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    paren01
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Luminosity-The Return (book 2) - 5. Chapter 5

**

"This is sad news. We will implore peace for the essential nature of their lumin." as he said lumin, the abbot made a shallow bow and touched his middle and index fingers to his chin...

"Three phalanxes? How can this be? It would take a hundred phalanxes or more to project the lumin …" he repeated the bow and, touching his chin, "necessary to transport the mangeni."

"We had nothing to do with transporting the mangeni. It was 'Twm the strong,' and Twm could transport many more," Llethu said while pointing at Tomas.

"Glory to the chosen one!" shouted Abbot Heddychlon. "He has arisen!" He fell to the ground to worship Twm.

The plainsrunners of Neuadd immediately prostrated themselves in front of a very uncomfortably Tomas.

Despite or perhaps because of the devastation and loss of life he'd observed over the last few weeks, Henry couldn't help smiling to himself and thinking," I don't imagine we'll run into any resistance in this settlement."

**

The nmblings were at least seven months from Neuadd, although, at this point, the plainsrunners had no idea what the final destination of the nmblings was. Twm promised to send word and phalanxes to stage a defense if necessary.

The remaining three Henllys phalanxes remained in Neuadd to rest, be close to their settlements' mangeni, and because they had nowhere else to go.

A phalanx from Neuadd accompanied Tomas, Henry, and Dieu on the next leg of the trip to Goginan. The Neuadd settlement abstained from bonding, opting to devote all their energy and passion to the study and worship of lumin. As a result, the plainsrunners of the settlement were unaware of the explosive display of the bonded pairs on the plains after the Ymuno â ceremony. They learned quickly to exude a higher level of lumin. They considered it a miraculous event brought upon them by the presence of Twm the strong.

After six days of hard running, the Neuadd messenger phalanx arrived in Goginan. Goginan was a settlement of water. There was no land beyond the entrance. As far as the eye could see, a large body of water filled the entire settlement from the hills on each side. In the distance, they could see an enormous geyser of water shooting torrents of crystal clear water hundreds of feet into the air. Surrounding the geyser were floating reed islands and hundreds of reed houseboats. The reeds grew lushly on the outer edges of the water.

They were met at the entrance by a phalanx of boys powerfully flaring through the water toward them until they came within ten yards of the shore and then shot out of the lake, trailing a stream of water and landing gracefully on the shore. It was a beautiful sight. They were all hairless … completely hairless, and the lake water glistened on their smooth skin. Henry noticed they had oversized hands and feet, probably an adaption from generations of plainsrunners living in and around the lake. Henry wondered if the large feet would hinder them when running the plains.

A tall boy addressed them. "I am Nofio and the primary of this phalanx." Addressing Tomas, he asked. "Are you Twm the strong?"

"I am," said Tomas.

"We welcomed a messenger phalanx from the Oragan settlement a week ago. They told us of the attack on Carreg and your quest to circumnavigate the planet. We didn't expect you so soon. We are honored by your presence."

"It is a pleasure to visit the Goginan settlement again."

"Again?" asked Nofio. "When were you last in Goginan?"

"It's been several hundred cycles. I remember learning how to swim all those cycles ago. The Neuadd phalanx will need assistance to find a peaceful sunny place to recover and suck in the rays of the suns."

Nofio directed six members of the Goginan phalanx to retrieve a reed boat large enough to transport the Neuadd phalanx to a reed mat floating in the lake's center.

"Should we bring a boat to carry you to the meeting place? The primaries of the settlement are eager to meet with you," said Nofio.

"A boat for Dieu would be helpful," said Tomas. "Henry and I will swim!"

Henry looked into Tomas' eyes with a look of alarm but calmed himself remembering how frightened he was to swim the rapids running through the Aberaeron settlement and discovering how much fun it was.

Henry felt a hand grab his jerkin. He turned to Dieu and said. "These boys will take you to one of the reed islands. Don't worry, Tomas and I will meet you there. You'll be able to see us the entire time."

Dieu nodded and implored. "Do you promise, Henry?"

"I promise."

Tomas and Henry followed Nofio and the remaining five members of the phalanx into the water. Henry felt Tomas' comfortable lumin flow surround his body. "This isn't very different from running on the plains, only there can be more ups and downs," smiled Tomas.

"Downs?" Henry croaked.

They gained speed, soon passing the phalanx.

"Are you ready for some fun, Henry?"

"Maybe a little," was Henry's measured reply.

"Hold your breath."

They abruptly dove steeply into the depths. Henry soon learned that neither air nor water pressure was a factor while enveloped in the protective lumin flare. Henry could hear Tomas chuckle.

The lake rapidly grew dark as they dived deeper, frighteningly dark. And then they ascended, gaining speed as they went. The lumin flared dazzlingly around them. They approached the brightening surface and burst upward, trailing a water trail along with the lumin. Henry could see the geyser in front of them. They soared through the very tip of the fountain and arched back toward the lake hundreds of feet below. They were flying. As they hit the water, Henry saw and felt a solid countering blue lumin flare arrest their descent only a few feet below the surface.

Tomas, Henry, and Dieu met with the primaries of Goginan. They assembled on the largest of the floating reed platforms.

Twm addressed the primaries, telling them of the attacks by the nmblings on the three settlements and the need to work with the other settlements to counter the threat.

"Can you spare five phalanxes to fortify Neuadd in the event of nmbling intrusion?" asked Twm.

"We can."

Henry thought the water might offer the settlement protection from a nmbling attack, although he didn't know whether nmblings were good swimmers. He was pretty sure that without the ability to rupture, they would be no match for the plainsrunners (swimmers) of Goginan.

The trio had five more settlements to visit before they arrived home in Dinas. At least it was home for Henry and Tomas. Henry hoped Dieu would find a place in Dinas where he could feel safe and part of a community. Over the next month, the trio visited the settlements, spreading the message of the attacks on Carreg, Goginaovern, and Henllys. Thankfully, they saw no nmblings on these segments of the journey.

Rhewi was the last settlement before Dinas. Like Carreg, Rhewi and Dinas were culturally similar, and the plainsrunners often visited each other.

The hills bordering the northern plains grew into mountains around the entrance to the Rhewi settlement. The passage into Rhewi followed a steep snow-covered mountain pass onto a sparsely forested plateau. It was common practice to flare up the path and onto the plateau. It was doubtful that nmblings could make the ascent.

The plainsrunners lived in low-ceilinged, rough-hewn log cabins. Smoke rose from the chimney of each of the cabins.

The plainsrunners wore fur upper and lower garments. The plainsrunners of Rhewi gave Tomas, Henry, Dieu, and the messenger phalanx warm fur clothing for their visit.

They met with the settlement primaries in the assembly cabin, which was also a giant sauna. Henry was dismayed to learn that clothing was forbidden in the assembly cabin. Like most things, Henry thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing ninety minutes of heat and humidity after the initial awkwardness.

The last leg of the trip went quickly, with the plainsrunners from the Rhewi Settlement flaring competently the entire trip.

Dieu was quiet and withdrawn most of the time. Henry made a point of slowly drawing him into conversations. The discussions were infrequent at first and usually dealt with light, mundane topics like Henry and Tomas' adventures, but as the weeks passed, Dieu was coaxed into more extended exchanges. It was apparent to Henry that the boy was deeply troubled by all he had been through, but he seemed to get a little better every day. One day, Dieu relayed the story of the attack on the Goginaovern mangeni.

"I finished my lessons with my friends and returned to our tree house to spend some time with my mother at riseset. This was when my mother and I would share the experiences of our day. That day, we played Picker. I was just learning the board game, and she had to help me with game moves."

"We heard shouting in the distance, and going to the porch, we saw burning treehouses. We Found it shocking, for the settlement, let alone the mangeni, had never been breached by the nmblings before. My mother and I didn't know what to do. Neither of us had any experience with warfare. Our treehouse is on the outer edges of the mangeni, so we decided to stay put and wait for the settlement's battle phalanxes to vanquish the threat."

"My mother took me to the back room and piled resting mats on top of me to hide me from the view of the attackers. She made me promise not to come out."

"The sounds of shouting and cries of distress got louder, and the smell of smoke increased. After a short while, I heard rough voices and a clamor below our treehouse. The nmblings were climbing up the ladder.

"Whatever you do, Dieu, be quiet and don't move," my mother said.

"She met four nmblings at the entrance. I saw them knock her to the floor, and then … then … they ripped her clothes off. She fought back, but they easily overpowered her."

"I couldn't stand it anymore. I stood up, ran over, and jumped on one of the four nmblings, hitting, scratching, and biting them. They were far too strong for me. They threw me aside. I don't remember anything after that until I woke up under the bench, with my mother's cold body sheltering me from the rest of the room."

Dieu paused his story for several minutes.

"I stayed like that for a long time … days, until you came to rescue me.

Dieu was quiet after that, retreating into himself. Henry would have hugged him if they hadn't been flaring.

A while later, Henry said. "We're getting close to Dinas, Dieu! I can't wait to show it to you and for you to meet my friends from my old phalanx. There are so many things I want you to see!"

Dieu appeared to perk up. "Will you take me to the Great Shrine of Gartwm?"

"Of course, and I'll show you the double-touch courts on the plains outside of Dinas and we can swim in the lakes and tributaries. It'll be a lot of fun!"

"Can we see the entrance to your mangeni and look for your momento stone?" Enthusiastically asked Dieu.

Henry paused. He wasn't born in the Dinas mangeni. He had no momento to retrieve when his days on the plains were finished. He wasn't even born on the planet. In some ways, Henry was more of an outcast than Dieu.

"Sure, we can visit the entrance to the Dinas mangeni."

A crowd of cheering plainsrunners rushed to Dinas' entrance to welcome Twm the strong and Henry triumphantly back to Dinas. The population was unaware of the tragic massacre at the Goginaovern settlement and the abandonment and loss of life at Henllys. The sad news could wait until after gorffwys. Until then, it was a time of rest and reflection.

Hapus and Diffuant sprinted out the gate. Henry smiled, knowing his friends were doing everything possible to resist rupturing and violating the unwritten rule about flaring in the settlement. The close companions embraced tightly.

After a few minutes, Henry said. "There's someone I want you to meet."

Turning, he said. I'd like you to meet Dieu from the Goginaovern settlement."

Diffuant and Hapus noticed the boy for the first time and stared at him with questioning expressions. Henry could imagine what they were thinking. 'Why was a nine-year-old (five and a half cycles) boy running the plains?'

Diffuant was the first to speak. "Welcome to Dinas. I hope you will join us for riseset this gorffwys, Dieu."

Henry, Tomas, and Dieu, accompanied by Henry's old phalanx, made their way through the throngs of well-wishers to the two round houses for Dieu's first gorffwys. Henry could tell Dieu was nervous and overwhelmed by all the new experiences. He made a point of distracting Dieu by pointing out the attractions of Dinas to him.

Dieu stopped dead in his tracks when he first saw the Great Shrine. "It's huge!" he said. "That's about Tomas, isn't it?" Said Dieu.

"Yes, it's about Twm the strong and Gar the kind. The plainsrunners of old built the shrine to honor their sacrifices. Tomas built and then buried Gar in the old shrine millennia ago. I will show you both of them.

Henry recited the ancient tome to Dieu.

"They were two united in Ymuno â. One was kind and one was strong and they both shined brightly together on the plains. One died in the preservation of his people and the other wreaked terrible revenge."

"Wow," said Dieu, as he looked over at Tomas, who was conversing deeply with the primary Aneurin.

They arrived at the roundhouses comfortably nestled among the pine trees beside a peacefully flowing tributary.

With gorffwys upon them, they entered the larger of the two roundhouses. Henry and Dieu joined Hapus, Diffuant, and the rest of the novices and fledglings in the half circle facing the primaries Aneurin and Hywel. Tomas sat a short distance off to the side of the primaries.

"Hywel and I have exciting news to share with the phalanx," said Aneurin. Tomas, Twm the strong has agreed to join our phalanx as primary."

The phalanx politely voiced their approval. Tomas rose and sat next to Aneurin.

He continued. "Not only that, but Henry is rejoining our phalanx!"

The novices and fledglings went crazy, cheering and mobbing Henry, pinching and goosing him until he begged for mercy while laughing his butt off.

"Twm meets with all the primaries after gorffwys to update them on the status of the other settlements. In three days, be prepared for many weeks of running the plains. The first stop will be the Obelisk of Dinas," said Aneurin.

Henry grabbed Dieu around the shoulder and said. "The Obelisk of Dinas is amazing! Wait till you see it."

They drank water and sang the beautiful songs of the plainsrunners of Dinas. Henry was gratified to see Dieu looking more relaxed and singing along to the songs he knew. Maybe things would be alright after all. Then he remembered the nmblings.

Copyright © 2024 paren01; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Let's hope that the nmblings get their just deserved rewards...

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