A Message From Below
A message from Prime Urisha Ulukun to Primarch Emaja:
“Mother, what on Earth is going on up there?
I’m gone for 500 years and the Oruka manages to get attacked twice. And from what I hear, this time you brought the invader inside the Prime Heights yourselves? I thought you and the other Primes said you didn’t need me up there? I thought everyone was better off with me shackled down on the seafloor. Yet Uru lies deep beneath my feet in the Underlands, and his slayer roams free.
Well, since I still have almost 500 years of my sentence left, and my subordinates are busy cleaning up Aya’s mess in her absence…. I have decided to send you my daughter, Omanja. She will be my eyes and ears on the Oruka.
Your Most Reliable Child, Ulukun
PS. Please keep Omanja away from that fool, Sesewo.”
The Alympian Investigation: Unsin and Herakless
U: Good evening, Herakless.
H: Greetings, friend.
U: My name is Unsin, I’m the Bound Urisha of Security here on the Oruka and Earth.
H: In other words, the Urisha of War?
U: This is peacetime therefore I am the Urisha of Security. Let’s hope I never have reason to change it to war.
U: So do you care to explain how you could tell us that you come in peace, and then attempt to kill one of our leaders?
H: As I’ve said before, Ikkarias was acting on his own. There’s a small and secretive faction of Alympians who want to return to our old ways, they want to conquer other worlds and universes. It appears they recruited Ikkarias to their cause before we left without myself or the Higher Alympians noticing. Our true mission - which was ordered directly by the Alympian Triune - was to start peaceful negotiations and foster the trade of culture and technology, not to attack or start a war.
U: Well, Uru and Isangbe seemed to believe you, Herakless.
H: Because I was telling the truth. As far as I was concerned, we were coming in peace.
U: But the facts dictate otherwise – Ikkarias is on the run, Uru is dead, and Isangbe is hiding in Idaduro.
H: Please accept a sincere apology from myself and the Alympians, we did not intend for this. I will cooperate in any way I can, and I will earn your trust.
U: I trust no one, Herakless. Not even my own mother. But let us see what information you have to offer.
H: A life without trust? Surely such a life is one without love… Do you enjoy living this way?
U: I fulfill my Onus, that is my purpose, that is all I need in this life. Now answer - The Dark Serpent. What do you know about it? H: It’s a bio-weapon our predecessors designed. They distributed them to different universes to prepare the way for our invasions.
U: How did the Alympians get it here?
H: I cannot say.
U: You called it a bio-weapon. How exactly do these bio-weapons work?
H: Your people excel at construction, our people excel at bio-engineering. It allows us to create all sorts of living wonders.
U: Or horrors. Can this technology be applied to custodians like me and you? H: Yes, but not that effectively.
H: ...Yes. Our Human crew were all bio-weapons.
U: Can a human gain power similar to that of a custodian if they are bio-engineered?
H: Yes. I have seen human bio-weapons as strong as lesser Alympians.
U: Interesting. How many human bio-weapons are there?
H: I cannot say.
U: How many Alympians are there?
H: I cannot say.
U: And were any human bio-weapons sent here?
H: Not that I know of.
U: What is your level of clearance.
H: I’m a high-ranking warrior but not a high ranking Alympian, so my clearance is limited.
U: I understand, so I’m talking to a pawn. You probably wouldn’t know the true machinations of your superiors even if you were a part of them. We’ll stop the questioning here for now. Thank you for your cooperation Herakless, we shall speak again soon.
H: If you wish.
The Alympian Investigation: Unsin’s diary 1
Herakless may really want peace.
Uru, who could sense whether people were telling the truth, had said as much. But Herakless is still only loyal to one thing – the Alympians. He’s keeping information about their military capabilities secret, and it also appears that there is a way in which they transport things into our universe without us realising.
One thing is certain though - 250 years ago I saw a human bio-weapon first hand. The Rejector who lead the Great Human Seige, was definitely genetically altered, but how he had been augmented was the real mystery. If I can figure out how that technology made its way here and who used it to augment The Rejector, then it will explain a great deal.
Ikkarias still remains at large, but I know he’ll definitely show his face eventually. He’s ambitious and wants to complete his mission and I’m not sure he has a way home. He’ll strike again for sure.
I am also worried about Aya. She should have reappeared by now. The winds run rampant, the Prime Urisha Ulukun’s subordinates are currently covering for her, but a new wind Urisha may have to be appointed if she does not return. I think I will incorporate a search for her into my investigation. Her Onus is a vital part of the Grand Purpose, and her influence and position within Urisha society is vital if we are going to maintain order and balance in this time of uncertainty.
So, with all the information we have, I think our next step takes us to the research facility.
The Alympian Investigation: Unsin’s diary 2
I knew it! I was right, there is a link between The Rejector and the Alympians. The Researchers gave up studying the remains of The Rejector but Bobolu and Arunmila had ordered the remains be stored for future reference.
Thank the gods. Despite being burned to a crisp by Zangu and Aya, The Rejector still retained some traces of energy, and when we concentrated, we could immediately sense that it was Alympian energy. Interestingly, the researchers said they had tested The Rejectors DNA, and that he was definitely from this Earth and definitely human. But somewhere, somehow, he had been in contact with Alympian technology.
How is that possible? I’ve been thinking... generally speaking, humans are unaware that other universes exist with one exception – some humans born from female Urisha. Often these children are born on the Oruka and are brought to Earth when no Urisha traits present themselves. I’ve asked for The Rejector’s DNA to be checked against all Urisha alive within the past 500 years. We will see what results this produces.
As a side note. Aya has still not been found. I’ve sent out agents to search her residences on the Oruka and Earth and there is no evidence of her having visited any of them since the feast. Am I looking in the wrong place? We may have had our differences but, I do worry for her wellbeing.
The Alympian Investigation: Unsin’s Diary 3
The Oruka is uneasy. Edidwa said he glimpsed Ikkarias flying near the Oruka yesterday while carrying out his soil tests. One of my own scouts also said he found a feather near the walls of the Prime Heights. It is as I assumed - Ikkarias is trying to finish the job he started and is investigating our defenses. But the Urisha are ready this time. He shall not breach these walls, nor shall he claim another Urisha soul, I swear it upon my Onus.
The Alympian Investigation: Unisin’s Diary 4
It took a while, but the researchers finally got back to me. It turns out that The Rejector has two relatives on the Oruka. One is an Ancient Urisha, but I checked with Darakowe and he said that the records indicate that this particular Urisha has been in Idaduro for hundreds of years - so I can probably rule them out. The other, however, is young and very active... It would appear that I have to contact my mother, because The Rejector is somehow related to her gardening instructor, Toju.
The Alympian Investigation: Unsin and Toju
U: Good afternoon, Toju, it is good to see you again.
T: Good afternoon, Unsin. You seem stressed, are you looking after yourself?
U: Keeping everyone safe is a stressful job, but I would not have it any other way.
T: I am glad you are content in your work, but you should take some time to see Usanyin when you get a chance. Some of her herbs may do you well and it would put your mother at ease - she worries, you know?
U: Let her worry.
T: So, Etin said you wanted to see me about the Alympian Investigation? How can I help?
U: Well, are you familiar with The Rejector?
T: I was barely fifty when he attacked, but yes, I remember.
U: I’m not going to beat around the bush Toju – we have tested his remains and it turns out that he was related to you. Did you by any chance have any family members who would have been alive 250 years ago?
T: Not that I’m aware of. I don’t know who my mother is, and my father and brother died when I was young.
T: A shipwreck. Aya saved me and left them.
U: That sounds very much like Aya. So, you never saw them die?
U: …. The records say that when asked about his origins, the Rejector would always reply that he “came from the sea”. Do you think it would be safe to assume that The Rejector may have been your human brother? It would actually sort of make sense... The shipwreck – that traumatic event must have shaped the rest of his life.
T: You’re right it does make sense... Th-This is, a lot for me to take in. Aya said they died.
U: Aya probably didn’t care to check. Aya never cared much for human lives. Isn’t that why you parted ways?
T: That’s exactly why we parted ways. Aya is heartless. She cares for nothing but balance and The Grand Purpose, and yet fails to see the value or joy to be found in the lives that the Grand Purpose serves. She tried to make me like that, but I rejected her training.
U: Heartless you say? But aren’t I and my high-ranking contemporaries exactly the same?
T: Yes, yes I do. I honestly believe that this attitude has become a plague on our generation. But I don’t think it’s a hopeless situation. The contemporary Urisha are not lost – you, Unsin, are not lost. Try as you might to hide it, I see the joy with which you carry out your duty. I see how you go out of your way to save lives and end wars faster. Isn’t that what it means to be an Urisha? Isn't that why Uru and Isangbe chose kindness rather than violence?
U: ...I don’t know.
T: Well. As someone who started out as a human on earth... I do.
U: …We’re drifting off task.
T: Sorry. Did you have more questions then?
U: Yes, about Aya... do have you any idea where she might be?
T: You’ve checked all her houses and the cities she frequents?
T: And you’ve asked Ulukun?
T: Yes, she visits them regularly. They’re good friends.
U: Ulukun sent their daughter to the Oruka recently, their message didn’t indicate Aya was with them.
T: But it did not deny it either did it? Ulukun has their own goals – goals that do not necessarily align with the rest of the Prime’s. Maybe inquire of them?
U: That’s actually really helpful, Toju. No wonder my mother likes you so much - you’ve got an observant head on those shoulders.
T: I'm glad I could be of help to the Grand Purpose – and the mighty Unsin (laughs).
U: I better get going... Oh yes, before I leave, there was one more thing I wished to discuss. The Rejector had one more relative here, I think it may be your mother... Would you like to know who she is?
T: Aya said that my mother was unimportant and had probably forgotten about me, so I never tried looking. I think at the moment I’ve had enough revelations about my past. I will ask that you would extend me the kindness of keeping it to yourself for now.
U: Of course, whenever you are ready.
Turning Point 3: The One Who Dwells Below
Unsin and her team descended to the ocean floor in their transport craft. It had been a while since she had been to Ulukun's Palace, but it remained just as impressive as the last time she saw it. It was as dramatic as its owner, a vast complex consisting of turquoise green spires, circular theatres and aquariums, coral gardens, and arched walkways linking one part to another. Precious metals and gems adorned every structure, and sea life of all kinds darted around grand sculptures of Urisha and humans from nautical history.
As they came closer to the Palace, the five could begin to make out figures among the glowing walls going about their daily work and research. Unsin remembered that many who worked with or under Ulukun had moved their permanent residence to the Palace after Ulukun’s banishment both in support of their actions, and for practicality since Ulukun's building projects meant more Urisha could live closer to where they worked on Earth.
Some of the Urisha paused to wave at the team’s craft as it passed, and Isangbe and Omanja waved back excitedly.
“I never got a chance to come down here during my training,” Isangbe said as they maneuvered underneath a crystalline archway, it was quite relieving to see his youthful excitement was still hiding in his larger body, “the Palace really is spectacular!”
“Mum always has brilliant construction ideas, so I’ve asked her to build me a Palace just as amazing as this one on the moon one day!” Omanja responded and then began explaining what different buildings they passed were for.
“Remember why we're here, Isangbe,” Unsin interrupted, “Keep an eye out for anything untoward. And Omanja; you’re here at your grandmother's request as our guide, so focus only on what's relevant.”
Sesewo rolled his eyes and Uranyin chuckled softly.
Their craft went down under the sea floor beneath Palace before rising up to the water’s surface in an interior dock. The security Urisha on duty there welcomed them.
“Good afternoon, Bound Urisha Unsin, welcome to Ulukun's Palace,” the Urisha smiled.
“Idakun. Its good to see you again,” Unsin looked at him with narrowed eyes, mildly annoyed, “I see you’re enjoying your stay here, since you rejected my offer for transfer back to the Oruka.”
“I like it here, Ulukun treats me well,” Idakun said, defiantly.
Sesewo looked at Unsin and shook his head. It doesn’t matter what Idakun was implying, now was not the time.
“I see,” Unsin said, walking past the guard, “Well then, we shall be heading on our way. Omanja will take us where we need to go.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Idakun called after her, “you have a guide to take you to Ulukun's office.”
They walked through the door where they found a familiar figure adorned with more jewelry and gemstones than seemed possible, in certain light she was hard to look at.
“Ije!” Omanja ran up and hugged the Urisha, causing her jewelry to jingle with the force.
“Mum wants to see you, run along,” Ije replied patting Omanja on the back. Omanja
released her, skipped a few steps and then floated off down the corridor.
“It's great to see you again, Ije,” Unsin smiled.
“It's been a long, long time hasn’t it, my friends,” Ije laughed, hugging Unsin, Sesewo, and Uranyin.
“Why don’t you come see us anymore?” Sesewo asked.
“For the same reason you don’t come and see me! My onus keeps me ever so busy. Also, last time I was on the Oruka for more than a day, I almost got my head shot off during that human invasion. Day trips are all you’re getting out of me. Now, come this way.”
They walked through several winding corridors lined with artifacts from across the world.
“I recognize that necklace,” Uranyin said peering into an alcove housing a thick gold chain with a particularly large ruby pendant dangling from its centre, “It was on the neck of that King I… dealt with a hundred years ago.”
Ije looked at him bemused, shrugged, then carried on walking.
“You're Isangbe, right?” Ije said looking at the tall figure, “you’re a lot bigger than they said you were. I hear you’ve done some impressive stuff even though you’re barely over one hundred.”
“I just try to do what’s right,” Isangbe said shyly.
“Good answer. You’ll do good as the Urisha of Justice when your time comes,” Ije said, “You know you remind me of-“
“Are we almost there yet?” Unsin interrupted. “I’ve been counting these turns, and we’ve definitely looped back on ourselves multiple times, Ije.”
Unsin knew it had been a bad idea to bring Omanja. Ulukun was no doubt being given all information pertinent to this mission right now, while Ije stalled for time.
“Yeah, yeah, ever the quick one aren't you Unsin. Ulukun's office is just round this corner,” Ije said smirking. They stopped at an ornate door, covered in carved dolphins, turtles, and crustaceans.
“But just a word of warning - Ulukun has grown increasingly sarcastic during their imprisonment, please bear with them," Ije reached up and knocked the door twice before opening it and letting them in. She did not follow.
The round room was lined with bejeweled bookshelves from top to bottom. Around its edge was a tiled ring that could be walked on, but most of the room was taken up by a large dark pool. From the centre of the pool Unsin could see several red-hot glowing chains stretching out of the water and rising up to the ceiling. The room appeared empty.
“Is anybody here?” Sesewo whispered.
“Yes, I can smell a fourth person in here with us,” Uranyin said.
“What do we do?” Isangbe turned to Unsin.
“We call,” she replied, then in a loud voice shouted, “Prime Urisha Ulukun, we wish to speak with you!”
The surface of the water rippled slightly, then became increasingly agitated as a tall figure slowly rose from beneath the water's surface. Attached to the figure's neck, wrists, and hair were glowing hot manacles connected to the chains that were fastened to the ceiling. The figure looked up and hidden within the shadows of their long hair, a smiling face could be identified.
“Young Unsin, a pleasure to see you after all this time.” Ulukun said, their slow calming voice bouncing around the room, “and what do we have here? Isangbe, the young Urisha who saved my mother, but also caused the death of my good friend Uru. And I see you’ve also brought Sesewo and Uranyin. Four of the deadliest Urisha alive right now are in my room. How… unnerving. One might wonder what the purpose of your visit really is.”
“We have simply come for answers, Ulukun," Unsin said walking forward to the water’s edge.
“Answers?” Ulukun laughed and walked closer to Unsin. Isangbe’s mouth dropped open in surprise as he noticed Ulukun was walking on the water itself, “then why not see Arunmila. After all, The Tome knows all.”
“Even his reach does not stretch to your kingdom," Unsin responded.
“Interesting, that, isn’t it?” Ulukun’s smile widened, and they turned around and began walking slowly around the pool, “I wonder, Unsin, what would you like to know? Do you wish to retire me, like you did your mother? Did you know it was I who suggested that you were chosen instead of Aya for Urisha of War? I have always been on your side.”
“I am an Urisha of Security, Ulukun. We are not engaged in war with anyone.”
“Is that so?” Ulukun laughed, “The wing on Isangbe’s wall would imply otherwise.”
“How did they-“ Isangbe began, but Unsin stuck out her hand motioning him to be silent.
“I will humour you no longer. What do you know of the Alympians, Ulukun?” Unsin asked.
“Unpleasant sounding bunch aren’t they? Omanja had been informing me of everything that happened on the Oruka. Can’t say I know much about them beyond her letters though.” A throne rose out of the water and Ulukun sat on it.
“How about their technology, especially their ability to make genetically altered humans?"
Ulukun smiled “that does sound intriguing. Sounds like something you’ve come up against before, Unsin, doesn’t it?”
“Yes - The Rejector,” Unsin replied, “we have reason to think he was made here in an underwater complex by Alympians and Urisha working together. The sea is your domain, you know everything that happens here!”
“Is that an accusation, my dear?” Ulukun feigned offense, “are you saying I created The Rejector? Why would I do that?”
“Enough of this! Ulukun, where is Aya and where is Ikkarias? I can sense the selective truth in your words,” Isangbe shouted.
Ulukun looked at Isangbe gleefully, “How interesting, I had heard that Uru trained you well...”
“Sesewo, turn on the Alympian sensor,” Unsin ordered.
“Yes, Unsin" Sesewo pulled out the small device and turned it on. The alarm beeped immediately, “It's not strong but the energy is all over this room it gets stronger in the direction of that door, though.” Sesewo motioned to the right.
“Let's go," Unsin said and began walking in the direction Sesewo had indicated, “Uranyin, watch our rear.”
“Leaving already? What a shame," Ulukun slowly rose out of their seat and began to follow the group at a distance their chains clanking with each step.
The group made their way down a winding corridor until they came to a large metal door. Unsin nodded to Sesewo and he pushed it open.
The four gasped in unison. Behind those doors was a massive laboratory. Urisha rushed to and fro, chattering and attending to the multiple control panels, chemicals, and pipes that littered the room. There were several person-sized test tubes and tanks in various corners of the room, but it was the one in the centre that really stood out. For floating within it was the one-winged figure of Ikkarias, and in front of that with her back to them stood Aya.
“Unsin, I see you’ve finally found me!” Aya turned around and lowered her clipboard, “Took you long enough."
“Sesewo, send a call to the security forces we are going to arrest everyone in this palace,” Unsin said, staring at her old rival furiously.
“Calm down, calm down,” Aya said as Ulukun walked past the group to stand by her side, “before you do anything as drastic as arresting everyone, let's talk this out like the good old friends that we are.”
“Talk? What is there to talk about?!” Uranyin shouted pointing at Ulukun and Aya. “You are plotting in secret! You are working against the Prime Council!”
Unsin placed her hand on Uranyin’s and slowly lowered it, “He’s not wrong, Aya. You must explain this, both you and Ulukun. Because this doesn’t make sense at all.”
“Okay. Let me help you understand. I will give you the short version of events…” Ulukun said and perched on a lab stool, “By the way, you really should have brought a scribe. This is a great story.”
“When I was a young river Urisha - not much older than Isangbe - I happened across a small underwater cavern. In there I found a large egg. I had no idea what it was, but I monitored it for decades while it grew, studying and trying to understand it because I could tell it wasn’t of this Earth. As you can guess I was horrified when it turned out to be The Dark Serpent. It burst out of the earth, began attacking us all, so on, so forth.”
“You knew and you never told us? So many of our friends and so many humans died fighting that thing!” Sesewo shouted.
“And we mourned them, and we moved on. Pay attention,” Ulukun said with annoyance, “Now not long after we slayed it and the rebuilding had begun, I started my own investigation into how it had got here. What I found was astonishing - A portal leading to another universe was hidden within our very own planet. So I went through it.
“On the other side was another earth, and a race of custodians like us who dwelt on a mountain. Mighty warriors – conquerors known as the Alympians. They were also masters of science. There was a third species there, not Alympian, but not human either. The Alympians invited me to partner with them to help them take our Earth. They in turn would leave me to rule as their vassal. I agreed to the deal, provided they show me how to create augmented humans. This of course worked well for me. I had often clashed with the Primes concerning how we should carry out our Onus. I knew that I would be a Prime one day, but never a Primarch. As a Prime, I wouldn’t have the power to change things, so I agreed to their deal and later Aya, who shared my vision, joined me. We planned to double-cross them of course - but that would come later.
“Time passed and I, unfortunately, lost my temper, flooded the world, and ended up chained to the sea floor. But Aya could still move freely. The Alympians helped us create The Rejector using a boy Aya left for dead after a storm. I gave him power and training and sent him to invade the Oruka; he would weaken the Oruka, and the Alympians would come after. However Unsin, you are a formidable Urisha. The Rejector failed to cause significant damage and Aya had to burn him to oblivion to cover our tracks. Meanwhile, there was a power shift with the Alympians and they lost their interest in conquest, effectively calling off the deal.”
“Yes, Herakless mentioned all Alympians want peace barring a small faction,” Unsin said.
“Small? Try half the Alympians. These two factions are constantly at each other’s throats. The Alympians are more divided and weaker than you think - an identity crisis of sorts. The Conqueror faction told us the portal would close soon and they would not reopen it, but they said they would send a ship through space loaded with augmented humans to help us take the Oruka.”
“Instead, they crashed and you got two Alympians in a stasis pods,” Sesewo inserted.
“Exactly. What a joke,” Ulukun shook their head in annoyance, “Aya did what she could to try and help them remove Emaja so that Aya could become Primarch legitimately, but Ikkarias couldn’t even pull that off. Even with Omanja in there creating blind spots and holes in your security, Ikkarias still couldn’t finish the job. What a disappointment. We’ve found a better use for him now as you can see."
Ulukun motioned to the unconcious figure in the tank, "Once we figure out the augmentation process, we’ll just take the Oruka ourselves. And we shall be the new leaders of the Urisha.”
“I can’t believe you Ulukun. You’ve been scheming this for over a thousand years, just so that you can be Primarch?” Unsin said in disbelief.
“Just so I can be Primarch? Unsin don’t be so naïve. I don’t care about position. I am Urisha. I want what you want: BALANCE. To serve The Grand Purpose and have this world work as it should. It’s just that the world would work much better if we intervened more and if the humans served us rather than us serving them.” Ulukun stood up and pointed at Unsin and her team, “And I know you know it. The system hasn’t worked – Not as well as it should.”
Ulukun began pacing backward and forwards, Unsin could tell that they were starting to get worked up. The air became humid and the liquid in the tubes and tanks began to float, even the sweat on her brow was starting to drift from her face.
“How many times has mankind driven itself to near extinction? How many animals and plants have we lost never to be seen again? And we just watch it happen? One augmented human managed to turn an entire generation on us, one augmented human and his supporters was able to break into OUR homes and kill OUR brothers and sisters. And we’re supposed to protect this world from external forces? We can’t even protect ourselves from the humans.” Ulukun stopped pacing and put their face right up to Unsin’s.
“We are weak, Unsin. We are vulnerable and our entire planet is suffering because of it. I know you feel the same. The old ways have failed us. Our elders would rather patter about investigating and holding feasts than take the fight to our enemies. I will change that - we will change that. Join us and we shall become even greater than the bound, praised and prime Urisha of former generations. We shall create an order superior in every way.”
“I hate that you were the cause of Uru's death. I miss him every day.” Isangbe said ”But I see what you were trying to show me, Aya. You knew that he trained me to listen to the old ways, I made my decisions based on the old ways, and it got him killed.”
“A painful lesson, but I am glad that you understood it. I did it to show you that the old ways do not work, that they are too soft. Will you join us young one? I can see how powerful you have become.”
“Your way is the only way that I think will be prepared for the troubles ahead. Strength, power and order will be what will save this world. I will join you.”
“What is this?” Uranyin screamed in shock, “How can you turn on the Primarchs - on all Urisha? Unsin speak some sense into the boy.”
Unsin said nothing. Sesewo turned to her with fear in his eyes for the first time in centuries, “Unsin, they are not wrong, the Urisha have fallen on hard times these past one thousand years. Change is needed. But surely we can’t turn on the other Primes and Primarchs. What should we do?”
Turning Point 3: The One Who Dwells Below
-Join Prime Urisha Ulukun in rebelling against the Primes and Primarchs,
-Reject Ulukun’s offer and escape the palace.