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Keymonus

[OL - Challenge III - Cat B] Something worh dying for

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Somewhere in  the jungle, March 620, El Oleonda

Heading towards these ruins was almost a shot in the dark. During one of the first explorations of the interior, following a little river with no name (by the way, River Rimbaud sounded quite well), Tristan and his men found something quite surprising: a complex system of little canals, clogged by vegetation but still functioning, that brought water towards the inlands. That luxuriant jungle, somewhere in time, must have taken over fields and gardens, swallowing any trace of an advanced civilization: no known tribe of the archipelago, not even the Myzec of Cascadia, could have built something similar.

canal 2 - edited

The canals, now feeding only bushes and undergrowth, were by sure a sophisticated artefact: they were built with bricks and stones, and their slope had probably been carefully calculated… proof of that, they were still functioning despite the abandonment. 

canal 1 - edited 

Even though that discovery was completely unexpected, Tristan was more interested to something different: far inside the jungle, above the treetops, there was a wisp of smoke… the only trace of human presence they could find.

With no other clue, Tristan and his men moved in that direction, following the remains of a paved road… another strange thing to find in the New World, but that made the men save a lot of time and fatigue. Now they were almost there. The scouts had told Tristan that the bivouac was only fifty metres onward, among some ancient ruins, but still he couldn't see anything… damned jungle!
Tristan's only hope was that the men in front of them were Carnite, and not Lotii: the orders he had received included exploring the island and trying to discover what the two nations were fighting for, something by far easier if you can understand a word of what the others say. Tristan murmured a short prayer to Poseidon and moved forward… he was going to do something very, very stupid.

Road in the jungle - edited

"You are entering a military site of the Empire of Carno! Don't make a step forward or we'll open fire!"
Bingo! They weren't Lotii and they didn't shoot on sight… it was already something. Tristan stopped, trying to appear as calm and relaxed as possible. Entering from he front door was by sure the best way to get quickly a lot of information, but it was also quite risky... now he had to play his cards well, if he didn't want a bullet from a nervous Carnite sentinel.
"I am Tristan Rimbaud, Regiment General of the Oleander army." -He replied in an acceptable Carnite- "You have at least two good reasons to lower your guns and let me pass. The first, and the best one, is that I come in peace: I don't have any hostility against you. The second one is that I ordered my men to take position in the bushes right behind me... touch the trigger, and you'll receive enough bullets to turn that ruins in a lead mine." Tristan knew very well the rule of thumb of diplomacy: raising a white flag can be a good start a negotiate,  but it works by far better if the counterpart knows that you have twice his guns.

IMG_3559 - edited

A moment of tense silence followed, immediately cover by the deafening rumours of the jungle: the chatter of parrots, the rustling of leaves, the sounds of the little streams of water... and the buzzing of bugs, that disgusting horde of tiny vampires. Three more Carnite soldiers emerged from the bushes they were in a good position, but Tristan was almost sure that his man would have taken them down before they could shoot, if things had gone in the wrong way. 

IMG_3550 - edited

"Calm down, Gustav! They are clearly not Lotii cutthroats!" Tristan had barely noticed that man before… a civilian, unarmed, who now seemed to be the leader of the Carnite garrison. "And welcome, Herr Rimbaud, on behalf of myself and of the inhabitants of this place, dust since centuries. I am Hans Schneider, archaeologist, and this is Gustav Weber, head of my guards… forgive him, but we all are a little on edge, given the situation! By the way, aren't you Oleanders a little far from home?"

Carnite officer - edited

Tristan, relieved, walked in what seemed an ancient city, similar to several ones scattered in the archipelago… also in this case, everything seemed abandoned from decades.

IMG_3552 - edited

"Nice to meet you, Monsieur Schneider" replied Tristan. "You are right, we are quite far from home! The war between your nation and the Lotii has raised some anxiety in our colonial authorities… and has also  raised a lot of questions. This island is quite large and rich, but it's not the only one in the archipelago! Why the hell didn't the Lotii colonized another of the large islands? What do they think it's worth dying for?" Tristan didn't really expect an answer: if there was something precious enough to start a war, the Carnites wouldn't have revealed it so simply. The archaeologist, however, surprised him again.

"Well, Herr Rimbaud, I can be completely frank about that: my nation is here for what always makes the empires move: lands, gold, commercial routes, valuable crops… we were a little late in the run towards East, but now we have our piece of land under the sun. For the Lotii, however, the situation is different: they arrived on El Oleonda without any warning, and they attacked our forces on the Eastern tip of the island. The incredible thing, however, is that probably they don't care at all about conquering the island… they are looking for something."

"And... do you know what are looking for?"

IMG_3567 - edited

"I'll tell you a story, Herr Rimbaud. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's all I know. A story that began thirty years ago, in the Lotus Kingdom. You know that after the discovery of the first islands in the Sea of Storms, half a century ago, voices of rich lands East  of Terraversa started to spread… rumours about rich islands, possibly even continents. So, after a lot of hesitation, their emperor decided to roll the dices and to send his ships North: also the Lotii had their Armond Basker and their three caravels, actually a fleet of twenty ships and almost two-thousand mariners. They left the capital, cheered by the population, and nobody has ever seen them again: two-thousand men swallowed by the sea, the whole fleet destroyed… and a considerable amount of gold, silver and diplomatic gifts for the sovereigns of the mysterious new continent lost with them. It was a real disaster, and somebody says that the old emperor was killed by the sorrow. Here ends what we know for sure, but a few years ago a new trace was discovered by some Lotii fishermen…"

"How was it possible? What did they find after so much time?"

"A man… even if I'm not sure he still could be defined so. They found him on a little atoll, where apparently he had lived alone for decades. He was completely mad, and could barely mutter a few words. However, before losing his mind, he had carved his memories on a piece of wood. I had a chance to read a copy of it, after our fleet captured a Lotii junk, and I can assure you that I didn't sleep for days. The only reason why that poor soul didn't commit suicide was that he knew something vital for the Kingdom, something he wrote down when he was still sane: the fleet was destroyed by a storm, as everybody supposed, but several ships survived, and were stranded  on a large island. The admiral decided to try the return voyage with the only ship that could still set sails, promising to the survivors that he would have returned with help. He left on the island four-hundred men, all the treasures and, even more importantly, most of the maps he had drawn up to that moment…"

"But he wasn't lucky" Concluded Tristan.

"Indeed. The ship sank, and the only survivor was driven mad by sun and loneliness. But his sketches seem to show that the ships were stranded on El Oleonda, and so the Lotii are here. For their gold and for the maps, even if I don't know if the streams of gold and pearls or the blessed lands described did ever exist outside the mind of that unfortunate sailor…"

"And so the Lotii are here for some maps that could even not exist at all and for treasures lost decades ago?"

"Exactly. They are convinced that their predecessors may have hidden their gold before hunger, diseases, attacks of the natives or time took them all. Maybe in these very ruins, or in some abandoned temple in the forest, who knows. In that case, it will probably decorate forever the homes of scorpion, spiders and bats."

Treasure 2 - edited

 

Treasure 1 - edited

"And you? Are you hunting the Lotii gold too?" Asked Tristan.

"We are archaeologists, not treasure hunters. We were studying these ancient ruins, abandoned at least a century ago by a mysterious civilization… but now we are in a damned war theatre!" 

Archeologist - edited

The archaeologist continued: "I don't know if the treasure exists, or if the survivors decided to throw it in the sea when they realized that nobody would have ever come. What I know for sure is that their maps and documents, if they still exist, will reveal us the complete story of the unfortunate expedition and of the lands they visited. More probably, however, they will remain forever in some forgotten temple, no matters how much the Lotii will search." 

Ancient warrior - edited

An overall view:

IMG_3546 - edited2

Without colour adjustment

overall view

This is my entry for cat B. It required a lot of text, pictures and time, and I hope you like it. As usual C&C are welcome.

PS Everything I depicted is part of the build: the treasures and the skeleton are in little niches in the two buildings

Edited by Keymonus

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Interesting story, the Lotii should have stayed at their home, it's risky to go out now.:pir-grin: 

Nice scene, I like the close shots on the hideout and different parts of the ruin.

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What a story and writing (...and the buzzing of bugs, that disgusting horde of tiny vampires...) ! And those brick profile bricks have never looked better :wink:

As usual I like your close up pics too. Well, let's see if and who will find that treasure...

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Great story! Real good and realistic take on the conflict too. And as blackdeathgr said indirectly, you have a very good way with words. 

The build is really well executed too! Good work

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On 4/3/2020 at 10:06 AM, Bodi said:

Interesting story, the Lotii should have stayed at their home, it's risky to go out now.:pir-grin: 

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Thank you guys! Still I’ve to figure out how to continue the story, but I’m quite proud of my entry, in particular of the writing!

On 4/3/2020 at 11:16 AM, blackdeathgr said:

And those brick profile bricks have never looked better

Well, the house of my detective in the modular city now has new white walls :grin:

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Nice entry !

Ruins are really popping out of the vegetation with that colour ! Good idea !

Keep up the good job !

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I like the growth on the ruins and how the greenery makes you feel like you are in a jungle. :thumbup:

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