September 12th – 7PM (Southern Standard Time)
Mathias rubbed his tired eyes, it was nearing 6PM and he had been staring at the same manuscript for the last three hours. A now cold cup of coffee sat to his right. He picked it up and took a sip of the unpleasantly icy drink. The manuscript was old and most of the text had faded or had water damage. Mathias had been trying to decipher the text most of the afternoon and was very close to giving up.
What he could make up were the names: Admandi, Guadalupe, Varsha, and Herminia. Those he knew were the names of the 4 ancient ones sent to pray to Mother Jungle centuries ago. “Hmm,” he murmured, he lifted his head in thought, he tried to recall an old folktale he had heard a few years ago:
“At the time, the voyage was an coming of age pilgrimage that was often traveled by a blessed child from one of the 4 Provence’s of Selvadorada. These these children were the heirs of their generation and often identifiable by a particular physical attribute. Each Provence represented by the following totems: Fire, Water, Air and Earth. When the blessed children became of age, they were tasked with the Holy Pilgrimage. This Pilgrimage would ensure the blessings of the Mother upon their people for another generation.
By the blessings of the Shaman, the children were temporarily armed with knowledge of the Path that would lead them to the Temple of the Mother. Once the prayers and offerings were complete, the children were to lose knowledge of the path forever. Thus ensuring that no one generation could visit the Temple twice.
During one particular voyage a blessed child by the name of Edmundo thought to keep a record of everything he learned during the voyage in an attempt to garner more blessings for his people. His Provence had been suffering from famine for years. With the element of Fire of their totem, their goods often consisted of weaponry, which were not as favored by the mother. In an act of desperation he tried to copy down the sacred prayers being uttered by his peers. Years later, descendant of Edmundo tried to visit the Temple alone. Gaining access to its deepest chambers, displaying offerings of: weaponry (fire), vegetation and pottery(earth), fish (water) and lightening flies (air) to the Mother. The grandson managed to received the blessings of the mother. However, when he tried to leave the temples the Mother saw his betrayal and possessiveness and determined him cursed. Suddenly a terrible storm began, one that locked him (and the book) within the tombs of the temple, destroying all traces of the path. The storm lasted for weeks, and in her rage, the mother refused to communicate with the Shaman’s of the Provinces. The generational pilgrimage thus ended and the blessings of the Mother were no more.
Slowly with the rise of new technology, the teachings were lost, the Shaman’s passed and despair was seen around the land. It is rumored that the Book, contains not only sacred prayers for Mother Jungle, but the incantations that were passed down to the Shaman’s of each Provence, providing health, wealth and prosperity. Current knowledge places the book in the ruins of the Omiscan temples. One day 4 will return and bring prosperity and protection to Selvadorada and its people’s once more.”
“The key to enter the temple, has to do the four elements. It has to be,” he thought, where the hell was he going to find the Totems of the Four Provences? Every manuscript he had found on the subject had been unfruitful, either pages had been torn out of books or they were in such terrible condition that trying to decipher the texts was no use. “UGH!” he yelled loudly, slamming the book closed. Frustrated wasn’t the word to describe how he was feeling, he had been researching for years and still no solid evidence that there was a path to the Temple or that the Book of Edmundo even existed, it was all just folk tales.
As of recently, there had been clean up crews in the areas surrounding the temples. Because he was in cahoots with those managing the clean up’s, any and all interesting items found were sent directly to him. He had a wealth of information at his disposal, and yet although he had been living in Selvadorada for many years, its ancient culture still eluded him, finding ways to continually escape his grasp.
Groaning he stood, stretching his aching body. He needed a break and he needed to close the shop up. His feet shuffled slowly across the worn wooden floor as he made his way to the cabinet holding his collection of manuscripts. His fingers ran down the spines of the books in his collection seductively, “One day I will unlock your secrets,” he mumbled to himself.
One book in particular, he pulled from the shelf, opening it up to a page that had been dog eared. Inside was a photograph. It had been tucked tightly into the crevice acting as the spine for the book. Next to the photograph was a text labeled, “The Lost Book of Edumundo”. Some of the words were faded, but the important words were not. Although written completely in spanish, Mathias had translated what he thought was key on the side of the page: “Mother Jungle bestowed…..the book of Edumundo…..contains blessings of love, he…., wealth and pros……the book… -eath upon those (whom are) unfortunate.” The only portion of the text he was really concerned about was the “contains blessings of love.”
Removing the small photograph from the book, he gazed at the woman in the image, pressing it against his lips and sighing deeply, “If only she would have given me the chance,” he thought as his eyes drank in the image of the her. She would be older now, probably with kids, probably married to that pompous Kalani heir. A deep bubbling anger started to rise in his gut, however, he quelled it remembering that he needed to focus on a solution to his problem….which was the fact that Fallon Gunderson was in fact, not his.
While entranced by the image of the woman he lost, a knock was heard on the locked door to his office. Annoyed, he placed the photo back into the book and closed it gingerly, placing it back in its spot on the shelf. “Who is it?” he called, adjusting the front of his khaki pants before walking over to the door. There was no answer, and he hoped that Mario was actually watching the front instead of standing outside smoking like he usually did. Moving slowly he made his way to the door, the knocking was louder and more urgent this time. “Who the hell…” he murmured.
As Mathias opened the door, he saw a woman standing there, she could have been the most beautiful woman he had ever seen but that role was taken up by his lost love. This woman? She was…something like he had never seen before. Her obsidian toned skin and eyes the color of the sun captivated him. Her long dreads were pulled into a ponytail atop her head, several of them adorned with jewels and shells. “Are you Mathias Tran?”she said with a heavy accent, her voice wafted towards him like a warm breeze. “I am,” he responded, curious as to why this woman was standing at his door. Evaluating her more, he noticed a tribal looking tattoo extending from her neck, to her chest, to her arms. Thankfully her shirt was slightly transparent, so he could see the markings traveling down a portion of her belly.
At first Mathias did not recognize the markings, but after she stepped into the full light of his office he knew exactly who she was. “I am hoping you can help me with something,” her voice was slightly husky, the tonality of her words ebbing and flowing as she spoke. “Please, Come, sit,” he motioned to an open chair near his desk. The woman looked around the room, her golden eyes scanning the space before she took her seat. “How can I help you?” Mathias asked, extremely curious. “You work for the Archeology Association. Yes? You have knowledge of the Temple of Belomisa?” she asked bluntly. Mathias was slightly taken aback by the forward question but answered honestly, “Yes. Your correct. And I have some knowledge of the temple. But first, tell me your name,” he leaned forward waiting for her to speak. The woman sat silent for a moment, it seemed as if she was thinking deeply about something. Slowly her head turned towards his cabinet holding his manuscripts and then back to him. “Selenis.” she answered, immediately following up with a question. “You keep your books in here?” she pointed, her graceful hand directing his gaze to his collection.
“Is there something I can help you with?” he asked again, growing annoyed at her avoidance of his question. Selenis stood and sauntered over to the bookshelf running her finger down the spines of several copies before stopping on one with a black and gold cover. Mathias cringed, no one else was allowed to touch his books except for him. And this woman. Whoever she was as pushing his boundaries. Since she neglected to answer his question he instead made a statement, “Your descendant of the Omiscan’s are you not?” Selenis turned to him with a wry smile, “Good guess,” she turned her attention back to the book in her hand. “Your tattoo marking are a dead give away,” he said smugly. Selenis’ gold eyes rose to meet him, “Most people do not know of them,”she said still eyeing the text in front of her. “Most people are not me,” he replied smugly. With a snap Selenis closed the book in her hand, causing Mathias to jump slightly. “You are searching for Belomisa and the Book of Edmundo?” she asked, reaching for Mathias’s manuscript on the Temple of Belomisa, the same book that was dog eared and contained his photograph of Fallon. “I am,” he said standing and making his way over to her. Gently he grabbed the book from her hands and placed it back on the shelf. “Now, come sit, tell me what you want.”
San Myshuno International Airport
September 12th, 3PM (Standard time)
After saying their goodbyes, Wyn and Gustavo boarded the plane headed to Selvadorada. As they settled in their seats, Wyn looked out of the airplane window taking in the dark tarmac and busy workers scuttling around. Gustavo was next to her listening to some reggaeton loudly, his head bobbing back and forth. He hadn’t spoke to her once, not waiting in line to board, and not now. This she was thankful for. Being her first time on a plane she was nervous, and having conversation with him would make her anxiety even worse.
He was sitting wide legged, taking up most of the room in the small space in which their seats were assigned. Wyn said nothing about it, attempting to keep their conversations on a need basis only. Feeling like she had a little more control of her urges, she felt confident about her plan for abstinence over the semester. Seeing him up close, she realized he was the same asshole she had known during the semester. Except a little more buff, and his hair was tapered into a longish cut that accentuated his jaw line, and his skin was this deep coca color that reflected like gold in the right light. Wyn shook her head, there could not be a repeat of that night again. Not if she could help it. Quickly she mentally changed topics, thinking on it too much was causing things to tingle that didn’t need to be tingling. As he moved around next to her she could smell the scent of allspice wafting off of him, savory and earthy. Those type of scents were her favorite.
Eventually the stewardess came by and did their safety announcement, making sure that everyone remembered to wear their seat belts during the flight, going over what to do in the case of an emergency landing. Put on your own mask before assisting others, yada yada yada. Wyn watched them carefully, Gustavo on the other hand had his eyes closed still blasting music through his headphones.
The lights dimmed as they prepared for take off. Wyn had butterflies in her stomach, she was sad to be leaving her friends and family but extremely excited to be going on the adventure of a lifetime. With 4 hours still to go, Wyn leaned her head to the side to attempt some sleep.
Selenis sat quiet for a moment, her plump lips pursed and unwelcoming. “I want all of the information you have on The Temple of Belomisa and the Book of Edmundo,” she said confidently. Mathias laughed, even if she did claim Omiscan heritage how did he know she wasn’t an impostor out for his prized possessions. He laughed.“What makes you think that I will give some strange woman my manuscripts? You must be out if your mind.” he crossed his arms and sat back defiant. Selenis sighed softly, shaking her head, “Killing people isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I will do it if necessary,” she threatened, her hand moving to her right leg pocket. Mathias weighed his options carefully, he was unarmed and not great at hand to hand combat. Although he taller than her, he could tell that he would have a hard time subduing her physically. Either she had a pistol or a knife in that pocket and both would be agonizingly painful. “What if,” he said raising a finger and sitting forward in his chair, Selenis eyebrows rose and her hand hovered above her pocket, “…I was able to give you something better?” Her hand moved slowly, her arms crossing in front of her. Got her. “And what would that be?,” she questioned.
Mathias continued getting up from his seat and grabbing a manuscript full of old maps, “The land developers surveying the temple have been passing me informa-” he started. Suddenly Selenis stood quickly, knife in hand and pressed it against his throat. “So you are working with the developers. You liar. Those bastards have been encroaching on my peoples land for years. Your so called Archeology Association is nothing but a bunch of thieves. Digging up our relics. Stealing land for your so called research, you are getting rich by selling the histories of our people to your needless museums, ” she hissed, then said something in a dialect he couldn’t understand.
“I-I work dont for them! I promise! I promise,” he lied, “I know one of the guys on the survey crew, they are getting me updates which areas around the temple have been clear-” Selenis pressed the knife against his throat harder, the cold steel threatening to puncture skin, “Why?” she asked fiercely. Mathias gulped slowly,“The entrance to the Temple, I think….it’s enchanted. It’s hidden. But I know its there. Once the perimeter is clear Ill be able to search for it. If you kill me you won’t find it,” he said quickly, praying she wouldn’t slit his throat. Her grip on him loosened and she sat down. “How do I know you aren’t lying so I will not kill you?” she asked tightly. “Whatever you want…I-”, he was in a panic.
“I want the Book of Edmundo. Your going to give me the information to find it,” she turned and looked at him fiercely. “Okay. How about this, we collaborate. I want the Book just as much as yo-”
“You can not have it,” she said bluntly.
“This is decades of research. You can’t just take it!” he nearly shouted. The expression in her face in the next moment terrified him, “It belongs to me. And my people. It is not yours to have. Remind me again why I should not kill you now???” He could feel her intense sun colored eyes on him, he shivered slightly.
“I-Im the only one qualified by the Archeology Association to confirm an objects authenticity, Without me for all we know the book could be fake…That temple looks like it hadn’t been touched for years but for all you know poachers could have figured out a way to get in….” Selenis glared at him. “I-I…,” he stammered, “people will know I am missing! I have two students on their way here from the Simerica…they are to help me authenticate objects that get brought in…I-I could have them help you find it!” Selenis sucked her teeth, “I do not need help searching the Temple, from students no less,” she said bluntly.
That is where Mathias knew he had the upper hand, “Well. If it’s ok. I’d like to disagree,” he pulled a book off his shelf and turned to a half torn page, “See here? I think it requires 4 keys to open. Somehow they have something to with the four elements, Water, Earth, Fire and Air…” Selenis eyed him carefully, leaning over to read the text along with him. “I haven’t been able to translate the text here but I am positive that you need four of SOMETHING. With more people searching, we can find it sooner.” Selenis took the book from his hands, “Let me see it,” she said in a low voice, her eyes scanning the page, “Passion of fire, fertility of earth, nurturing by water…” she read translating the text that Mathias had been pouring over for the last several years, he stood there astonished. “She must really be Omiscian,” he thought, only a descendant of their people’s could decipher ancient language found in the text.
After a moment her eyes widened and she looked spooked but continued to read. “Fine,” she said closing the book, but explained nothing about what she read. “I am not babysitting two children. Prepare them for the journey and I will meet them at the entrance to the Temple. You have a three weeks Mr. Tran,” she said with a low voice. “I am keeping this book if you don’t mind,” she said tucking it under her arm. Mathias’ eyes followed her as she excited. His heart was beating out of his chest, his neck hurt and one of his valuable books was gone. But none of that mattered, he was closer to his goal than he had ever been before. If this mysterious woman was the key, then so be it.
(this episode marks the end of season 1. from here on out, there will be about 20 episodes per season. special thanks to: @geminispeaketh, @foureyedandtall, @suucherries for all your input and inspiration. @polym78once again for translating. and to everyone who reads this. It really means a lot to me! Hopefully season 2 will be just as good as season 1! Season 2, Ep’s 1 and 2 drop this weekend!)