And here we go — with another Chapter of Worlds Rising: Rebellion. Or, to be exact, with part 1 of chapter 3. Confused? No need! It’s just that I realized I won’t be able to translate a whole chapter AND make pictures for it every week o.O
So I decided to chop chapters into nice little bite-sized chunks for you to enjoy XD
Worlds Rising: Rebellion
Chapter 3, Part 1
The days following the Return meant nothing but work for the villagers. Rain season had started, more than one circulation early, and it was pouring almost round-the-clock. Many of the older huts needed mending, with roofs leaking and weathered clay walls crumbling. After days and days of rain the underground began to wash away in some cases, so everybody rushed in to help secure them.
Mother Marja needed a new house altogether, where she could live with her sons again, even if it was only for Raman and Ashok. Her second eldest son, Farid, was still missing, and the eldest, Tarek, didn’t want to move back in. Most unexpectedly, Joram, too, decided to stay with Tarek and the guys instead of with his mother.
Joram had changed, not only on the outside. As a kid he used to be a real live wire, half a head shorter than Abbida and a couple of quarter circulations younger. Back then, after finishing up with the daily chores, all he ever did was run around with the other silly kids, and while Abbida had long since noticed changes in her body, he was still playing marbles. It wasn’t until more than a whole linear later that he started showing some interest in girls. Very much to Abbida’s annoyance, because from then on out he would hover around her, actually believing that some day she would surely fall for his goofy pick-up lines.
Today, he seemed to have forgotten all about that. She might as well not even exist, as far as he was concerned. Not, that he was paying more attention to any of the other girls–or anybody for that matter. Ever since the Return, he kept to himself–brooding, attending to his duties, but hardly ever speaking to anyone. After a while people stopped asking him questions or trying to get closer to him; the only ones who wouldn’t let themselves be put off were his brothers. And pregnant Ilka. Of all people.
Though her belly was growing bigger every day, Ilka seemed dead set on claiming this new, handsome Joram for herself. Slowly, but steadily she worked her way into his attention and after a while people were getting used to seeing them together, with Abbida’s sister Latisha trailing close behind.
It just wasn’t fair. First, Cole had turned Abbida down, though he obviously thought her attractive, and Joram, who once wanted nothing, but to get all touchy-feely with her, had completely wiped her of his mind.
One thing changed for the better, though, even for Abbida: The returnees brought new skills and ideas for machines, that would make chores like washing laundry, grinding grains or lifting heavy burdens that much easier. Ashok claimed they operated on ancient technology, from way before the Downfall. Abbida didn’t know much about the past and deep down inside she suspected the elders liked to exaggerate things quite a bit. There was no denying, however, that many useful techniques had been lost in the shrouds of time.
Essentially, it was all a matter of using steam. By heating water and piping the steam to various turbines they were able to power more machines, much like they used to run them with water power. Only the water wheels took up way more space and could only be run by the stream. The steaming method worked in much smaller casings and practically anywhere. It was absolutely intriguing!
And then, there was the one big news that dwarfed anything else. That actually shook up Abbida’s believes to the point where she started to question everything she had ever known: among the returnees was one very quiet young man, Kyle. He was not from their village.
Kyle came from a different village.
The revelation came as a complete shock to Abbida. She hadn’t even known there was such a thing! Though, looking back, she felt kind of stupid for believing their village to be the only one. The founders had to have come from somewhere–with all this equipment that nobody even knew how to build nowadays. But, such things were never mentioned. It was one of the strictest taboos of all, even the smallest child knew that. And Abbida had never really dwelt on it.
Kyle didn’t speak.
Ashok told them he’d stopped speaking long ago. He didn’t say why.
There was no way Kyle could return to his own home–wherever that might be. It remained a mystery, why he had even been stuck with the returnees. Maybe the invaders had mistaken him for one of theirs. Or maybe they had obliterated his village altogether, and he was the only one left.
The more Abbida thought about it, the more questions arose. Where had the men been taken? To what end? Who were those people? Where had they come from? She was dying for details, but whenever she would ask, even Ashok would close up and avoid her for days.
Of course the Recruiting was still–and would always be–the biggest taboo of all. For the past four linears those raids had been a constant threat. One never knew when they would fall upon them and drag some of the neighbors away. In the beginning, they took the young male adults, but later on the invaders would resort to adolescents, just after their voice break, when their limbs became stronger, and they started growing facial hair. Basically, they were taken away as soon as they became interesting.
Tarek and Cole had been the only males spared. Tarek for being considered too old for their purposes–whatever they were–but Cole had just kind of lucked out. If you might call it that. During the Invasion he had been severely injured by a shot in his leg, and by the time the invaders came to take him away, he was feverish and completely out of it.
Abbida could still picture his wife, Inez, racked with labor pains, pleading for his life. Nobody had expected the colonel to heed her, but after a lengthy debate with the same young officer who had helped Abbida and Inez before, he did finally spare Cole. Though Abbida never let herself be fooled to believe, the colonel had actually yielded to pleading or reasoning. Very likely, he just never thought it possible Cole would make it to the next day. Yet he did. By the time of the second raid, Inez and her child had already been dead, and Cole was left out for being too old. Abbida doubted, he considered himself lucky.
Now she regarded Cole’s profile, while he was brooding over one of Ashok’s charcoal drawings that lay spread out on the working bench in front of them. The latter half of the circulation the three of them had mostly spent working in the smithy. Leaning forward he pointed, “Look, we need more turbines here and… there. The more steam we produce, the more electricity the system will provide. We will be able to illuminate the whole village.”
“Oh, come on, Cole, think bigger!” Ashok exclaimed. “Electricity for lighting things is all well and good, but imagine the possibilities. We can actually move things with steam! Not only the turbines–but wheels! I’ve seen carts moving without any draft animals.”
“Without draft animals?” Abbida bend over the two of them, squinting her eyes, trying to decipher Ashok’s handwriting. “Wouldn’t you need to refill water all the time? And you’d need room to stack wood or coals–wouldn’t the cart be far too big?”
“And too heavy,” Cole nodded.
“No, no, look here… like this.” Swiftly and skillfully, Ashok added to the drawings. “The steam cools down, dripping into a tank, then, after redirecting it to… here… we can heat it up again. That way hardly any water is lost. Of course, you’re right, Abbida, we’d need to restock coals for the long reach. But, when would we ever need that?”
He looked up quizzically, out of nowhere stirring all kinds of completely untoward thoughts in her mind about his mysteriously dark eyes under thick, long lashes… Hastily, she tore her eyes off of his and back to the draft. What in the world was wrong with her, that all she ever thought about lately, was good-looking guys?! She felt herself blush, wishing the ground might just open up and swallow her whole. Instead, somebody saved her by tearing open the door from outside.
An elderly villager whom she only knew to be one of the council’s apparitors, stuck his head in, waving for Ashok and then quietly, yet insistently talking to him. Ashok sighed heavily, removed his leather apron and followed outside. Before closing the door he turned back, “Don’t wait up on me, this might take a while.”
Cole and Abbida exchanged worried glances.
Thank you for reading!
Parts 2 and 3 of chapter 3 will be published next Tuesday here in Joey’s Café.
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Shine your light into the world! <3