Lostlight - Fan story inspired by Ashes of Creation
Lostlight was a town that lived down to its name. It hunched alone and nearly forgotten in a valley surrounded by peaks that remained impassable for much of the year. Crumbling brick structures frosted with a light coat of snow huddled together along a street filled with potholes made dangerous to pedestrian by the white blanket. Gerald trudged through the snow headed to the only cleared section of roadway a few hundred yards of slightly better maintained cobblestones in front of the few inhabited buildings in the otherwise deserted town.
Gerald checked his pocket again to confirm the safety of the letter that represented his last hope of finding a job. His aunt had insisted that if he really wanted to persist in his, in her words “unfortunate desire” to be an archeologist then this was the best place to do so. She said she knew an old man in Lostlight who needed someone to help in his research and best of all he owed her for funding his research for the past 17 years.
The cleared cobblestone path widened into a large square. A rusted street sign proclaimed its name to be the Plaza of Arrival. A massive statue stood near the south end of the square representing a group of people that appeared to be hurrying away from the center of the square frozen in time fleeing from some unknown terror. The diverse group of refugees seemed to have an inordinate number of children and elderly, perhaps it was to add emotional impact to the piece. Gerald thought it was an odd choice of decoration, but moved on in search of the address his aunt provided to him.
Finally at his destination Gerald stared up at the three story brick building. The lights inside made the windows glow with a warm welcoming light. Gerald knocked on the heavy wood door. The door opened revealing a tall wide shouldered man with shoulder length steel grey hair and a long regal looking nose. The glasses perched on the grand proboscis did little to mitigate its size.
“Hello lad what can I do for you this fine frigid evening?”
“Doctor Marius? My name is Gerald Line. I was sent by Ms. Doubleham. She said you are in need of an assistant. She gave me this letter to…”
A large gnarled hand plucked the letter from Gerald’s hand with speed and dexterity. “A letter from Josie eh?”
The old doctor scanned the contents and chuckled. “She
completely forgot to actually mention you until the very end. The
postscript even. It just says, ‘Hire my nephew you old bastard.’
She spent three whole pages complaining that I never visit. Come in lad
and make yourself comfortable.”
Gerald stepped in peeled off his galoshes, hung his long leather
coat, and placed his small bag near the coatrack in the entryway. There
were two coats already on the rack. One was a soot covered canvas long
coat and a smaller red leather coat with what might be a feminine style.
Doctor Marius beckoned him into a parlor where a large number of books filled several bookcases. A fire crackled in the fireplace warming the room. The Doctor sat in a large leather chair and waved Gerald towards a similar chair near the fire.
“So Gerald what do you know about Lightlost?”
“Very little sir. I intended to do some research before I
left, but my aunt was rather insistent that I leave immediately before the snow
closed the pass.”
“Probably a wise move. This town is very difficult to
reach once the snowy season starts. Of course that’s half the year.
Rest for a bit and I’ll tell you a bit about this old town.”
Gerald settled back into the chair felling the dry heat from the fireplace envelope him. Dr. Marius leaned back into his own chair with a satisfied sigh.
“I am sure you saw the statue in the Plaza of Arrival. A few weeks ago I finally finished translating the inscription at its base. The word usage was old and the symbols were badly damaged due to weathering. The inscription reads:
‘Years ago our peoples arrived in this cold land to settle and find new light. Our lands lost to us seem distant yet still close to our hearts. Remember our lost light and the lights left with it for all time.’
“It is signed simply ‘One who felt the light.’”
After a dramatic pause he continued, “The inscription implies that they were settlers arriving after some catastrophe. They fled from another land and settled here in this place. But why would anyone want to settle here? There is a short growing season and the surrounding peaks are mostly sheer cliffs filled with dangerous animals even now. Based on archeological evidence and structures still standing there are strong similarities in architectural skill and knowledge, yet it makes no sense how they arrived here. It’s not like they could have flown or even climbed to reach here. If the statue is representative, which I believe it is, then how did so many children and elderly manage to reach such a potentially unforgiving wilderness? The sheer number of inhabitants from a very early time suggests a large population not a small group of settlers to a remote region.”
Dr. Marius eyes glinted in excitement as he leaned forward energetically continuing, “Did you notice the tunnel through the pass as you travelled here from the capital? The tunnel was dug at approximately the same time period in which these settlers arrived, but the stone all seems to have been used to build the oldest structures here in town even the statue is carved from stone found in the tunnel.”
Rifling through papers beside his chair Dr. Marius triumphantly shook two free and pushing them towards Gerald. They were detailed analysis provided by a local geologist.
“The buildings in the center of town are made from stone matching strata nearest the town, while the buildings and ruins that encircle them are made from strata deeper into the tunnel. Furthermore, the tunnel is widest within the valley and tapers in width until you reach the other side of the mountain range. Of course there are many possible explanations for that, but to me it seems like they arrived here and dug their way outwards towards the rest of the continent, but how could that be? I believe it’s because they truly did arrive here. I am convinced there is sufficient evidence to support this theory, but I need help collating it and presenting it in a fashion fit for mass consumption.”
--To be continued...