StarFox Fan Fiction ❯ The End of Cerinia ❯ Chapter 2 ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

The End of Cerinia
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Fox, never have never will. All publicly recognizable characters belong to Nintendo. The character known as Halath is of my own creation.
Author Notes:
-- This will be used for scene breaks and for when the story switches to another character, but it does not mean that a new section of the story has started.
xXx This will identify where each paragraph breaks.
`Character Thought'
Beta Reader: Catsithx
Chapter 2:
The next day passed with out incident as everyone worked to prepare for the feast that was to come. Like every year, the entire collection of Jungle Tribes would celebrate a day of memory and renewal. They would honor the dead and pray for another year of survival. Since the shrine where the ritual of memory itself would take place was closest to the Jungle Rise Tribe, it was agreed by the many tribes that they would host the event. Because of this, all the Jungles Tribes would send a few people far ahead of the others to carry their donations of food and drink to the feast and morning meal the following day. While all of the tribes would share in the feast, only a total of sixteen would make the journey as per tradition. While it had long since been forgotten why this tradition was started or even why the ritual had started, it still continued through the many generations that it had been around. The group sent up to the shrine would then spend the night there and perform the ritual with the morning sun as it had been done for countless years before.
The chiefs all met in Chief Varwas' tent as the sun began its slow fall from the sky before they would begin the hike over to the shrine and perform the ritual. Knowing that more water would be needed to make tea and a few other drinks, Halath had volunteered to help the young ones go gather the water and watch over them. Krystal and Luna had both chosen to accompany him on the task of escorting the children. Ranging from 8 to 12, the kids proved to be a handful at times, but all of them knew what needed to be done.
Halath was busy filling the last of the larger water pouches while a few others filled the last of the smaller ones in the waterfall.
“We're almost ready.” Halath shouted.
“Hurry up, Halath. You know that you still have to get ready for that hike up to the shrine.” Luna shouted back from higher up the cliff where a number of the group was already starting back up the cliff.
“I know.” Halath shouted back as he sealed the water pouched. Slinging the large pouch over his back, he helped a young girl seal her small water pouch before double-checking the other pouches. “We're ready.”
It was a short walk back up the mountain to the terrace of Jungle Rise. Everyone was carrying a number of smaller water pouches, but Halath, Krystal, and Luna carried the biggest ones. As they rounded the group rounded the last corner on the path they used, they made it onto the terrace to see some of the festivities already starting. Everyone doubled their pace because the sooner that they delivered the pouches to the water keeper, the sooner they could join in on the activities.
As the younger ones placed their pouches on the pile of other pouches waiting to be used or properly stored, they charged over to play a few games with the younger ones of the other Jungle Tribes.
“Halath.” Halath's mother called from the chief's tent. Like all the other females, she wore a simple top for the village. Her blue fur was a much lighter color then the others, almost matching the sky. Her eyes were the same as well. “We need you for a minute.”
“Hey Krystal.” Halath looked over at her as she laid down her large pouches with the others that would be put to use in the morning.
“Yea?” Krystal looked over at him.
“Can you come with me for a minute. I'd like it if you would serve as my partner for this trip.” Halath informed her.
“Me?” Krystal asked. Although it wasn't shunned or odd in any real way, females other then the mates of the chief's were rarely invited as a partner for the trip. It was a long hike and the road passed straight through raptor grounds.
“Well, you are one of my few friends. Besides, I'd rather not start a fight by asking any of the other females and the males just don't get along with me too well.” Halath explained.
“Wait, how would inviting one of the other females start a fight?” Krystal asked.
“You recall the last time I asked a group of the females from our generation for a sparring partner.” Halath remarked. It was just a few weeks ago that Krystal had been down with a sickness preventing her from sparring with Halath like they had done every weekend. Halath decided to ask one of the other females for a sparring partner since Luna was away and Krystal was down. Since the whole group wanted to by his sparring partner for some reason unknown to Halath, he got dragged into a round robin dueling tournament.
“Oh yea. I remember that. You got your butt kicked by Lily and Anna that day.” Krystal smiled.
“Don't remind me.” Halath said remembering all too well the brace for his leg he had to wear at the end of the day for accepting that dueling tournament.
“But still, wouldn't asking me to join you start a fight anyway among the other females?” Krystal asked. Surely if asking any other girl from their generation would start a fight, why wouldn't asking her not start one too.
“Asking to keep you as my sparring partner never started a fight before.” Halath explained.
“You don't pose a threat to the others.” Luna stated from behind them startling both of them from her noiseless appearance in the hut.
“Threat?” Krystal asked. Halath also appeared to be confused by this.
“Yea, most of them want Halath as their mate. He is the son of the chief after all. And besides, he's trained beside us perfecting his strength like we work to perfect ours.” Luna stated.
“Well, I guess that would explain why a bunch of them keep making comments towards me.” Halath said out loud forgetting that Luna and Krystal were there.
“Comments?” Luna asked, her left ear sticking up to hear him better.
“Uh, don't ask.” Halath quickly replied trying to avoid the subject.
Both Krystal and Luna laughed at this knowing all too well about some of the comments the females gave Halath.
“Anyway, Krystal if you want to come, then let's go.” Halath stated looking back at his father's hut.
“Sure.” Krystal replied.
As the feast came to close, the four Jungle Tribe chiefs, their mates and a pair of people from each of the four tribes gathered up their gear. Everyone knew it was a long walk and they would reach the shrine by sun down. The tribes all gave the best of luck as they set off on the jungle trail leading up the mountain. Everyone was packed for a night up the mountain summit where the shrine was resting.
For the first hour, the trip was easy except for a few fallen trees. The group made short work of moving the trees aside freeing the path from the obstacles upon it. For the most part, the group was split into three groups. The chief's themselves lead the way talking amongst themselves while their mates followed behind, also sharing with each other. Lastly, the extra pair from each tribe made up the final group and talked with other. While Halath hung back just a bit bringing up the rear and keeping more or less to himself, Krystal had picked up the attention of the other six member of their group, all of which were males roughly her age.
“Well hello there. What's your name?” One of the males asked.
“Come on. You know she won't just accept anyone. She's from the Jungle Rise tribe. She'll only accept the best.” Another commented moving to place his arm over her shoulder. Krystal stopped him before he had the chance however.
“Looks like she doesn't like you.” A third one commented.
“Just leave me alone. I'm not looking for a mate.” Krystal stated.
“What? Oh, you must still be a little young.” Another one incorrectly concluded. “Which explains her small body.”
“I'll have you know that I'm almost seventeen years thank you.” Krystal countered not very impressed with the crowd she was traveling with.
Having to put up with their various comments for a while longer convinced Krystal to just stay back with Halath. With Halath being the son of the chief of the Jungle Rise Tribe, the other didn't want to risk bothering him despite the fact that he had no magic. His father not only controlled the Jungle Rise Tribe, but also had a moderate voice in the three tribes as well.
“I really hate boys sometimes. Why is that so few of them act like you Halath?” Krystal asked just loud enough for the other males to hear.
“Probably because they don't know how hard you work.” Halath replied.
The group continued on stopping only once at a small midway hut that had been abandoned long ago, but still served as the halfway point between the shrine and the Jungle Rise village. The group stopped here and ate a meal before continuing. Before this point, the traveling was easy, but as of the midway point, the group would enter raptor grounds and then have the small hike up the highest point of the summit where the shrine rested.
Everyone all drew out their staves as they continued down the path. Luck was with them as there no raptors to worry about along the way. With their minds preoccupied, the others left Krystal alone for a while. As the group finished up, the all prepared to enter the raptor grounds.
The path was quite, light filtered through the thick jungle canopy above them. Aside from the dense underbrush, there wasn't much to see. Still, this dense piece of jungle is why the raptor's nested here every year when it came to lay their eggs. There were only a few possible walkways here, but everyone stayed on alert. Raptors were by far the greatest of all the predators in the jungle. The females tended to hunt in packs, always targeting the weaker prey. Other then the occasion sound of the songbirds, all was went well.
After having passed unharmed through the raptor grounds, the group came to the last part of their hike, but it was already late, as the sun had just set. There was only one path leading up the highest point of the summit, a small path that spiraled up around the tip of the mountain. While it may not have been a long fall down if one fell, the number of jagged rocks in between each ring would still prove very painful and possible fatal. It was fortunate that the moon had already surfaced and lit up the entire tip of the mountain.
After the last hour long walk up the path, the group was finally at the summit standing before the shrine. No one had ever figured out how the shrine had been built, the entire structure was made of metal and never seemed to wear away. The shrine was a bright cobalt in color and except for five large spires that rested on the sides, was a large flat platform. In the center of the platform was a large circular indentation that appeared to be split into five equal parts. As for the five spires, all of them were bent toward the center of the shrine. Like the platform, it was a bright shade of cobalt, each on tipped with a large emerald orb. Surrounding the platform were several small cobalt posts all tipped with the same emerald spheres as the spires. All of these spheres seemed to glow just bit in the moonlight.
Now standing before the shrine, Halath and Krystal felt a strange sense that they couldn't explain. It was calming, yet powerful as though they meditating. In any event, it was safe.
“We'll set up our tents and then have supper. Given that the sun has already set, we should head to bed shortly after that.” Varwas informed the group. Everyone went about setting up their tents. Using three long, but slightly flexible rods set up their tents. Thanks to their keystone that had been made of stone, the tents were pretty much massive tripods. Each one was then covered with a massive animal hide covering that covered up a little over three quarters of each tent leaving one side open allowing passage into and out of the tent.
Soon enough, all eight tents were up, each opening positioned in the direction of the sunrise. After a quick meal, every went to their tents using animal hide sleeping mats and covers. All of the chiefs were partnered with their mates while the others all partnered however. Krystal quickly chose to partner with Halath not wanting to deal with the others.
As the sun began to rise, it's light woke Varwas. Knowing that the ritual would have to be performed soon, he went about waking the others. When he came to Halath's and Krystal's tent, he was partially shocked to Krystal lying back to back with Halath with part of his cover resting over Krystal. He'd didn't blame her seeking the extra warmth, it did get a bit chilly up on the summit and she had a lighter coat of fur then most others of the tribe.
After everyone had woken up, they had a quick breakfast of berries that had been gathered prior to their hike. The sun had already risen up enough so that it was just barely still resting the horizon. The time to perform the ritual had come.
Three of the four chiefs all took a spot in front of a spire while two other males took a place in front of the remaining two. Varwas took his place in the very center of the platform while the remainder of the party all took a place around the platform, two between each spire. Of course, Krystal stood next to Halath.
“It is time.” Varwas shouted. All five the members standing before a spire began to gather their energy as sparked flew from the gems in their gloves. One by one, each one charged and fired a stream of electricity into the orb of the spire they stood before. With each one that was taking on energy, the platform began to glow just a bit. As the last beam of electricity hit, the outer ring of the indented portion of the platform began to glow brightly. A light green cover of light traveled down the indented portion of the platform until it reached the center. Varwas took the staff he had been holding and firmly jabbed the bottom of it onto the platform where the cover of light had centered itself. The light travel up the staff before reaching the gemstone at the top where it flashed a vibrant golden before all the light died down. The five members who were channeling their electrical spells into the orbs ceased their action as the ritual came to a close.
“I have never seem shrine glow that much before. I guess that we are in for a bountiful year.” Varwas stated.
“I would have to say that luck is with us. Let us make the most of it and continue to prosper as we have.” Another of the chiefs stated.
“To the forgotten and to the future. May it bring us peace.” The third chief exclaimed.
“To the forgotten and to the future. May it bring us peace.” The entire party repeated at once bowing their heads.
The trip back down the mountain was much faster. Once again, they faced no raptors in the raptor grounds on their way down. They even stumbled upon a large patch of rare berries as well. To top this off, group had even seen a silver winged bird native to the jungle top. While it was very rare for to see such a bird on the ground, it was always considered to bring great luck. To them, everything that had happened was suggesting that they tribes would prosper greatly this year.
As the sun had reached it highest point in the sky, the group returned to the Jungle Rise Village. There, everyone was waiting for them and their next feast was ready.
“The shrine has blessed us again this year. Its glow was far brighter then I have ever seen. Let us feast in celebration of forgotten and the future.” Varwas shouted as he neared the village center. Krystal hurried over to her father's hut and dropped off her things before heading to join the others in their next meal.
Far beneath the mountain in the darkness…
All manor of various lights slowly gathered power. A mass of little dots now littered the area, but still did not illuminate the room. A single mass screen filled with static easily lighting the room before going black, but still providing the light needed to reveal the room. All sorts of empty chairs filled the room, all sitting before control console. Monitors of all kinds reflected the light a number of various keyboards lit up as well showing without a doubt that the room was a command deck, but to what. One by one, green letters appeared on the screen. “Systems charged.” Below this phrase was a flashing red set of words. “Distress Beacon Activated.” The bottom set of words flashed three times before the screen went blank. Again, one by one, the letters “System charged” appeared again followed by the flashing words “Distress Beacon Activated.” This process continued to repeat itself.
Somewhere in space…
“Sir. We've received a distress beacon. I've matched it to the Felfox Colony Ship that was lost almost 900 years ago.” A wolf dressed in an officer's uniform alerted another via a headset.
“Where at?” A voice replied.
“Fifth planet of the system we are in. A place called Cerinia.” The wolf informed the voice.
“Send a probe out immediately. We must retrieve that ship at any cost.” The voice stated.
“Understood.” With that, the wolf punched in a few command codes into the console he was at. “Probe launched sir.”