• Published 19th Oct 2012
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Eljunbyro - Imploding Colon



Bellesmith must perform experimental tasks in order to keep herself and her beloved safe.

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Proto Lore

Great Stare blew off the dust from a large, canvas bound book. When he opened it, a stale, musky smell filled the dark-lit interior of the town archives. The four Ledomaritans hovered around a table beneath a tall window.

"I've made sure this didn't get sent back to the central library on four consecutive occasions," Great Stare said. The buffalo smiled and looked towards the other three. "I think it's important that we keep a piece of history around us at all times, regardless of how obscure."

"Nothing obscure about it," Pilate said as he trotted up evenly with the tome. "It's more an issue of heresy."

"What do you mean by that?" Little Breath asked.

"The book predates the Age of Sparklight," the zebra explained as O.A.S.I.S. hovered over the open book before them. "Back then, the Confederacy was Byssomare. Queen Bysso felt that any old documents and books that proclaimed beliefs contrary to the Divinity of the Great Spark needed to be erased from public access."

"Alas, any excuse for purging," Great Stare said with a heavy exhale. She looked at Bellesmith. "The more work I do here on the surface of Blue Shellf instead deep within, the more at ease I am. I frankly don't know how you handle it down there."

Belle was staring out the window, at the blue sky and the wispy clouds. She bit her lip as her eyes narrowed.

Great Stare leaned forward. "Bellesmith...?"

"Hmm? She looked over at him. "Oh. Yes. Blue Shelf. It's... well... it's my job to do for the Queen..."

"Are you feeling alright, Belle?" Little Breath asked. "You seem distracted..."

"My head has been through the wringer lately," she muttered, running a hoof along her brow. "What are we looking at, Pilate?" she asked.

"This is the 'Book of Earth,'" Pilate said. "It's a translation of a translation of an ancient text that was native to this region and the land north of us. I've read it multiple times. I find history to be quite fascinating, especially when told by the cultures are no longer around. In this case, we're talking about the land of Bethlem, which took up nearly half of the modern day Confederacy."

"I've heard that word before," Belle said. "The Caribou back in Mountainfall would speak of it."

"It's believed that the Caribou dominated a great empire that spanned these lands," Great Stare explained. "It was over five hundred years ago, of course. It could very well have been Bethlem."

"What's interesting is that there are many writings concerning ponies in this text before us," Pilate said as the glowing sphere spun a low orbit of the group. "O.A.S.I.S. Scan." The ball shone a light over the book as he slowly flipped through the age-stained sheets. Golden letters and old engravings reflected the manalight. "And ponies didn't enter this region until a little over three hundred years ago. The desert to the west was always a barrier against equine migration, and we all know that the proto-Xonans arrived from the southern seas."

"This is all very intriguing, beloved," Belle said. "But what does it have to do with the two symbols that I showed you?"

"Because, if I am right..." Pilate murmured as he came to the middle of the book. "Ah. Here we are," he smiled as the runes on his plate pulsed, resonating with the information that the sphere's scan was relaying him. "This is the chapter dealing with the foundation of the world."

"We're going into ancient religions, then?"

"More or less," Pilate said as he ran his hoof along a page. "You see, there's a common thread in almost all lore. It deals with 'winged angels' that scattered themselves across the world, blessing lesser mortals with their eternal glory. It was said that their manes shimmered with cosmic brilliance, as if they were a gift from the stars."

"Sounds like you're describing alicorns," Great Stare said.

Belle flashed him a look.

"It would explain the subject of ponies," the zebra remarked. "If alicorns existed in this region five hundred years ago, then that might explain why the Bethlemites wrote about them." He flipped a few more pages. "And... Yes—Here, we have what should be a list of titles and offerings. But, as you may notice, there should be an illustration on the right page."

"Yes, Pilate," Belle remarked, leaning over to see.

"It would take O.A.S.I.S. a long time to provide me a mental picture. Could you describe it to me so I'll know if it's the one I saw months ago the last time I read this?"

"It's an engraving," Belle said. "It shows two reindeer standing on what looks like a pine forest on the edge of a mountain."

"Sounds like Blue Shelf!" Little Breath remarked with a smile.

"Could be. Could just be any other landscape," Belle said.

"I think it's coming together now," Pilate said, gazing blankly ahead as he raised a hoof. "Tell me, is there what appears to be a sun in the top left corner of the picture?"

"Top right corner," Belle said. "But good memory, regardless."

"Notice anything different about the sun?"

Belle squinted. After a few seconds, she remarked, "I... think so..."

"Do tell..."

"The illustrated sun is a perfect circle, and yet only half of it has these flaring lines to suggest sunlight."

"That's rather lazy of the engraver, now is it?" Pilate remarked with a smirk.

"What are you getting at?" Great Stare remarked. "It just looks like a normal illustration."

"The last time I perused this book, I faintly remember there being something odd in this illustration—something hidden, as a matter of fact," Pilate explained. "Just now, my beloved showed me two images from her mind that had been left there after her sequencing in the facility. I could have sworn I saw those symbols before."

"You think they're hidden in the engraving?" Belle asked.

"More like beneath it, beloved. You see, O.A.S.I.S. can capture more than just the surface of things."

"I'm well aware."

"Tell me. Do the edges of this page look frayed in any way?" Pilate asked. "In a consistent fashion?"

"Why... yes..." Belle remarked. "Yes, they do."

"Do you think you can... tug at the edge of the leaflet?"

"Wouldn't that rip the ancient sheet?"

"Humor me."

"Uhm..." Belle's eyes crossed on her stubby horn, then glanced at her clumsy hooves. She cracked a smile, "I wish I could, beloved."

"Here, allow me." Little Breath leaned in with an outstretched forelimb. "Sometimes, it helps to be cloven hoof."

"I'll take your word for it," Pilate said, waiting patiently.

Belle and Great Stare watched as the female buffalo carefully pulled at the frayed edge of the sheet. Quite easily, it peeled away, and a mutual gasp filled the air as a hidden page was revealed beneath the engraving. Several geometric symbols and patterns lit the air.

"They're... hieroglyphics?" Great Stare remarked with a furrowed brow.

"Something that undoubtedly would have been considered heretical under Bysso's regime," Pilate said proudly. "I'm guessing that's why it was covered." He turned his head towards where Belle was seated. "Beloved? See anything?"

She hung over him, staring with her jaw agape. There were several symbols on the page, but two in particular had stolen her attention.

"Austraeoh..."

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