Chapter 1: Reboot

Chapter 1: Reboot

A Chapter by TheGrayOutcast

Chapter 1: Reboot


    Over the sands of the Desert of the Kings rise the ancient twisted spires of Cugluch and the famed Plated Keep. It was here, eons and eons ago, that most of the insect race was crushed by the furred and scaled warriors of The Reach, enraged by the past Queen's treachery and recklessness. Some say that before the War of the Stallion, Cugluch was surrounded by a humid and marshy environment, blanketed by a thick mist, cleansed in the 'pure fires' of the mammalian army and returned to the scorching, endless and rolling dune field that it is today.

    The reasons for the war are lost to the populace, their calm and ordered lives leading to complacency and ignorance. No one knows why the insects are slaves, they just are. No one knows why humans are in power, they just are. No one knows much of anything any more. Faith and magic have created too much of a simple life for anyone to wonder about the past. Who could complain about having slaves to tend to every need anyway? Certainly not the slaves, they're just simple-minded chitin-grinders. “Not a brain cell to knock together,” a Persian noble laughs, clapping his hands as a placid-eyed stag beetle gently peels and feeds a grape into his wobbling maw.

    Of course, the insects are much more intelligent than the soft-skinned give them credit for. They don't live in the beautiful, radial city of Cugluch, nor do they walk the halls of the Keep (at least, not without chains). Instead, they reside in the catacombs, digging out a life for themselves outside of the slave labour they are forced to call work. The catacombs themselves are even more impressive than the city. An elaborate network of twisting tunnels with no charted end. The walls are painted in a thin blue magic that shines bright enough to allow the diurnal species to navigate but dark enough to protect sensitive eyes. They have a culture and a livelihood much different to that above ground. Magic is practiced freely by the elders, breweries work overtime, exotic dancers fill up halls with men and women alike, commerce is done via trade and favours, escaping the materialistic and capitalist world above. Freedom and creativity take precedence over profit and possessions deep in the insect world.

    Despite the quite jovial and carefree existence outside of slavery, there are still extremists that believe in the past Queen's regime. “Plated to rule over the flesh! Magic over might!” cries a nimble-bodied dragonfly as he flitters from hall to hall, dropping leaflets on bars and patrons alike. His body weaves in and out of the crowds and into a darkened side corridor. He winds his way down a chipped staircase, rife with moss and lichen all contending for the faint light that covers the walls. Not many people look to the old tunnels, years of evolution have made many too bulky to even bother to try and the more slight of body are busy shaking their tails on stage. Unnoticed by anything, the dragonfly's path is unimpeded as he rushes down. The temperature drops a few degrees every flight of stairs and less and less light shines from above. For a moment, he stops and flicks his abdomen. A ball of cold fire hesitantly sparks into life and floats over his head, lighting the way forward. No plants grow on The Thousand Steps. They were the pathway to the breeding chambers in the time of the past Queen and the walls are decorated with gruesome depictions of violent childbirth and the sexual abuse of the warmlander slaves. The dragonfly's stomach churns as he darts through the corridors. In the distance, another ball of light illuminates the top of a shadowy figure with a long, thin proboscis emerging from underneath and thick swath of cloth. The two insects meet and shake hands briefly, each of their four arms initiating a separate action.

    “Well met, Brother Skkritch,” the weevil says under his breath. His voice is weedy like all others of his species. He tentatively feels around in Skkritch's bag, inhaling sharply as his hand comes across something of importance. “How did you find it?”

    “Overworld felines are stupid. They don't notice a courier like me. Especially a courier like me.” The pair share a brief laugh. Then there is a silence, broken by a strangled gasping sound. The weevil steps back from the twitching form of Skkritch the dragonfly and wipes his proboscis across his sleeve. He sighs and kicks the remains to the side of the corridor, into the shadows. Mould would eventually work its way through the body and leave nothing behind. That or the Spinners would find it to be a free meal. With the rustling of cloth over chitin, the weevil sweeps away from the body hurriedly, his hand clutched tightly around an awkwardly shaped package.

    It took the weevil almost an hour to traverse the labyrinthine passageways of the Old Cugluch catacombs. His goal was a simple one. A book in the library had told him of a device, hidden away under the city, way away from all of civilisation. A device, the book had said, that had changed the past Queen's luck during the War of the Stallion. From this contraption, she had learned secrets of another world, another lifetime. She had discovered something called 'technology'. The weevil-priest shuddered at the word. Technology had been banned ever since. 'An abomination', the warmlanders had called it. Metal interacting with metal, no magic or godly faith, only the simple push and pull of some unseen, unharnessed force. His heart fluttered. Something about this technology, this science, was powerful enough to destroy the Gate of Kings; the only barrier that could prevent the Plated hordes sweeping the warmlands. However, the secrets of the device had broken the Gate and soon it would bring the insect folk back to the top.

    The darkness finally starts to recede as a wide arching door spreads out before the weevil. His hand brushes against the stone work for a second as he admires the beautifully cut stonework. At a first glance, the door only seems to show filigree-fine spirals and shapes arranged in a random and abstract pattern. From further away though, the true terrible beauty of the old Queen shines forth. Her huge and simple wings are outstretched and draped in gossamer thin drapes, all encrusted with jewels that shine in the cold light of the weevil's fire. Her long white abdomen and pale dun thorax are entirely clad in a deceptively bright set of armour adorned with the skulls of a variety of her enemies. Badgers, humans, falcons, wolverines, snakes all stare listlessly off of the demonic beauty to the etched queen. In each of her thin fingered hands she brandishes a greatsword half the size of a wing. Even crafted in stone, the despair and death the blades had caused seems to permeate the corridor. The Queen was a perfect specimen. The strongest insect. Queen Alexandra. The Terrible, the Mighty, the Outcast, the Birdwing. All were names for the elegant beast now trapped in stone.

    A deft hand slides into the skull of a human swinging from the Queen's belt and a secret catch is slid open. The great doors swing open and reveal a hunched form curled up on a stone slab. The priest scurries across the vast floor of the hall and slips into a low backed chair before unwrapping his parcel. A hint of gold dances across the table in the light of his fire. The contents of the parcel are swiftly slid into a hole in the great figure that sprawls out before him. A light flickers on in the centre of the beast and winks twice at the weevil. His heart skips a beat as he gently presses the light. Clicks and whirrs startle the weevil as more lights appear all over the beast. Above the initial light, a square of navy light pours forth with a flashing green symbol. From underneath, a board with letters inscribed on raised platforms slips out daintily into the weevil's lap. Ominously, the green symbol moves, leaving letters in its wake.

    “REBOOT SYSTEM? Y/N?” it queries persistently, the flickering green symbol not once ceasing its machinations. Gripped by fear, the priest taps the 'Y' key. A moment of silence transpires before more grinding sounds fill the hall.

    “WELCOME, QUEEN ALEXANDRA,” the green words whisper. “PLEASE WAIT WHILE YOUR FILES ARE PROCESSED.”



© 2012 TheGrayOutcast


Author's Note

TheGrayOutcast
I can't appear to make indents properly...; I'm aware it's short but I find long chapters a) hard to write and b) a nightmare to read :3

My Review

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Featured Review

I have a few bits of advice i have for ya. Sentence variations and structures. Try to avoid repetition. For example, in the first paragraph "It was here that eons and eons ago that..." the sentence is fragmented. So try "It was here, eons and eons ago, that..." see what i mean? Also in the second paragraph you have two sentences that are identical, i see what you were trying to do with it, but it just doesn't feel right. Imagine your sentences like a river. First it flows calmly, then speeds up, waterfall! then calm again. Writing is never easy, it's like a gigantic equation! That being said, i really love the plot idea, the technical stuff comes with practice, but keep writing the story, because it's definitely a cool idea!

Posted 8 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

TheGrayOutcast

8 Years Ago

Mine actually has a protagonist in it! Crazy stuff going on this end right now!!! I think I should h.. read more
Matt Evans

8 Years Ago

Oh, wow! Over here its only 11 P.M. hahaha
TheGrayOutcast

8 Years Ago

I'll guess Florida then, cuz... That's a 5 hour difference from me.



Reviews

Looks like a interesting book to read.
I enjoyed this chapter.
100/100

Posted 8 Years Ago


I have a few bits of advice i have for ya. Sentence variations and structures. Try to avoid repetition. For example, in the first paragraph "It was here that eons and eons ago that..." the sentence is fragmented. So try "It was here, eons and eons ago, that..." see what i mean? Also in the second paragraph you have two sentences that are identical, i see what you were trying to do with it, but it just doesn't feel right. Imagine your sentences like a river. First it flows calmly, then speeds up, waterfall! then calm again. Writing is never easy, it's like a gigantic equation! That being said, i really love the plot idea, the technical stuff comes with practice, but keep writing the story, because it's definitely a cool idea!

Posted 8 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

TheGrayOutcast

8 Years Ago

Mine actually has a protagonist in it! Crazy stuff going on this end right now!!! I think I should h.. read more
Matt Evans

8 Years Ago

Oh, wow! Over here its only 11 P.M. hahaha
TheGrayOutcast

8 Years Ago

I'll guess Florida then, cuz... That's a 5 hour difference from me.

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Added on July 11, 2012
Last Updated on July 13, 2012
Tags: Desert, Kings, Magic, Tech, Science, anthropomorphous, war, fantasy, adventure, insects, mammals, birds, fish


Author

TheGrayOutcast
TheGrayOutcast

Herne Bay, Kent, United Kingdom



About
Name: Jordan Board Age: 16 (22/8/1995) Gender: Male Sexuality: Gay Personality: Basically, I'm bitchy, controlling and argumentative most of the time. But I can be kind and funny... apparently. W.. more..

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