The Lost Tribes
The sun was a fiery orb, relentlessly searing the parched earth. A once lush and inviting land now stood barren and burnt. Balish moved quickly from
one shaded rocky outcropping to another, his eye's darting about nervously. He was in Anasazi territory now, searching for game, a risk that he felt
forced to take as his tribe waited anxiously back at their redoubt in a narrow canyon many miles to the east.
They were starving. His people had suffered for a generation now, not only from the lack of food and water but they were slowly being hunted down and
slaughtered year after year. At first they had thought the Anasazi were responsible, but a survivor of a brutal attack managed to describe their
assailants before he died.
They were demons he said, with faces made of flint, they came at night with a thundering of hooves and weapons of unknown origin whistling through the
air, but not a sound escaped from their stony visages. They dispatched men, women and children without compunction in savage delight. They burnt their
homes to the ground, sometimes burning alive the survivors, sometimes torturing and toying with captives for hours before finally ending their
suffering in grisly fashion.
The bodies that they found and buried had been smashed and mangled, some with their necks snapped back to rest between their shoulderblades, contorted
and defiled. The world had gone from a place of beauty and plenty to one of fear and desolation.
Balish's clan was the last of the Gallina
, hidden in a canyon
in their last stronghold. Only thirty of them were left, mostly women and children. Balish and the few other men were out now in the scorching heat
searching for what food and water they could find. They had always lived in peaceful communion with the
but since the beginning of the great dry period there close
proximity to each other had become more and more uneasy as resources slowly disappeared. Many of the Anasazi of late had also started to fall victim
to the demons of the night. Tensions were now at an all time high between their people.
Balish stopped suddenly, a glint of light from just ahead caught his attention. He lowered himself to his stomach and crawled slowly forward, the
baking earth burning into his gut, he grimaced silently and inched onward.
Soon he came to a break in the rocky escarpment, an animal trail, recently used crept through the opening into a narrow cavern. The rocky cliff's
above converged to create a dome shaped amphitheatre, small breaks in the roof allowed just enough filtered light in so that Balish could see.
Down the sides of the natural room stood statues of magnificent horses many hands taller than any of the horses he had ever seen before. The beasts
were covered in a strange armor, like a snakes scales, pitch black as though made from obsidian. Further in, reflecting dully in the broken sunlight,
statues of the demons that had been terrorising his people stood silently against the red rocky walls. The dim red glow from the walls seemed to bathe
the statues in bloody light. The demon statues also wore the scaled armor like the horses as well as blank masks of stone with only slits for their
eye's and which hid their other features. The beasts stood two metres tall and radiated power, their hands and feet ended in webbed and taloned
At the far end of the cavern stood a massive arch, around its outer edge strange heiroglyphs intertwined. Balish stood to his feet and moved silently
into the room, his senses heightened by the surge of adreneline rushing through his body. Surely this was the home of the demons who had been
slaughtering his people. He approached one of the statues and rapped upon it with the hilt of his knife and was relieved to hear a hollow clink in
return, statues they were.
Feeling bolder now Balish approached the massive gate, the strange writing meant nothing to Balish, his people had no written language. He ran his
hand over the heiroglyphs that he could reach and as his hand passed over them they seemed to glitter ever so gently, in a fully lightened room he
would never have noticed. The rocky wall within the arched door seemed strangely different to the rest of the cavern, duller and its edges soft, as
though out of focus, he rubbed his eye's and reached out with his left hand to touch the wall. There was no resistance, his hand disappeared up to
his wrist before he suddenly realised what had happened and withdrew his arm with a curse. He looked at his hand, it was unharmed. He eyed the wall
with suspicion, and years of ingrained superstition raised itself within his mind, he turned to run.
Perhaps at any other time in history he would have fled in terror, but this was no ordinary time. Balish thought of his clan, hungry and scared,
huddling in fear at every sound. He looked again at the wall, breathed deeply and thrusting his knife before him he strode forward into and beyond his
Swirling mists cavorted through the tangled underbrush of a lush forest, strange sounds from the treetops reverberated in the damp air. He stood atop
a low ridge overlooking a luscious green world, mind numbing scents assailed his nostrils and he looked stricken into the sky, two suns shimmered
above, one small and red, the other much like the sun he knew. Balish fell trembling to his knees, surely he had wandered into the land of the Gods,
would they strike him down for trespassing?
Soon he relaxed as nothing happened and he stood again to look around at this new world. He now saw animals that he knew, squirrels scurried across
branches, a doe wandered into a clearing and then bolted into the brush as she noticed him. Other animals that were not so familiar also caught his
eye, but they seemed only interested in their daily existance and paid him no attention.
Below him at the bottom of the ridge upon which he stood he noticed a building, some kind of fort hewn from massive stones, made of obsidian like the
armor of the statues. As he stood and watched it seemed to slowly descend into twilight as the larger, brighter sun vanished behind a large range of
mountains on the far horizon. The smaller red sun drenched the whole of the land in a rose colored blush and a great door swung open in the fort
Balish ducked down behind a tree as six figures on horseback came forth and galloped up the mountain, straight past his supine form and through the
arch which existed on this side. Balish waited only a moment after they disappeared through the wall then raced headlong down the slope to the demons
building, its giant doorway still standing open. Hugging the wall he moved cautiously within, no sounds reached his ears, no movement either snatched
at his vision. He stood in a courtyard of huge proportions, stables lined one side and open doorways the other. Before him stairs ascended to the
ramparts and circled the whole structure. All over the walls serpentine figures writhed and coiled, etched into the rock.
Balish moved forward and entered the doorway nearest him. A long passage descended downwards, lit by sconces placed upon the walls at regular
intervals. At times the passage curved gently then straightened and there were other doors on opposite sides of the corridor and Balish peered within
each. There were kitchens, bedrooms and armoury's with all manner of strange but obviously deadly weapons. At last the passage ended and he stood
before a large wooden door, covered in the same strange symbols he had seen on the arch. He pushed gently against the door and it swung inward without