Sahmads Geschichte (Engl. Original: Sahmad´s Tale) Ist ein Hörspiel auf Bioniclestory.com, welches am 18. Januar 2010 startete. Es berichtet von der Geschichte des Eisen-Stammes aus Sahmads Perspektive und seiner Suche nach dem Grund für die Seuche, die seinen Stamm fast vollständig vernichtete.
My name is Sahmad. It may be a name you've heard around the home fires of the Agori or whispered by Glatorian as they stand watch. It's a name spoken with respect, and with fear, and that is how it should be. History will tell you that I am a monster, a slaver, someone who made a living capturing my fellow Agori and selling them to the Skrall. I'd be a fool to lie and pretend I did not do those things; of course I did. But there is more to the story than just that, and there is one thing you need to always remember about history: the winners write all the books.
I am a member of the Iron Tribe, not that you could tell by the color of my armor, that's intentional. Advertising that you were part of that tribe was probably, or still is, an invitation to be ostracized, mobbed, even stoned. We're not welcome in the nice little villages of the other Agori, good enough to share their food and drink, or clean enough to trade with. We're creatures for late night tales told to new guards: "Better stay sharp or some Iron Agori will get you."
It wasn't always this way, of course. A long, long time ago, well before the Core War or the Shattering, my tribe lived in the mountains of Bota Magna and worked the mines. We sent the iron we dug out of the rock to the Fire Tribe for forging, and in return they provided us with finished tools and weapons. We were rough and coarse, but we were honored for our hard work and treated like any other Agori. Iron Tribe members lived a life full of hard, honest work, and didn't ask for anything more. Outside of some arguments with our neighbors in the mountains, the Skrall, we didn't have any conflicts with anyone.
When the end came, it came swiftly and quietly, like a dagger thrust to the back. A few miners working on the outskirts of our land began to act strangely. They were distracted, quarrelsome, and as days went by they got worse. Asked if they felt sick, they said no. The only odd thing that they could report was that their sleep had been disturbed, for they had stopped dreaming. Most of us laughed. After all, what mattered was the strength of our backs as we carved metal out of the rock and hauled it to the surface. What did it matter if our sleep was just that: sleep, unmarred by illusions and fantasies? And if you can't dream, then you don't have to worry about nightmares, right? Wrong. If you can't dream, your waking life becomes the nightmare.
The affected miners went from irritable to violent in short order, and from violent to mad. Dreams, it seems, are needed to release the bad energies that accumulate in all of us. Without them, the mind tears itself to shreds in time. Worse, what we now saw as a plague was spreading. More and more of my tribe lost the ability to dream. Those whose condition was far enough along would die raving lunatics. Those who were most recently infected were seized by horror and desperation, knowing the fate that awaited them.
Some of us seemed to be immune: myself, Telluris, a handful of others. Naturally our neighbors were curious about why we were still able to dream. None of us knew the answer. That didn't stop others in our tribe from talking of trying to find out, even if their efforts would mean our deaths. We banded together and hid in a cave, ready to defend ourselves against mad Agori who used to be our friends.
As things got worse, our village leader appealed to other tribes for help. The Skrall just laughed. The other tribes wouldn't even allow him to cross the borders into their lands. No one wanted the little bit of iron we still dug up, believing it somehow might carry the disease. All trade came to a stop.
When one of the still healthy Agori tried to join another tribe, he was driven off into the forest and killed by one of the beasts there. As far as we were concerned, he just as well may have been killed by the Agori who rejected him. Being a member of the Iron Tribe now carried a death sentence. If the plague didn't claim you, your one-time trading partners would.
Telluris came up with the idea of using minerals to change the color of our armor and helmets in the hope of passing as members of some previously unknown tribe and finding sanctuary. It was a stupid idea, but I went along with it. I don't need to tell you how well it worked.
Still, we survived. We watched our tribe die off one by one until there were too few left in any condition to threaten us. We made our escape, but there was nowhere to go. Add to that, none of us were sure if one of the others might be a carrier of the plague, and you could see why we chose to go our separate ways.
I headed south, not knowing Telluris was as well. I lived off what I could scrounge or steal. I saw the Core War erupt, and saw Agori killed by weapons made by iron my people had mined, and I laughed. When the Shattering happened, I was in Bara Magna. I had found a wagon and gained the loyalty of a Spikit in the only way possible--I fed it. I didn't know what the future had in store for me, but I had transport and I had hate. I would find a way to marry the two and gain my revenge.
Telluris took a different path. He started robbing the desert in a war machine based on the Skopio, acting like crushing a caravan or two would somehow make a difference.
I made other plans. I would turn the tribes' Agori into commodities. I would sell them to the Skrall and leave them wishing they had died in the plague along with my friends.
Much has changed in recent days. The Skrall have been driven from Roxtus, two giant men made of metal are battling in the sky for reasons I cannot imagine. I have no doubt the end of the world is upon us, but before that happens I have a task I want to perform. Somewhere, someone knows about what happened to my people. They know if the plague was accident or attack, error or experiment. Before Bara Magna crumbles to dust, I am going to find those answers. And if someone caused this fate to befall my tribe, then I hope somewhere they are dreaming of me, and waking up screaming.
I like to sleep. I like to sleep because I like to dream. Dreaming reminds me that I'm still alive.
Last night, I dreamt I was back in the village of Iron, working in the cold and damp of the mines. The air was filled with the rhythmic ching-ching of pick striking stone. Spherus Magna was generous that day and we emerged from the dark with loads of iron. I stood upon a peak and saw the Rock Agori in the distance scrambling to and fro like spider beetles. Then they stopped and turned as one to stare at our village. I turned to see what they might be looking at, and that was when I saw the first Iron Agori vanish. One moment he was unloading the ore cart, the next he was gone. In the next few moments, more disappeared, and then more. I knew that something terrible was happening. I had to stop it.
I ran through the village in search of the woman I loved. When I found her, I took her in my arms and held her tight, and an instant later, my arms held only empty air.
Help. We needed help. I rushed down the mountain toward the Rock Agori, I shouted for them to aid us, but no one paid any attention. I screamed, I pleaded, to no avail. I moved to strike one of the villagers down just to get their attention. And then I looked down and saw nothing. I had disappeared.
I woke up in a sweat. I had camped not far from the Skrall River. I took off my armor and knelt on the bank, trying to wash away my nightmare. In the moonlight, I could see something massive in the distance. When I took a better look, I saw it was the Skopio vehicle Telluris had built, now sprawled out on the sand like the carcass of a dead animal. The owner himself was crouched beside it. I hitched up the Spikit to my wagon and rode to Telluris. He seemed to be in mourning.
"What happened?" I asked.
"They ruined it," my tribesman answered. "The Glatorian, they sabotaged it. It won't work anymore."
I always thought the Skopio was a gaudy waste of time and materials. No matter how big your weapon, someone else can always build a bigger one. You don't conquer your enemies with something they can see coming ten miles away. You do it by working your way inside like the larva of a spiked worm, making yourself a part of their society, and then blotting them out from the inside. The Skopio was Telluris' crutch, his way of throwing an armed and armored tantrum at the world.
"You can't fix it?" I asked.
He shook his head. "I don't have the parts."
I looked at him. In a couple days, maybe, he would think to stop missing his machine and get out of the sun. By then he would be in no condition to be of use to anyone. But unstable as he was, he was still Iron Tribe, one of the few left, so I owed him.
"Maybe we can find what you need," I offered. "I'm headed north. Come with me."
Telluris glanced up at me, then gestured to the dead Skopio. "I can't just leave it."
"It's not going anywhere," I answered. "And when we come back, we'll rebuild it, bigger and better than before."
Telluris got up and climbed in the wagon. I yanked on the reins, and the Spikit started plodding north. I wasn't sure exactly where we were going, but I had an idea. If the death of my tribesmen wasn't an accident, then it was murder. And if it was murder, someone had to benefit from it. Whoever that someone was, I was going to make them pay for every dead Iron Agori. I couldn't return to the scene of the crime because Bota Magna had split off a hundred thousand years ago, and wasn't coming back. All I could do was go north and hope I learned something, preferably before the two robots slugging it out overhead wrecked what was left of Bara Magna.
We had been traveling for a few hours when the Spikit suddenly reared up, both of its heads arching in panic. Telluris jumped off the wagon. He pointed to something, shouted, but I had already seen it myself. A long, gray serpent was coiled in the sand up ahead, a serpent with blue eyes, and there was madness in those eyes.
"Kill it!" I said to Telluris.
My tribesman grabbed a blade from the wagon and advanced on the snake cautiously. It was some kind of a viper, poisonous to the extreme, and it was of no use alive. Dead, it would at least be dinner. Telluris raised the weapon and was about to bring it down when the snake reared up, as if it were going to strike, but instead of attacking, it spoke.
"Go ahead," it said, "Kill me. I can't take this anymore."
Telluris looked to me to see if he had gone crazy. I nodded to let him know I heard it too. I was reminded of some wild tale I had heard from a few Rock Agori. They were fleeing Roxtus after losing a battle to the other villages, and claimed an Ice Agori named Metus had been turned into a snake. Sounded to me like they had been eating too many rotten Thornax, but now... Well, there were plenty of weird things in the Bara Magna desert, but talking snakes isn't one of them.
"You're... Metus?" I asked the serpent.
It hissed in response.
"They said you were vowing revenge for what happened to you," I said. "Give up on that, did you?"
"I still want revenge," Metus replied. "Being turned into this monster wouldn't stop me, being turned into an insect wouldn't stop me, I would still find a way somehow if it weren't for..." He stopped.
I waited. When he didn't continue, I said, "Except for what?"
The serpent slithered through the sand and looked up at me with pleading in his ice blue eyes. "I've stopped dreaming," it whispered.
Suddenly, the desert seemed to grow very quiet and still, and all I could hear was my own voice saying "It's starting again."
I was standing on the desert sands, having a conversation with a talking snake. The sad part is, that was the bright spot of sanity in my day. And right in the middle of our exchange, the world ended. At least, that was how it felt to me.
First, the shadow passed over us; Telluris started babbling that the moon was falling from the sky; Metus buried his head under the sand. I looked up to see a massive celestial body passing overhead, a fragment of which slammed into the head of one of the two giant robots. The robot fell, and the impact knocked me off my feet. I made no effort to get up. If the world was coming to an end, might as well face it lying down. The second impact was, surprisingly, not as severe.
After a few moments, when no more robots were falling or moons flying through the sky, I lifted my head. Telluris was saying that Spherus Magna was whole again. He seemed excited about that. I didn't join in his celebration. You might wonder why I wasn't overjoyed to have the three segments of my planet one again. As anyone who has been on Bara Magna can tell you, it's very cold in the desert. I grew very cold over a hundred thousand years ago, and now all I can think of was that if the beings who unleashed the dreaming plague on my people were on Bota Magna, they were now within my reach again.
I got to my feet and brushed the sand off my armor. It was time to leave. "Let's go," I said to my two allies.
Telluris wasn't listening. He was still caught up in the miraculous return of Aqua Magna and Bota Magna, but then that's why I have the whip.
"You know what comes next," I said to both of my companions. "After the celebration is over, the Agori will start wanting to clean up the mess. Anyone who doesn't fit into their well-ordered little social structure will get shoved aside or trampled over. I don't intend to be either."
Metus looked unsure of what to do. He had stopped dreaming some time ago. The sickness had him. Within weeks, maybe days, he would be a raving lunatic, but before then I needed him. As he started to slither toward where the Agori and Glatorian stood, I brought an armored foot down on his body and pinned him to the sand.
"Think about it," I said. "I heard all about you. You think they're going to welcome you back? You're an embarrassment to them at best. They let you off with your life last time. Show your face again and they'll make a pair of boots out of you."
"What do you want of me?" the serpent, who had once been an Agori, asked me.
"I want to know everywhere you've been since you left Roxtus and everything you've done. I want to retrace every inch you crawled. Somewhere along that route is a clue to what happened to you and to my people, and we're going to find it."
Immediately after the battle in Roxtus, Metus had headed north into the mountains. Some of those mountains were gone now, reduced to pebbles by the battle between the two robots. But he said it wasn't until he had passed through them that his dreams ceased, so perhaps whatever I was looking for lay beyond.
He showed us where he had camped, near a pool. Had he drunk from it? No. What had he eaten?
"Rodents," he said.
"Did they taste strange in any way?" I asked.
"They were rats!" Metus snapped. "Of course they tasted strange!"
"There must be something here," I said, looking around here, "something that infected you."
"Maybe it's not something physical," said Telluris. "Maybe it's a... curse or something. Anyway, no one from our tribe would have traveled this far from the village, so how can this spot be the cause?"
"Perhaps whatever caused the plague moved on after its work was done," I answered. "Or maybe..."
I stopped. I had spotted something not far away, mostly hidden under plant growth. It was a scar in the earth in the shape of a rough triangle, perhaps three feet wide at its base. I crouched down to see if there was a hole, but none could be seen, just a pattern carved into dirt and rock.
"Look around," I told the others. "See if you can find another mark like this."
We searched for an hour. There was no sign of any other triangle on the ground, nor any sign of who or what might have made this one. Was it a footprint? The track left by a mechanical device? Or some natural phenomenon I simply had not seen before?
I turned to ask Telluris his opinion, since he had seen much in his travels in the Skopio, but he was gone. Metus insisted he had not seen where he had went to.
I followed my tribesman's footprints in the soft earth until they stopped in the middle of an open patch of ground. The dirt had been disturbed here, as if something had swept it clean.
I heard a soft sound behind me. I turned to see a sickly red tentacle covered in spines slithering up from beneath the soil. Before I could speak it wrapped itself around Metus and dragged him down into the ground. I didn't know whether to laugh or scream as a second tentacle briefly appeared to brush the dirt back into a normal pattern before it, too, vanished underground.
I aimed my Thornax Launcher at the spot and fired. It blew a hole in the ground, sending a shower of earth and rock into the air. When the dust has cleared, I saw no trace of my two allies, or their attacker. Whatever had taken them was gone.
I was furious, frustrated, stymied at every turn. Just when I had found the first sign of an answer, it might be snatched away from me. At any moment, the tentacles might return. I had no way to reach Telluris or Metus, and no hope of survival if I stayed. But if I left... If I left, I might never solve the mystery that plagued me. My people would go unavenged.
I stood, right on the spot where Metus had disappeared. "Come then!" I shouted. "Attack! Drag me down! But before I die, creature, I'll know your truth."
I was still standing there as three tentacles groped blindly from the earth and wrapped themselves around me. There wasn't even time to yell as the sky above me was replaced by earth and clay, as I was ripped from the realm of light and sent hurtling down into a world of shadows.
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