Chapter 1: Wings of Freedom

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Log #333: Biology

Today is a very big day: we've captured our first Aberrant! These massive, humanoid creatures have been nothing but trouble for us, but now we may have a fighting chance. Thankfully, nothing happens to the corpse upon death, which allows dissection and research to progress quite smoothly. Catching a living specimen will be all but impossible, considering that they can regenerate almost any physical handicap. Furthermore, they do not appear to have any sort of strategic intelligence or communication with each other, and often are only found in pairs, or otherwise miles apart. Their best attack appears to be flailing around with seemingly no coordination whatsoever, which actually has proven many times over to be far more formidable than it may sound. In further research of our deceased specimen, it appears their only weakness is that when their head is severed completely, it will not grow back. They collapse so suddenly, decapitation is almost like an off switch!

-General Shura Averin

0401 BPE

The light channel of wind sweeping by felt incredible, its gentle touch caressing my tender skin, tugging on my lime-green leather clothing, my scruffy hair swaying with the grass in a playful dance with the sky. I opened my eyes, and gazed into the deepest chasm in Alfheim, land of the elves. The chasm, known as Heim's Pit, was infamous for being the base of many rumors, the most common being that it was actually bottomless. The harsh gale within managed to hurl elves out of the chasm infallibly before they got far, and that's why I was determined to be the first to reach its supposed bottom.

Hesitantly, I shuffled my feet over to the cliff side, and took a deep breath, exhaling three seconds later. "This time for sure," I assured myself, "I will be the first to discover your secret!" With that, I leaped out into the abyss and unfurled my wings to shoulder length. Taking a deep breath, I shut my eyes and curled up into a streamline position, arms at my side. One, two, three seconds of unbroken freefall. Four, five, six seconds of wind tearing at my face. Ten excruciating seconds is how long I fell before I finally opened up from my streamline, gravity yanking me into darkness, and dared to spread my body out while extending my wings past my shoulders.

Immediately, I felt the familiar hurricane tear at my wings, tossing my about like a ragdoll in a tornado. The gale ravaged through my fragile body, and I spun so much I could taste my dinner attempt to resurface. As the minutes of helplessness raged on, I thought about those who would miss me if I was torn apart by the gale. I imagined my family, and their smiling faces. Their encouragement slowly transformed into my courage, and when I reopened my eyes, the world had lost its hectic fury. I began to calm myself, my pulse slowing to a steady pace, and dared to fully outstretch my wings. The moment they had maximized their surface area, I felt the adrenaline that had been rushing through me, and the battering of the winds seemed to slow almost to a stop, like a breeze.

I had full control of my body and mind.

Now that I was in command, I drifted lower until the shadows consumed me, day morphing into night. As I peered through the blackness, I noticed a "thing" glimmering far below, seemingly engraved in a wall. Hopeful, I sped my descent towards the "thing", and sure enough, I came upon a fist-sized gem, one of many highlighting a small entrance to a tunnel. I excitedly put my wings back, and landed on a solid surface.

I actually made it!

The cool stone of the pit was a welcome feeling to my worn-down moccasins, and a rest for my wings wasn't unwelcome, either. The clearing was large; someone could build a log cabin down here and still have a few yards in each direction to maneuver. To one side opened a tunnel, easy to spot due to its shimmering gems, all different colors in all different places. As I headed in, I remembered an old legend about Heim's Pit.

"It is said that when a star crashes to the planet," a bard had begun, "the crater becomes a small pit, and gems of incredible rarity are formed by the extraterrestrial entity. One day, a star the size of a small village tore apart the land, billowing dust high into the sky, and when the land settled, a dark, gaping hole appeared in its place. No one could reach the bottom; a strange hurricane always jettisoned them out of the pit, so many believed it was actually bottomless. One day, a seven-foot tall elf looked down the pit, and laughed. 'Ha, this is the famed bottomless pit? I've tumbled through deeper chasms.' A large crowd gathered around him, and he leaped out, diving down in a streamline position for a few seconds. Immediately afterwards, he unfurled his wings and caught adrift the waves of wind. Unlike the previous contestants, however, this man seemed to enjoy the battle, laughing and spinning, deeper and deeper, until he was gobbled up by the darkness.

Far below the surface, as well as the watchful eyes of the crowd, the man gently glided lower until he noticed a large gem protruding from the wall, and landed in front of it in an attempt to yank it out. After three unsuccessful attempts, the gem finally broke loose, and he was sent staggering back a few feet, gem in hand. To his surprise, the wall that had previously cradled the jewel had collapsed, and a tunnel filled with fist-sized gems stood in its place. Deep within he heard a loud hissing sound, as if threatening any intruder to keep their distance. He was a smart man; he knew that something was bound to go wrong if he continued to search for greater treasures, so he decided to return to the surface, leaving the hole in the abyss behind. When he finally surfaced, he boasted his name wherever he travelled, claiming that the Great Heim was the greatest explorer of Alfheim, so the chasm was from then on known as 'Heim's Pit'."

That story supposedly took place generations ago, and no one can really prove or disprove its legitimacy; the story concluded with him burying the gem deep underground, in a bunker he dug and reburied. All this was swirling through my mind as I proceeded further into the tunnel, and the gems seemed to dim a bit. After a few minutes of humming Pompeii to myself, I could make out a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Now in a sprint, I rushed through the opening into a large room not quite the size of the main chamber. It was about fifteen yards long and twelve or so yards wide. The ceiling was high enough for three grown men to stand on each other's shoulders and scrape the top. There wasn't much in the room, aside from a massive marble staircase, leading up to a glittering ruby-like jewel the size of my torso.

There it is.

Hurrying up the polished stairs, I soon found myself face-to-face with the single greatest treasure I had ever seen, glistening in the darkness of the cave. It was shiny and cool to the touch, yet not that heavy when I attempted to lift it out of its nest. As I did, I heard a rumbling, and quickly placed the jewel back in its proper place. The rumbling continued, and I heard a loud hissing noise behind me. Petrified, all I could do was turn my head around, and stare at the serpentine head larger than my entire body. Still paralyzed, I watched helplessly as it opened its blood-red mouth, and revealed its rows of sharp fangs. It snapped its jaws around me, and the world went dark.

When I woke up, thunder was echoing through the darkness of midnight, and Alfheim had ceased to exist.

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