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We had noticed this temple half an hour earlier. Given that we went out without a real plan, we decided it may be a good vantage point. Closing in on it, we quickly noticed we didn't need to go further from there - the Orchid was here. But these skeletons are giving us a creepy vibe; I think we should turn back now...
Elostirion posted a topic in Brethren of the Brick SeasAfter studying goats and frogs, the group had reached the further inward parts, which - while still verdant and mostly in jungle - were less humid than the westward facing mountainsides. "So what exactly are we looking for again, noble lads?", the doctor grubmled when they sat around a small campfire that Luca had just lit. "The hidden secrets of this island...", Luca do Figino replied. "And so how exactly does that help anyone, if we find secrets here in the wilderness?", the doctor insisted. "You as a doctor ask me, like... you really ask me what the purpose of doing research... exploring secrets... you must be kidding?!", stuttered a confused Luca. To which the doctor just frowned. Most conversations had been like that. The doctor, sceptical, critical and ill-mooded, while Luca acted like they alone were to save the world with their journey. Lady Ludovica remained rather silent, obviously struggling to keep up with the others on their voyage. And Barlo did all the dirty work while hating it, because he kept insisting that's his role in the company of the rich and noble. It was about time Juan changed some things about this. "My friends. We have journeyd far, further than anyone we know before us. We have seen much in those past weeks. We have come closer. And yet still I have a secret to share. I have not only come here to explore the flora and fauna of this island. Well, the flora, yes, but I can be more specific. I am certain you have all seen more orchids on this island than we are all used to seeing. Well then, I have heard rumours that the most beautiful orchid of the world is to be found on Celestia! And that is mostly why I am here: To find it! The most beautiful orchid, that ever was, or ever had been! So what do you think? Are you with me on that one?!" Juan Alfonso Fontonajo thought he had done a great job of motivating his group, but not in the slightest. Soon after a massive dispute erupted among them, to which The Doctor and Lady Ludovica were the only two to remain at their camp at the foot of some ruins which they had discovered. Stupid Fontonajo. All this expedition for what? An orchid? A flower? Hundreds and thousands of flowers were grown in the greenhouses each and every day. And this young fool ventured all the way up the mountains through the dangerous jungles of an unknown island... just to find one single flower? The Doctor had not thought that Fontonajo was this stupid... To forget some of his anger, he soon took his chance to explore the ruins more closely, and was quite astonished by the fact that he soon found footsteps. Most certainly of leather boots. Humans, civilized humans - most likely Halosians - had been here. The Doctor was no scout, but he guessed the footprints were no older than two days. Now where were his companions to share those thoughts? Interested to find who left those footsteps? Maybe @Bregir will be able to tell you more about it? Luca do Fignio had walked away. Stupid Fontonajo! He had come to Celestia to find the orchid, and take it away! And then what? Plant it in Nova Terreli so that it would perish there, in bad conditions? What a moron! The world was full of bad people, and he had once again joined one of them. And The Doctor, always in the worst mood. And Lady Ludovica never even said a word, and let it all just happen. And here now he walked, on that narrow path through those ruins, and... WOW! His mind stopped for a second, when he saw the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his life. In a valley, in the highlands of Celestia, surrounded by the ruins of an ancient civilization, grew hundreds and thousands of orchids, in all the colours he could possibly imagine. That was... noone would ever be able to steal this beauty from Celestia. And right so. And he stood there in pure amazement, just staring at all those flowers which in their beauty would even cheer up The Doctor. And he was so caught by the beauty of what he saw, that he did not even notice the big yellow cat striding by further down the vale. Barlod had joined him when Juan had left the company in anger. Why would those fools keep arguing? Had the height made them dumb already? Was there not enough conflict in the world already? His life had become so much easier after he and his father had decided to withdraw from politics, and from their ambitions at the same time. He even had time to travel the world now. And he didn't even intend to take the orchid from Celestia. "Not even if it was made of pure gold", he thought, when Barlo touched his arm. And right there it stood, and Juan was most certain he had found it - the most beautiful orchid in the world - though he did not believe his own eyes. In a lowered department of the ruins of an ancient temple complex, in a masoned pit, here in the highlands of Celestia, there stood the statue of an orchid, certainly more than 6 metres in height, gleaming golden in the sun. Juan Alfonso Fontonajo had found it. Right here in the jungles of Celestia. "This is... beautiful! I will get us a shovel, mylord!", Barlo said. "We should better take a quill and write a letter to Queen Annetta, telling her about the orchid, and congratulate her to her choice of Celestia...", Juan replied. "And write to the Royal Society so they can protect it from the potential greed of Corrish statesmen?", Barlo said, with some uncertainty still n his voice as to whether he was allowed to say such things. Juan Alfonso Fontonajo just smiled at him and nodded. Finally Barlo started finding his confidence. The confidence, that in a new and free world everyone was allowed to voice their opinion, regardless of both origin and wealth. If it took weeks of travel through the jungle and a golden orchid in the ruins of an ancient civilization deep within the mountains to start changing the world - then it was all worth it. Some more pictures:
Montoya's personal diary, Day 24, Temple Ruins Exploring the island upon which we were lost, young Baker and myself ventured inland, only to stumble upon something most marvellous. Following what appeared to be a track trodden by both men (of which we saw none) and beasts (of which we saw an abundance) we reached a clearing where several tracks converged between the cliffs. Apart from a colourful bird, which was clearly some non-descript pheasant, surprisingly, we found ruins of an ancient civilisation, almost entirely hidden amongst the jungle flora. These ruins seemed to have some resemblance to the architecture of the Mysec on Cascadia, leading me to believe that we may be stranded in the same region, perhaps even on Cascadia itself, although both flora and fauna differs somewhat. Perhaps the Mysec civilisation once spanned a large part of the Brick Seas? Young Baker rushed to the ruins... ...where he made a most fascinating find! In the center of what must have been a temple or large residence, on what looked like an alter, a most beautiful orchid was growing, apparently drawing nourishment and water from canals dug into the very cliff. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that this arrangement must have carried great meaning. While the alter had been damaged by the course of time, it seemed indisputable that it was made to honour the orchid. One can only speculate what importance it may have held for the ancient civilisation that once built these walls. If only I could discuss this with Dr. Brickingstone... After carefully drawing maps of the location, Baker and I both decided to continue exploring the island. After all, it would seem we were to share with the many birds and orchids this island as our home for quite some time. I only hope my notes shall not be destroyed by damp or mildew before we are rescued. And that the rescue will not come too soon. So many things to describe and discover... Montoya ______________________________________________________ Expedition notes, day 11, Ruins in the jungle The climate has been unexpectedly kind to us, and the birds are ever curious, following the expedition's every move so close I believe I could reach out to touch them from time to time. Earlier today, we reached a clearing in between the cliffs, where a number of natural tracks converged. Obviously, we were not the first to find the clearing, as long since, some mysterious people, possibly related to the Mysec of Cascadia (as Dr. Brickingstone suggested), had erected a temple of some sorts. I ordered the expedition to halt here and make temporary camp, so the scientific gentlemen could investigate the ruins, and the soldiers could fill our water reserves from the local creek. After a short council, each went about his own tasks. While the soldiers discussed whatever it is soldiers discuss (although I must say, the Royal Pioneers are a handy bunch on an expedition like this, able and willing to conduct themselves in these jungles!), Nathaniel and I checked out the possible routes to take from here. Most curiously, we found recent tracks of two set of boots, apparently of Halosian design, but otherwise, the site appeared undisturbed. The tracks seemed fresh, however, but probably, they were just those of another expedition. The island seems to be crowded with them these days... The two scientists rushed towards the ruins, and I heard them mutter excitedly. Something about an orchid of great cultural importance. To whom this flower may hold importance I did not catch, but I am certain they will share their findings at the campfire tonight. In any case, it seems we have found the orchid we were searching for. Thomas Mallory ______________________________________ Overview shot: I am quite happy with how this worked out, with the story shots and all. Personally, I particularly like the way the ruins are embedded in the jungle. And in case it wasn't clear, Montoya's footprints are those the Fontonajo expedition found on their search of the same ruins. It seems almost inevitable that the two expeditions should soon meet, and I hope we will be able to show it in the brick, if @Elostirion and I can both find the time :) Montoya, however, seems to have eluded discovery this time, though, but now at least we know that he is on Celestia! ;) C&C welcome, as always, and good luck to everyone with the challenge.