Kit Elstock had already wrapped up everything on her schedule for the day, but the evening would bring a round of social obligations that came with being head of the Archeology Department. She believed this time it was a reception at an art gallery intended to woo potential corporate donors. But while the status and pay of being highly placed in the Athae Academy meant she had a comfortable life, Kit missed the actual work – the exploration and discovery – of archeology. And so instead of heading home to freshen up and change into a fancy gown and thoroughly impractical high heels, she remained at her desk examining two incredibly rare samples of pre-human text.
Long had the world known that Thelios had been inhabited by at least two sentient races before the arrival of humans, but the best minds in academia still were not certain how to interpret the evidence that had been found. It would have been the height of arrogance to assume life on Thelios evolved in any way similar to life on Earth. It was difficult enough trying to interpret the artwork and architecture discovered in remote corners of the world, but text was an order of magnitude more confusing. The two samples now sitting side-by-side on Kit’s desk were perhaps the most valuable samples in the world – fairly lengthy passages found on separate continents but both believed to be roughly the same age. But those seemed to be the only similarities between the texts, and unless a Thelian Rosetta Stone suddenly materialized on her desk, Kit doubted she would learn anything in these few stolen moments.
“Excuse me, Professor Elstock.” Kit was so focused on the markings before her that the unexpected voice from her intercom made her jump.
She pressed a button on her desk. “Yes, Pete. I suppose you are reminding me that I’m supposed to go play nice with the executives soon?”
The first-year intern acting as her office assistant chuckled. “I’m afraid so, Professor – just as you asked.”
“Very well – just give me a moment.” Kit closed the comm connection and rose from her seat with a sigh. She carefully picked up the text samples and carried them to her office safe. She closed the door, set the lock and returned to her desk as the office door opened. “Is the car ready, Pete?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Peter Jorsan replied and held the door open for his boss. “It’s waiting downstairs. Have a lovely evening, ma’am.” He followed her out of the office, closing the door behind him.
◊ ◊ ◊
We have done it! Alanu is cast down and her crown is claimed! Our victory is complete – the Alfath reign is broken and our people will never have to bow to them again!
I am conveying the crown to the stronghold we’ve made for it. Would that we could destroy it altogether but I agree that the destruction of even the lesser implements could devastate the entire world. It is far better that we instead ensure that none can access the stolen magics and abuse them as the Alfath have for so many generations.
Already the Alfath are fleeing – using what little magic they still hold to leave this world. The volunteers you had requested are already in pursuit. When I explained the mission and the sacrifice it would entail, I had assumed we would be fortunate if we found even a small portion of the required force. Instead I had to turn away three-fold the numbers we required. Such is the heart of the Sprytath – that we would willingly exile ourselves to ensure the safety of others.
Any Alfath who remain will be easily found – as their magic fades they will have little means of shielding themselves from us. The Sprytath are free!
◊ ◊ ◊
We are destroyed.
The Sprytath have already struck down Alanu’s Chosen and stolen their Favors. Now they have struck at Alanu herself. She is fallen and our strength broken. It will be another generation before we may raise up another to take her place. Our magic will fade before then, leaving us vulnerable to the whims of those faithless curs.
I knew we were too lenient with them! We should have destroyed them while at the height of our powers!
Our brethren flee this wretched world to seek a new one to shape and rule, but we four remain. Our hate keeps us here – demanding what remains of our magics and our lives that we may sour the Sprytath victory. We have taken one of the Sprytath – one of Faytan’s lochfa. Her life force is strong – she will make an excellent sacrifice. The Sprytath have destroyed us, but we will drag them to oblivion with us.
Let the Sprytath find this record and know it was the Alfath who killed them.