(Ashes of the Realm 1)
The Five Provinces have been left behind by the Stars Realm and civil war has broken out. Hundreds of thousands of planets have been decimated, and millions of others blasted back into primitive technology. Trillions have died, and the killing is far from over.
After two thousand years the survivors are barely eking out an existence on what remains of the once powerful Realm. Out of the ashes, a young Human will arise that will fight for the survival of his community and the giant Zord that fly the skies of the once powerful Provincial Capital, El Prado. The radioactive wastelands and millions of giant carnivores are the least of the communitys problems. Raiders from the stars are what must be faced by the brave archers to survive. Thousands have been killed and the raiders are coming again.
Ten year old Scotty Robbins looked up at the stars and imagined what it must have been like to travel among them. Night was falling, and the giant ging trees swayed in the breeze as the warm temperature of the day began giving way to the cool night air. He often came out to the hill overlooking the wastelands to stargaze. The hill was one of the few places where stars could be seen. If not for the desolation of the blast zone, the view would have been blocked by the forest surrounding the community. Stars could be seen in the community clearing, but the glare from lights and fires hitting overhead trees prevented seeing most of them.
So he came to the hill to look up at a sky filled with more stars than could ever be counted. He had tried when he was six to count the stars in a small portion of the sky and gave up. Now he just stared at them and wished there was a way to go out to see the beautiful universe above him.
He knew most of those stars were distant. According to information in the learning center, the closest star was only six light years away. Only six years! Could have been a million and it would still be out of reach. He had also learned that there was an intelligent species that once lived at that star. He wondered if they were still there. He marveled that the ancients could just step from one planet to another.
Now he stared at a sky full of stars that blinked at him with colors that were beautiful. The ging trees were beginning to bloom, and the smell of their blossoms filled the air as the night breeze blew through the branches of the two hundred foot trees. The light yellow-colored grass felt good under his back and he thought about his mother. He still missed her.
She was beautiful, and possessed the kindest spirit in the communities. The community loved her, and she brought smiles to everyone she met. Even the gunds that lived around the community allowed her to pet them, and they never allowed anyone to come close. Those six-legged beasts were suspicious by nature and only stayed around the community to be fed. They were invaluable as an early warning system. Anything out of the ordinary that approached the community would start them howling and they could be heard for miles. They learned the smell of everyone that lived in the forest, and even newborns were noted rather quickly by the creatures. The gunds also learned the community was a good source for a tasty meal. They were territorial, and only one family of them occupied the area surrounding the two communities. Any others that invaded their domain were attacked, and since the communitys gunds were healthy, few could challenge them. The community knew the birth of a newborn immediately as it was announced by the howls of the gunds. It usually took an hour for the noise to abate so everyone just gave up trying to sleep and celebrated the new birth.
Scotty looked up at the stars and knew not everything up there was good. Five years earlier a starship had come to the planet and launched landing craft. One of those had come to the community and appeared overhead before the gunds could give warning. Everyone ran for the forest but one of the invaders fired a blaster beam at a fleeing group and his mother was gone.
He was with his father in the forest gathering pods from the grellup vines, heard the sizzle of the beam, and saw the ensuing fire. The invaders landed and killed everyone they encountered. They searched every home and finally determined there was nothing of value to steal. The learning center was spared due to it being hidden deep in the forest. The landing party demonstrated their displeasure of leaving empty handed by burning every building in the settlement. They eventually boarded their ship and disappeared into the afternoon sky.
His father never recovered from his mothers death. The community mourned her loss more than the burning of their homes. His father went missing six months after Madeline died when he walked into the forest without his bowgun. Everyone understood why he longed to escape his constant grief. His few remains were buried next to his wife.
Scotty was raised by the community. Everyone considered him one of their own and he slept wherever he chose. Every home was his. The community saw his mothers spirit in him and actually wanted him to be a part of their family.
Scotty looked up at the stars again and knew that once there was a kingdom of beauty and light where all lived in peace and prosperity. All of those stars shining down on him were part of that Realm, and he had learned the lessons of its loss from information stored in the learning center. He first heard of it during the community gatherings where the history of the great loss was told. He shook his head and knew the loss of that Realm was a bigger loss than his mother. She, and all the others killed by invaders, would still be alive except for the treachery of the Evil Dukes.
I figured you were here.
Scotty looked up and saw Jingo standing next to him. Jingo stretched out on the grass and joined him looking up at the sky that was now ablaze as the night had deepened. They sat in silence and stared at the splendor of the heavens. Both of them had their hands on their bowguns, and Jingo removed one of his four hands from his second bowgun to prop himself up.
Jingo gave a heavy sigh and said, I dont understand why you come here so much. It only reminds me of what weve lost.
Scotty turned and looked at his best friend and smiled, Jingo, the light from some of those stars up there left millions of years before the Holy Realm was created. I look up and see ancient history. It makes me wonder how many civilizations have come and gone since that light began its journey. You look up and see what weve lost. I look up and see what is possible again. If it existed, it can be recreated.
Jingo shook his head, Not in our lifetime. We dont even have an aircraft, much less a starship. After seeing those that come in starships, Im not certain Id want one.
Scotty laughed, Youd jump on one in a second. Scotty looked back up at the stars, You want to find others like you out there.
Jingo sighed, I wonder if any of my kind survived.
When the Stars Realm disappeared thousands of years earlier, all teleportation devices ceased operating. El Prado was a Provincial Capital and thousands of races had representatives on the planet. There was a large contingent of Humans, Glod, and Cainth in the commercial trade centers who were now stranded on the planet.
Stephen Delgoto was raised on El Prado and was the Senior Trade Representative. He knew that if all teleportation devices had stopped operating throughout the Realm, there was no way for anyone to return to their home worlds. He knew from working in the trade industry, which sold and manufactured starships to all the members, that modern ships only used teleportation systems. Once the planet discovered it was isolated, someone was going to be blamed.
He knew Humans, Glod, and Cainth were going to be blamed for the coming depression because of their close ties to the Stars Realm. The Duke was a childhood friend, and Stephen asked him for help. The Duke was angry, but allowed Delgoto to gather all the Humans and Cainth he could find and fly them to an island just offshore of the main continent. Stephen attempted to get the Glod stranded on the planet to join him, but they insisted on staying behind to protect the others. The Glod donned their swords and waited at the financial center each day for what they knew was coming. The chaos following the loss of the Provinces Searchers and the inability of the government to contact the Stars Realm kept attention away from the three hundred fifty six Humans and two hundred thirty three Cainth as they were moved to the island. The Duke was true to his word and did not reveal the existence of the community. The Duke intended to use them as hostages if things went downhill. He also planned to use them as scapegoats if the population tried to blame him for what happened.
Delgoto had the heavy floaters that moved them to the island begin gathering stores to provide for the communitys survival. He remained behind to distract the Government. He used all of the Realms remaining currency to purchase everything he could to insure the communitys well being. One of the last things sent to the island was a complete learning center containing everything the Realm had learned. It was shielded by an advanced camouflage screen, which made it invisible to electronic scans.
The final two items brought to the island were two large sa ...