Pan Post 19 has Kara Pashna complete his journey to Penumbra where he expects to meet with Kamal and the litik that prediected the end of the world. When he arrives it is Indra Day, a day when all lights in the city are turned out during a solar eclipse by the planet Brethrain. During the ceremony he meets Litik Map who, afterwards, leads him to the Temple of Kamal. He reveals he's watched Pashna for many years, a ghost at his side but he is not the litik he seeks.
Kamal: Pt I
The great city of Penumbra lurks within a wide valley and bathes in a long spring sun. The city is usually clouded by mist from its many waterfalls, which topple down into the valley's lakes and traverses along its long, broad river. Rainbows are a common occurrence in the mist as sunlight slips through the water droplets. The buildings are sleek and rounded, allowing water to slip from its surfaces to the river. Lights, even in the day, are used to illuminate city features in unusual colours or create erratic light-shows to attract attention to businesses. Music plays all across the walkways and streets, while the transport vehicles hover along their tracks to predestined destinations. Nobody seems to be in a hurry in this city as they go about their daily routines.
Above the city floats the upper level of the city itself. Suspended on large discs with a dome underneath, creating the anti-gravity effect, this upper level is mostly reserved for public-functioning buildings and not residential zones. One of the grandest buildings amongst them is the Temple of Kamal, which entirely occupies its own disc where a gigantic garden sprawls around the temple itself. While most discs have turbo-lifts to carry citizens up to from the residential zones below, the Temple of Kamal is only accessible by ferry. The ferries cruise up to the temple's dock and unloads its passengers every ten minutes. The ferries sails swivel gently as the ship turns, constantly keeping track of the sun for its energy.
However today is a special day. Today is Indra Hour.
The last ferry drops Kara Pashna onto the dock and he makes his way, with the other multitudes of people, onto the garden. He steps into one of the ponds, appreciating the cool water over his weary feet. Being a Kara for Jitarayara has been proving more difficult than he'd ever expected it to when he first accepted the position last year. He supposes he shouldn't be at all surprised since Jitarayara is a god representing hard work, but recent events are likely the cause for all of this additional legwork. Bernard the Clay-Pidgeon hoots from his shoulder as his mechanical head swivels around to look at all of the people. Most of them are wearing thick goggles of darkened glass and looking up at the sun as it hands in the sky. It's a bright red dwarf that hangs so close to the planet that it takes up a large portion of the sky. Now, however, the world would lose its majestic sun...
From the horizon rises the planet Brethrain, around which Indra is actually a satellite. Somewhere in pre-life history the planet Indra found itself caught in the gravity of Brethrain and orbits the gas giant instead of the red dwarf of the system. This allows the planet Indra one big advantage - it isn't tidal locked to the star and gains its own rotation thanks to its parent world. Brethrain often eclipses the sun, this isn't unusual. The gas giant is massive and very close to Indra, however today is a special day - the lights go out.
As Brethrain makes its almighty ascent, it slowly blocks out the sun. The bright lights of the city stave off the ensuing darkness until, finally, the sun is behind the planet, casting a red corona of the sun's light, mixed with the yellow gases of the giant. Then the city's lights blink out and everyone is left to gaze up at the brilliant ring of their solar system. A red ring that symbolises life and eternity to the people of Indra and this day, this moment, is a time for all Indrans to reflect on their place in the cosmos. Unlike those around him, Kara Pashna knows of the predictions made by the Litik of Kamal. His reflections are not of smallness, of hope, of eternity, of the future, of his family or of his people - instead they are of the land he stands upon. This great world of sentient life may well be gone, him along with it. He feels an emptiness welling within him, a dark ounce of depression angrily pulsing in the pit of his soul - but he refuses to let it lose. If he did, he would be lost for eternity - or at least the remainder of the planet's days.
He feels a hand slip into his own. The clammy skin of the stranger's white skin is soothing on his own. His mind is connected to the minds of all those using their data-moulds, experiencing their collective feelings and hopes on the phenomenon, but this physical connection is sudden and welcome. It helps him fix his being in the planet. As Brethrain finally begins to slip across the sky, the sun's red glow bathes the Indran people in its gentle warmth again. He feels a sense of satisfaction from the thrill of warmth but also a sense of nostalgia - he remembers the same sensation from every year before. But this, if there is another year for Indra Day, he would always remember most prominently.
He tugs the goggles from his face, snapping the band easily so that they came off without a fuss. He then turns to look, with fresh eyes in the newly lit up city, upon the man holding his hand. A Litik. His eyes are white, like the eyes of many gods. There is only the faint hint of a pupil, which lurks in the wet white of his eyes, only seen because it is a slightly darker shade of white than the rest of his eye. Pashna's own eyes are pink with a blue iris and his black pupil. The difference in a Litik's eyes has always made Pashna uncomfortable - the eyes of gods.
Kara Pashna: "I suppose you know why I'm here?"
The man nods and gives a gentle tug at Pashna's hand to urge the Kara to follow him towards the temple. As they make their way through the crowd, lights are restored to the city and the temple is suddenly coloured with bright orange rays that bounce off of its smooth walls.
Litik Map: "I'm Litik Map, by the way. It's a pleasure to meet you finally."
Kara Pashna: "Please don't tell me how long you've watched me for. It always makes me uncomfortable."
Litik Map grins with a small laugh, his eyes widening and brightening with glee.
Litik Map: "I'll try, but honestly we Litik tend to like dealing out that info for that very reason."
Kara Pashna: "I can imagine you all standing around the Litik water-cooler getting a good chuckle..."
Litik Map: "A Kara of Jitarayara talks about water-coolers, how stereotypical of you."
Kara Pashna: "I expect you'd know if I'm really a stereotype better than I do..."
Map smiles, sweetly this time.
Litik Map: "You are a bit. But in a nice way. Everything good about the stereotype."
While a Kara typically wears ceremonial armour, built to look pretty rather than function, the tight body-armour of a Litik is meant for purpose. The armour that Pashna wears is based upon ancient armours of wars past, while Map's is the armour of a modern warrior that needs to be protected. Over this tight body armour he wears a very simple, open, kimono of white with a solitary streak of red at its hem.
Litik Map: "Do you like our fair city, Pashna?"
Pashna tries to cover the jolt at his name coming from a man he never told it to. It feels like a violation. He manages to shrug and give a non-committal smile.
Kara Pashna: "It's pretty, I suppose. The water is pleasant. But shouldn't you already know my opinions on it?"
Litik Map: "You've met several Litik's in your life, Pashna. Have any of them ever known your feelings?"
Pashna thinks back and concedes;
Kara Pashna: "I suppose not... strange."
Litik Map: "We can't sense your feelings, or hidden emotions and thoughts. That's what those gaudy data-moulds are for."
He gives Pashna a sly smirk and Pashna shakes is head in amusement at the petty slight.
Litik Map: "We see events and people from an outside perspective. It's like I've been a ghost at your side for many years. I do enjoy your company, I hope you'll come to enjoy mine!"
Kara Pashna: "Honestly, I think it'll be hard to enjoy much of anything considering the circumstances..."
They fall silent in mutual apprehension as they pass through the arch leading inside the temple. There is no roof to the walls, allowing the red glow to bathe the interior. They walk over tiny shards of skyglass with their bare feet and Pashna loves the sensation of the cold gems against his bare feet. When they approach the end of the corridor, and the domain of Kamal, he regrets that he has to dust off his soles and but his boots back on.
Before he rises to his feet, the younger man holds out both hands to help the Kara up. Pashna grins and welcomes the aid.
Kara Pashna: "I don't suppose it was you that experienced the vision, Map?"
Litik Map: "No, no, no, no! And I'm glad for it! I'd be super depressed if I had..."
Kara Pashna: "I... I suppose anyone would. Who is the poor Litik that did see it?"
Litik Map: "I expect you're going to meet him now..."
They walk through the subsequent arch and they are standing in a room with a marble floor, bordered by a wide moat of water. They march, albeit slowly, down the bridge of marble until they reach the others standing and waiting for them. They're all Litiks. Pashna cranes his neck to look up at the god Kamal...