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Excerpt of « sel ûr atalbem ûr selak – My father's glory » by Pylos Cetheus - 2502


My name is Pylos Cetheus, son of Galeus. Like my father and my father’s father I spent my early working life as a miner. When I was but a lad of thirteen I spent two full years of my apprenticeship under my father who was in charge of excavation in the Prime Roots with the Company of Lenardi Bravichi, the great Matis artisan, whose ignorance is the source of my life’s torment.


I was with my father digging out a new chamber of curiously symetrical dimensions when he discovered an artifact. In fact, it was I who hit upon the strange-sounding object first with my pick. My father was at my side even before I thought to call on him, for it was a sound he instantly recognized from his mining in the ancient lands where many artifacts had been discovered under his charge. Only this one looked in excellent condition and at least ten times bigger than any fragments discovered before!


My father informed Lenardi of the fantastic discovery, but Lenardi was too bent on his aesthetic creations and was not the homin to give it the attention it deserved. Nevertheless, my father persuaded him to give him twenty four hours to uncover a portion of the surface. We worked all night through, carefully excavating and brushing the debris away so as not to spoil a single inch of the inscriptions. By morning we had uncovered about ten square feet and were gladdened by the thought that the inscriptions alone would provoke enough interest to allow us to go on.
Here's the drawing my father made from it:




But Bravichi considered it a mere whim of nature and maintained that keen fancy often leads one to see the most amazing features in the most run-of-the-mill objects. To uphold his argument he recalled a time when he came across some roots of an evening whose silhouette seen from a certain angle took the exact form of a mektoub drooping its trunk, and a tuber that looked exactly like a baldusa. The whole company laughed, for Bravichi, true to his race, was an excellent orator, which my father was not. A verdict was pronounced: the consensus was that we should not lose any more precious time, that we should forge ahead with the present conversion to alleviate the cramped conditions, as homins were arriving from the kitin ravaged lands even as we spoke.


Dally Baily, the Tryker craft master, sent in his team to install the ventilation system vital for the stability of the walls as well as the new floral installations. But a clumsy fat Tryker laborer stumbled and made Dally Baily walk on a panel that my father had specifically ordered not to be touched, and which he had paid particular attention to. The Tryker master had his foot clean through the panel, and was badly gashed by the incredible cutting properties of the broken material. He was taken to the Zoraï healers who soothed his anguish and later cut his leg off! While he was being lifted out I saw my father look in wonder at something that had caught his eye in the hollow made by the fall, he discreetly directed my eyes with a sign to keep it under my cap.


There were bones, embedded in the side of the hollow that continued under the cavern wall, not just any bones, but a complete skeleton not unlike to the Fyros in stature! I remember how vexed and frustrated he was on getting home to our quarters and describing the vote against him to my mother. He told her he was going in that night anyway to get to the bottom of it, despite the usual Zoraï foreboding. My mother gently tried to calm his nerves as only she knew how, saying he was always thinking of his work, never of romantic thoughts and his family.


Late during the night while everyone else was asleep I opened my eyes to my father tussling my hair : “Up you get, lumper! The greatest discovery of hominkind is about to put the Cetheus’ in the Chroniclers’ books” We took up our tools and set off to the site. I knew my dad had hardly slept for he had brought with him a plan that he had been working on, a plan that brought together his other discoveries into some kind of logic, now incorporating our discovery.


We carefully dug into the wall and slowly but surely we began to uncover not one but several skeletons seemingly set in a fetus position, no doubt a burial ritual of the epoch. Around their necks we uncovered a ceremonial necklace made of a hard shiny substance with the same engraved symbol! This was all we needed to persuade the chiefs to stop the works and uncover the rest of such an important discovery which, no doubt, would give us answers about past civilizations of Atys. It was my father’s theory that all homins had a common ancestor. But then disaster struck…


I had kept excavating while my father was frantically taking down notes and sketches when I struck upon a hollow in the side of the wall. I heard a horrible crack coming from within, my father looked up in horror and understood what was happening… He threw down his pad and picked me up with his huge hands and literally threw me across the room to the doorway.


There was an awful rumbling, and the last thing I saw was my father reaching for the necklace when the whole wall crumbled and the ceiling collapsed on top of him. I desperately reached out for him when I realized I was being held back by two Trykers who dragged me out of the chamber and probably saved my life.


I was too young for my words to have any sway on Bravichi’s proud ignorance, which I shall regret to the end of my days. I wanted so much for my father’s genius to be recognized and I felt I owed it to him to recover the proof. Sadly, the Prime Roots Shelters were sealed by the Karavan after the Resurfacing and the fresh beginning for the homins in the new lands began. I feel my own end coming nearer. I cannot join him in his last home, but I would so much like to see the proof again that would redeem my father's memory.
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