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Dimar: Lost Waters
(you can order a paperback copy or ebook here)

Special Thanks to:
Clay Dreslough, Ian Smith, David 'Tae' Baxter, Eugene Arenhaus and Paul aka 'Draco'. :)

Table of Contents

Intro
Prolog

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33

Glossary
Dimar terms
Arrallin terms

Map

 

 

Lost Waters - Chapter 8

     "So, give me an example of this sub-creation of yours" Harmon, the human psi from the Golden Hinde both mind spoke and verbalized her curiosity to Luuko and Goothib. Her excitement and anxiety to learn more disturbed Luuko deeply, and he quietly set up walls around his few fleeting memories of Telkai engineering skills. Goothib, being more a pure engineer had no reservations about teaching his craft.
      It's all around you, Harmon. You're looking at two products of sub-creation right now, Luuko and myself. See how our wings are of a different coloring and nature from the rest of our bodies? Well, they're a powerful addition, and central to the history and teaching of the Telkai study. Without hesitation, he flashed images to Harmon and Luuko both, of the ancient, wingless Dimar, and the engineering design for the chromosomes that would make the now familiar wing structure a permanent addition to most members of the Dimar species. During the Flight, a time of great turmoil for our species, it was discovered that through careful study and exploration of the systems in our bodies that generate our forms, alterations could be made to allow us to better survive in even the harshest conditions. Using a cell permeation technique on miruls, we created the ill fated turraks, that, unfortunately, did not breed and quickly died due to a poor initial design. But, the groundwork was laid for what has become the central art, and the key to success of the Dimar species: the art and study of Telkai, named for the great healer of the barryd at which the first of the experiments were done. Every species has been affected in some way, tested and improved by both selective breeding and by cell permeation Telkai engineering. Even our barryds are engineered for optimum environmental impact, and we're improving the design every day...
      In a panic, Luuko interjected on a private bandwidth. Goothib, is this wise? Do you not sense her anticipation of your every word? Learn her intent before you tell her of the high arts! What if she comes from the Mulkai culture from Earth, and will make war like the Mulkol at every chance? What if she'll use the gift of the Water to destroy someone, or against us, it's true Waters-born children? Luuko held back on the scalding reprisal, tempering it with a tone of worry, hoping to convince Goothib that what he was doing truly was dangerous for the barryd. He felt Goothib's defensive wall go up in his mind — but not against Harmon, only against him. He had not reached him; he had been too harsh.
      Goothib snarled at him, Fool! She does not have the Water, nor does she yet fully understand any of this. But she'll need to, very soon. Have you not been listening to the council reports? We're going to be taking these people in, as our own kin, to teach them a new way of living, and to learn from them. It's a new age of peace and exploration, and this person deeply wants to be a true child of the Water. It would dishonor my guild and my rank not to teach one so sincere in her curiosity. You may go. Goothib's indignation was clear, and his tail lashed back and forth during their private exchange. Harmon watched intently, unable to break the walls they had both carefully constructed around the exchange to keep her out. Luuko could feel her prying in, to try to get a glimpse at why they were arguing. He really must explain to the alien Talents that prying is in poor form.
      Luuko turned to leave, but paused. He sent a feeler out to the Great Mother, but she was soundly sleeping. Her first acolyte was on watch, maintaining the fire line with two others, but even he was not in a position to make a call on this issue. It was the divine duty of all the Telkai students to increase the knowledge of others who wished to know more of the high art of subcreation. The issue of the student’s planet of origin had never arisen before. The newer students of the Telkai were often unaware of the havoc their creations could wreak, and didn't consider consequences carefully in much of their decision making. If Luuko left now, he'd have no idea what Goothib would teach Harmon. If he stayed, he'd at least have the knowledge of how much she knew. In a way, Goothib was right. If they were to take in the humans and Arrallins, then it would be proper to teach their talents as much of their culture as possible to start the integration process. Despite the fact that the subject matter desperately bored him, Luuko reached out to Goothib apologetically.
      You are right, Goothib. She does need and deserve to learn of the Telkai ways. And I could use some work on my Telkai as well. Do you mind if I remain in the conversation? Luuko managed to feel some measure of true remorse for his distrust of Harmon, and the sentiment rang through his apology to Goothib.
      Goothib quickly dropped his mental block and enthusiastically welcomed him back into their three-way mind exchange.
      I'm glad to hear you embrace our new barryd mates, Luuko. And I'm excited to have the opportunity to teach not one but two avid pupils. I do so love to teach! Goothib rumbled happily as he continued the conversation with Harmon, quickly updating Luuko on Harmon's questions and his answers.
      Luuko reviewed the images, amazed at the turn the conversation had taken. Goothib, true to the Great Mother's request, had not revealed the Water, but Harmon wasn't really curious about how subcreation was done. She wanted to know exactly what subcreation could do. Weird creatures, the likes of which Luuko had never imagined, flickered through Harmon's side of the conversation, and Goothib was joyously eating them up. Harmon had only just heard of subcreation, and already there were things she wanted to make. She settled on an image of a winged human, and began to concentrate.
      That design would be more difficult, Harmon. You see, the wings don't fit well with the sides of the body. We ran into a similar problem placing our Wings back before the Flight, but a simple modification of the shoulder structure rectified it. Well, simple, no... it took years of tinkering and modeling to create the perfect match of strength and flexibility for our wings to work as they needed to. But, yes, it can be made. Harmon, how do you think the wings should mesh with the body in that design of yours? Goothib was comparing an image of the winged human along side an image of a Dimar. Goothib was clearly flattered by her desire to become more like a Dimar, and have wings, but her wings were of a different design. He was trying to coax her into the first step of Telkai design, encouraging her to truly understand the form she was trying to create, from the inside and out, and create a solution for the design problems taking factors of blood flow, muscle stress, weight distribution and center of gravity into account. Harmon struggled, slowly, taking pieces of the Dimar shoulder design and altering them to fit in with the human structure. Very good...now, let's see if it will fly.
      Luuko gasped. He was going to call the design into the simulation system back at the barryd and test it. It would be integrated into the stores of designs. It would be accessed by students of the Telkai for generations. He wondered if Goothib understood just how historic this occasion was, and if it might have negative repercussions with the head of the Telkai. Her design could be fatally flawed, and result in the death of the first human it was tested on...if it was tested on one. Did they understand the fundamental shift the Telkai changes could cause in their people? Could he understand the change it could cause in the Telkai art? Luuko's head spun. He had been trained, as all Dimar were, to consider every ramification of an action. Goothib was just glibly pushing ahead, treating Harmon like any hatchling in the Telkai Seventh Class. Blocking his concerns from Harmon, he channeled his concern, all walls down to Goothib, hoping to reach him just this one time.
      Goothib turned, with a look of concern, his ears forward. Luuko, perhaps you are right. I will not use the central testing stores, but instead I will use my smaller personal testing. It will not be as thorough as the central, but it will do, and it will not release the design to all Telkai stores. I will clean it out after the test, and store it. He released his block, and reached out to the barryd far to the north, letting both Harmon and Luuko watch the results. This will take some time. This testing store is not as fast as some others, and this design is completely new for it.
      After fifteen nervous minutes for Harmon, Goothib and Luuko, the image signal returned to Goothib. He broadcast the human figure, wings held outstretched, and they watched as it ran. The wings flapped, generating lift through the Wind — a feature Goothib had added, and the figure lifted off the theoretical ground. Awkwardly, it flew, legs hanging down uselessly below it. The wing joint flashed yellow on the image, an indication from the tester that there was a serious design problem, and red as tendons in the wing snapped under the weight, denoting a critical failure. The figure fell, and as it rushed toward the theoretical ground, faded. Harmon was crestfallen, and did little to hide her disappointment.
      It was an excellent first design, Harmon. We can improve it. You will fly someday. If it's possible for a Dimar to add wings and fly, so it will be for humans. The problem really is quite simple. We need to add a system to transfer lift energy near the hips of the human. That avian design you chose lacks the wing membrane connections along the sides the Dimar have. We can hide the membranes beneath the lifting surfaces you chose, and the overall image will remain much the same. Goothib was hacking away on the design in his mind, pulling the connections down, and strengthening the organs that would harness the power of the Wind as it moved by the wings. Remembering his student, he returned the design to Harmon's control, reverting to the older, failed model. Did you understand those changes? Do they make sense?
      Yes. I know what I did wrong this time. I think moving the membranes too far down might make walking more uncomfortable. Can we put lifting organs in the legs and feet, and pull the membrane up? The legs won't hang that way. With surprising skill, she re-altered the image in the simulation system, copying and pulling the representations of lifting organs down to the calves and arches.
      The lifting organs take quite a bit of energy to support. A small frame like this would not survive having more than four. There are ways of augmenting the amount of energy a body can produce, but I do not know enough of human structure to be sure they would survive these changes. We need to do a full permeation study of you and get detailed designs... Goothib mulled the problems out loud, halting at the mention of the study. He connected with Luuko on a private channel to discuss the problem further.
      A study would require immersion in the central Waters. We can't do that with her yet. She'd broadcast the Waters to every Talent — including the ones that are starborn currently. Luuko reminded him of what he already knew. Perhaps Ekal's tiny Water stores would do for the study? If they are moving in, we will have to show them the Waters eventually, and teach them how to use all of the Telkai equipment. I wish the Great Mother would awaken. We do need her advice on this. Luuko sighed, realizing that everything they did today was truly history making.
      When can we do a study? Do we need an embryo to make these changes on, or can this change be made directly to an existing adult human? Can this work with furries…I mean… Arrallins? They're similar to us in design. Harmon was hopping up and down, her blond curls falling into her eyes. Her hands flew from some unseen form in front of her up to her face and back, continuing to improve the design image. She filled out the very rough image of the human with proper organs, bones and muscles. Completely engrossed in her work with the simulator, she was unaware of how silly she looked.
      Luuko and Goothib exchanged amused, and then worried glances, retracting their minds from the three way conversation to ponder the situation.
      She's got real skill in design, and I can tell that she'll stop at nothing to master this art. I've been there myself. Goothib's mental tone was tinged with pride, and he was obviously impressed with his new student.
      You saw all those things she's got running around in that mind of hers. Who knows what they'd do to the environment if she did actually create all of them? We need to teach her balance and care in her creation, or we'll end up with another Deadland. Luuko called up images of the southern desert, created by a set of fast growing plant eaters designed by a well meaning but careless barryd engineer. It had taken the five neighboring barryds four cycles to bring the creatures back under control, and then dispose of them, and the region that had once housed a sprawling, successful barryd was now the slowly recovering Deadland region. However, you're right. She's very, very good at Telkai. She'll probably win awards at the Mirrai Festival.
      The Mirrai? Yes...yes. She'd take the Seventh Class design competition, no crosswinds to bar her. She's possibly good enough to be in Sixth Class, except that she lacks so much of the fundamentals of Telkai, it wouldn't be fair. I'll continue to work with her. Goothib reached out his mind to rejoin Harmon and the design tester, and reared back as he saw her progress.
      Luuko hurriedly resumed his contact, and gave a celebratory roar. She had the human flying, and it was a good solid, level flight. The wing joints, formerly glowing yellow and red with failure warnings, were now a light green, the color for success, and were operating flawlessly. She had restricted the design to four lifting organs, one in each wing, and one dispersed along the calf and toward the ankle of each leg. That, coupled with her wing design, which provided lift in a traditional way, with air pressure differences above and below the wing, was enough to give the human very respectable flight capabilities. Luuko could feel her happiness, and looked at her face. She was bearing all her teeth at them, and wrinkling up her eyes. He made a note to associate this with happiness and success.
      Sighing with the effort, Harmon dropped to the ground, retaining a link with the tester to watch the human model fly through virtual space with endless energy. Goothib, the watchful teacher, monitored her exertion level. Harmon, it takes much energy to generate designs and test them. I think you've made excellent progress this first day, but you should rest now. There is much more to Telkai then visualizing and testing the design, and you need to learn it all before we can proceed to actualize your design.
      Luuko added, You have laid the groundwork here for the first human Flight. To be successful, we must proceed carefully with your design, and, in all honesty, we must consult the Great Mother, and the Council, before we allow you to sprout your own wings. Luuko used his gentlest tone, not wanting to disappoint her at her moment of triumph.
      He caught a spike of an unexpected emotion from her as she released the image. She didn't want wings, but had another design in mind for herself. She suppressed the thought too quickly for Luuko to get a glimpse at her other design concept. So, tell me about this Flight of yours, anyway. You keep mentioning it, and it seems important to the art of Telkai. Harmon discreetly probed Luuko to see if she could tell what he had caught from her, and felt relieved as she realized that he had not seen her other design. Her curiosity for the tale of Flight was genuine, and she pressed them for more information.
      Ahh...The Flight. It's been a while since I've had to recite the presentation. You'll have to learn this too, Harmon, to rise to the Second Class in Telkai. Let me see... Goothib paused for a moment, scratching his scaled belly absently with one paw. In the darkness of the War with the Isle, now 1120 cycles ago, in the barryd of Telmirrai, Telkai studied the healing arts to save her kith and kin. Barryds and waters were new in that age, little more than shelters and pools for drinking. Mulkai studies (War studies) were the dominant art of the time, and most engineers worked to develop a more defensible barryd, where the very walls would work to actively repel invaders. The same was wished for the water pools. They would fill with water that could recognize residents from invaders, and act accordingly. Telkai was called in by the Mulkai council to instill in the waters the will to heal. She knew of every creature's internal plan, the genetics by your human term. She created in the water an active cell virus that would find the plan, compare the plan to wherever it was within the magnetic field of the individual in the Water, and, drawing on the energy sugars and proteins in the Water rebuild whatever was missing from the creature.
      Goothib carefully illustrated each major point with a carefully rehearsed image. The first scene was of towers, blood red, twisting with what looked like a knotwork of veins, ending in a sparse leafy top — the first war barryds. He began to illustrate the pools of water versus the new Water, but halted. The image he called was not like the first. It was improvised. Luuko hoped Harmon would not realize the deception. They could not learn of the location of the pools until it was time. Goothib chose to show Harmon two vials: one clear, like stream water, and one with a greenish tinge, the Water. Goothib returned to the standard images of the recital, showing the wingless Mulkai leaders — in drab browns and dark greens, with Telkai — a shining white Dimar, her wings outlined as a shimmering blue halo, in the prime of her molt, with flowing white fur tufting out under the last of her molting firescales, standing before them. Luuko secretly wondered just how accurate the image was. Goothib worshipped Telkai as much as he, Luuko, worshipped the Wind.
      The Mulkai council saw the genius of her work, and with the darkness in their minds, they wanted to push it further, toward the end of destruction. Telkai was ordered to create a cell, that when given an internal plan would convert the entire being within the particular magnetic field to the form the cell was given. Telkai, working with a host of others, created a system by which genetic code can be examined, tested and released into particular pools of the Water.
      Telkai, flanked by her team of eight wingless Dimar, each of a different primary color, stood in a line before the first tester. The scene was pure fantasy — no one, not even the Leaders Council, had records on who had worked on the first Telkai engineering testing system. Luuko wiggled his ears, realizing that Harmon was amused by the scene. Goothib was off in his own world, continuing the story obliviously.
      The Mulkai council used this new wonder badly. They turned Great Leaders of other barryds into hideous beasts, or killing them by turning their own cells against them. The deaths were horribly cruel and painful. Waters-lost, wandering through the supply of regular water would kill entire barryds, even friendly ones, seeking out only Dimar code and altering it to die.
      Luuko stopped laughing as these scenes played out, and laid his ears back instinctively. These images were based on actual execution recordings, and were painfully real. He thought of Mulkol, one of the last of the war barryds just a half day's flight east of Telka, and wondered just how many captured Telkans had ended up in those pits. Harmon broadcast a clear emotion: horror. The battle scenes had not bothered her, but the scenes of the horribly painful slow deaths didn't sit well with her. Her mouth hung open and she covered it with one hand. Her skin was very pale. Her eyes were wide, and moisture formed at the corners. Luuko made a mental note that this was horror.
      Telkai and her rankmates were deeply troubled, and set about a plan to end the War of the Isle while there were still Dimar left to survive. The War had begun because the Mulkai of the Island Continents were swimming through the Great Sea to settle on the shores of Mainland. They were different, and more powerful than the Mulkai Dimar of Mainland and of the southern archipelagos, and because of the differences the fighting had begun. Dimar of Mainland saw the weakening of the western barryds as a great opportunity to take lands from them. Trapped, members of the western barryds could do little but fight to stave off their attacks.
      The Island Continent Dimar were perennially in disfavor with the Mainland Dimar, and Goothib was not particularly fond of Dimar of the Isles himself. The images reflected this, showing hulking, gray bodies climbing up on shore on stocky legs. Instead of the graceful heads of Mainland Dimar, Goothib showed the Dimar of the Isles as block headed, with flat, blunt snouts and thick necks. Luuko had seen Dimar of the Isles in his travels, and knew that they were actually just a more sinuous, smaller variety of Dimar. He broadcast a revised image to Harmon, not letting Goothib know that he was correcting him.
      Telkai would free them. Telkai would give all Dimar wings, so that they might mingle freely in the air safely, or flee attacks to restart barryds elsewhere when greed takes hold of their neighbors. Telkai allowed Dimar to transcend their war, literally.
      Working in secret, Telkai and her team tested and re-tested the design. It had to be perfect, and breed true in all the Dimar subspecies. The cell had to be released somehow into every barryd's water supply. Every barryd had to be given the secret of Water so that the cell could work. Any time a Dimar was immersed in Water, the cell could act, adding wing structure code to each Dimar little by little.
      Telkai betrayed her barryd to save it. She left her Barryd in the West and went to the other side. She seeded the Mainland conquered barryds of the East, and the north and south twin continents, teaching them of the healing powers of Water. Soon, all barryds were producing Water, seeded with his special cell, set not to act until the appointed day. Once all barryd-dwelling Dimar were set, Telkai had to devise a way to infuse the cell in the Dimar from the Isle, who did not have barryd technology.
      In what was seen as an act of ultimate betrayal, Telkai taught the Isle Dimar the key to disarming Telmirrai — her own home in the West, and the last outpost of free Mainland Dimar. In the bloodiest of all battles, it fell to the Dimar of the Isles. The surviving Telmirrai leaders regrouped at Iladinal barryd in secret to discuss what had happened, and there, Telkai turned herself in to suffer her fate. The Leaders of Telmirrai immersed her in a pool of flesh-eating cells — the most horrible execution ever devised. It is told that at the moment of her death, a great cry went up all over Dimar. Her wing-making cells awakened, drawing all Dimar inexorably toward the Water to soothe the flaming pains that consumed them. As she slowly decayed in the pool at Iladinal, all of Dimar grew wings.
      Luuko chuckled inwardly. Harmon clearly understood that this was a romanticized version of the truth, if near the truth at all, and was amused by the sugary sweet propaganda Goothib was tossing at her.
      Goothib emerged from his reverie sighing. If only I had been around in that time, to live to see the great one give us the power of Flight and subcreation. I, no doubt would have been a key member of her development team. Goothib chuckled, wiggling his ears and crooning smugly.
      You probably would have ended up on the wrong end of a war-oolar's tusks in some stupid battle, Goothib. Most Telkans that were conscripted ended up as fertilizer, Luuko admonished him. Goothib looked crushed, and looked away. Thinking more positively, he reminded him, and if you'd been there, then you wouldn't be here to teach Harmon, the first non-Dimar, the art of the Telkai studies. Your place in history is here, Goothib — doing the true work of the true child of the Water.
      Goothib brightened considerably, whuffling toward Harmon. Shall I teach you the image-ballad so you can work your way toward the Second Class?
      Luuko had had all he could stand of Telkai for the day, and excused himself. Learning ballads of Dimar long dead was not his style, and he trundled off on all fours to find something useful to do around the encampment.

The Tomb of the Unknown Editor: Thank you for all those pages of GREAT edits. I suck for losing your email. <:|   Dimar: Lost Waters is a public domain work of modern science fiction by Dee Dreslough. Please feel free to be inspired by it, draw pictures, write stories based on it, even republish the work as a whole...it belongs to everyone! www.Dimar.org