Main Characters: Nex, Ravlin
Secondary Characters: Master Senn, Brood, Nila, Brinn, Vik, Lia
Time Period: Less than one full Period around the Sun.
Synopsis: They landed to explore and watch as the world changed. But the planet got too hot, the oceans started to evaporate, and the shield was failing…All that remains are scattered populations and barren cities. Nex is tired of the mundane life of a female. A slave to her master. Running away is her only option, searching for something more. On the other side of the planet, Ravlin has been betrayed by his brethren and banished to wander without a clan. A burn on his cheek to mark his shame.
Can the two find each other and find the true meaning of being alive before the planet gives their lives away?
Four hours later Ravlin opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was Nex smiling at him.
“Hi there, sleepy.”
“Did I really fall back to sleep?”
Nex nodded, “You did.”
Ravlin stretched as best as he could in the small space he was seated in.
“How long was I sleeping?”
“About two hours. I did not even know you fell asleep until I realized you were not answering me.” She elbowed him playfully, “Am I that boring?”
“Oh, you have no idea. Completely boring.”
She hit his arm with her diary notebook that she had sitting in her lap when he had woken up.
Ravlin looked over her arm at her pages, “Wow. What is that?”
Nex realized he had not seen her diary notebook the entire time they were in the room together. Although she had never shown anyone her drawings, she was instantly excited to share with him.
Ravlin saw her expression and got excited himself, “Show me.”
And so she did, putting her notebook under the light in front of her.
They spent the next hour going through each of her images. From drawn Dekkers, Thane buildings, her bow, her friends like Brinn, events and festivals in the city, small items like a book she liked, Ravlin got a complete picture of how she saw her life. One thing she drew a lot of was herself and how she felt. A few times she flipped through the picture quickly, whether embarrassed or bothered by what the picture showed. Every time, he gently grabbed the page and turned it back to look at it. She never stopped him.
Sometimes she would explain the image and why she drew it. Mostly the positive ones. The darker, sad ones she skipped over but let him look. Finally she stopped telling stories and only showed the pictures. It seemed the last few months for her had been more sad than happy. His heart started to hurt seeing the sadness in her images, the darker colors.
Ravlin didn’t say anything as he looked at every detail. When she turned to the woman in a white dress in the cage, he stopped her.
He looked at the sad expression of the woman in the picture, looking through the bars and begging for help.
Ravlin looked at her, “I’m sorry you ever had to feel that way.”
Nex shrugged but said nothing, turning the page with the ring Senn had given her, and then to her new reflection with short hair. Finally she turned the page to the couple sitting in the diner.
For the first time brighter colors had come back into the image. The couple looked happy together, sitting holding hands while the rest of the world was of no importance to them. The colors surrounding the background reminded Ravlin of a fresh sunny day after it rained.
“This is beautiful. You captured how they feel about each other very well with these colors you added.”
Nex blushed, “Th—Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. So what are you drawing now?”
Her eyes went wide as she closed the book, “Nothing. I wasn’t, uh, really drawing anything. Just, um, sketching.”
Ravlin looked at her from a slight squinted face, “Nothing? Interesting that nothing needed to be hidden. Come on, show me. You showed me everything else.”
She laughed, “No.”
They had a small battle of tug of war before Ravlin saw small lights coming towards them from outside the window. He recognized the lights. They were attached to people’s bags like one had been to his.
Nex followed his gaze and saw a family walking together in a huddle. She could make out two adults and two children. They were walking away from where Nex and Ravlin’s Transport was headed.
“People walk the roads like that?”
“Yes. Sometimes they don’t have enough Gold Chips, but if they are in need of relocating or even visiting, they have to walk. It’s actually quite common.”
“But, if they don’t have enough Chips for a Transport, how do they have enough food for the walk?”
Ravlin didn’t know how to answer her. She was right. Traveling by foot was one of the hardest ways to travel for an adult, he knew because he had done it plenty of times before this time, but it wasn’t easy to see others having to do it either.
Replicators had helped with Transports because they could replicate vegetables and because some vegetables were used to create fuel, it meant travel could begin again for the people of Vesron. But gold was still what controlled the small processes in between.
Instead of being dark, he chose the positive, “I’m sure they had only enough for food, and just no extra for a Transport. They’ll be fine.”
Nex seemed to be in deep thought, and she finally asked, “Does anyone live outside of city walls?”
Ravlin shook his head, “Not really. Supplies aren’t distributed between cities, so most cities sustain themselves. Since that’s the case, people stay where the resources are. Makes it easier than having to walk miles and miles to get supplies. Besides, no one can have their own personal generator, so it would be very dark for anyone continuing to live the way we did before.”
Nex nodded with a distance in her eyes.
She looked at him.
“They’ll be fine.”
She gave him a weak smile before opening her dairy notebook, turning to the first empty page and starting to draw.