struggle ensued as Nik grabbed his knife and
fended off the claws of the Goari. He had fought so many of them that he knew
how to finish them off quickly. And quickly it went as he thrusted his knife
into the chest of the Goari, just to see it change shape from a yellow
claw-bearing beast into So’rn. Then it went all dark.

Two hours later the rain stopped and B’oden and Kird arrived at the stables to
see if Nik and So’rn had left or not. But they were only met with even more
surprise; there had never been any Homins by those names there. In fact the
stable boy had never heard of them before. B’oden and Kird was already so worn
that they did not even take up the discussion about Nik and So’rns mounts had
been there for the last two years at least. They were worn out by now, all out
of energy. Kird leaned towards the wall of the stables as he saw something lying
around the other corner of the house. He told B’oden that he would do a quick
check on it, just in case. B’oden nodded tirely and closed his eyes for a
moment, as if he was trying to get away from this nightmare. But it would not
end here.

Suddenly he heard Kird screaming loudly and he rushed around the corner just to
find nothing there. As he looked around he notices that there was a bag lying at
the wall, it was Kird’s bag! He quickly looked inside it, only to find it
containing the Amber Cube. It was now shimmering with quite some strenght, it
almost blinded him at first. B’oden had now had enough, well more then enough,
so he grabbed the bag and run up the hill next to Fairhaven, where he stopped at
the top of the cliffs that led out towards the water. He lifted the cube from
the bag and looked at it closely, it was as if he could see some contours in
there between the shimmering. Some of them reminded him of his friends, this
made him very upset.

“You took my friends you devious creation. But are not going to take me!” He
said as he threw the cube as far as he could into the water. With a splash it
slowly sank into the depthts of the waters. B’oden stood there looking at the
cube slowly traversing into the deep hoping that this was just a bad dream he
would soon wake up from. He headed back down into the bar hoping to be able to
have something to ease his pain, to make him tired and sleepy.

He sat down at a table and waved at the barman to come take his order. The
barman did not react, he was busy serving a customer so B’oden waited a little
while until he was available and then waved at him again, still no response. He
then shouted at the barman whom now reacted and walked towards him. But he did
not stay at B’oden but instead he walked to a customer that was two tables down
and took his order. This did irritate B’oden that now when the barman came back
he grabbed him by his arm to get his attention.

But B’odens hand just passed right through the barman’s arm…