No story starts at the beginning, everybody knows that.
There’s always too much behind it all.
Too much complexity, too many secrets.
And so it is with this one.
Aeons of history and millions of stories all leading to one point;
An event that would shake all creation.
Not even we could have been prepared for the scale of our battle,
Nor could we have comprehended the magnitude of our power.
We gained so much, yet lost in equal measure.
These are the stories of The Ark Regenesis
Listen, son. It is no strange thing for the few to become many, for the small to become mighty, for the dreams of one to become the dreams of the myriad. But to reach beyond oneself, to hold true to one's promises, and to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, no matter the poor hand that fate deals you - that is something out of the ordinary.
Enkerai Irinife sat at the top of the tallest tree in Manyatta village and stared wistfully into the distance. At the base of the rugged tree, a maze of bungalows radiated out in neat rows in all directions. Small and cosy, built from a mixture of wood, clay and multi-coloured cloth, they created a sun-like pattern that reflected the warmth of the people within them. Off in the distance, the main road to the village could be seen stretching off through farms before fading into the forest. The scene was familiar. Enkerai had climbed this tree hundreds of times, and it was one of the few places in the village where he knew he belonged.
A warm glow danced across the landscape and the ant-sized shapes in the distance scurried around frantically getting on with their preparations for today’s coming of age festival.
“Enkerai!” A voice called from below.
Enkerai sighed and rolled his eyes, before answering back, “Yes?”
“Get yourself down here. You are needed!” the voice was peppered with annoyance and as Enkerai lowered himself he saw that its owner's face was too. Landing lightly on the paved floor of the central square, Enkerai began dusting his fur lined skirt and straightening his long ponytail to avoid the gaze of his older brother, Araktobi.
“All the other young men are in the fields preparing their equipment for the Gauntlet and you’re climbing trees?” His older brother stood well over six foot tall, huge muscles rippling as he folded his arms in disappointment. Araktobi wore a highly decorated skirt that showed his high rank in the village guard, and it swayed from side to side as the cool wind blew through the village centre. Strapped to his back were two wooden staffs.
“Why do we even still do that stupid gauntlet?” Enkerai complained, kicking a stray stone aside. “In the Capital, you reach sixteen and you’re an adult, that’s it. Why have you got me here jumping through hoops and chasing down animals to prove what I know I am?”
“Well what are you exactly, Enkerai?” the corner of Araktobi’s mouth turned up slightly in amusement and his face glowed as the sun fell gently on his bare head.
“Don’t answer my question with a question,” Enkerai countered, “I bet you don’t even know why we still do it.”
“You would know if you listened,” Araktobi sighed, “We do it because it is the way of our people. As I’ve told you a hundred times: The way of our people is important. This world is moving faster than ever, and we are moving with it. Skyship docks, railway stations, communication towers – all these will be part of our village soon enough. It is important that we keep some of what makes us unique and distinct, and that we retain and respect it.”
Enkerai tilted his head, still not quite understanding Araktobi’s response, despite hearing it time and again for the past few weeks. His brother chuckled, slightly amused, but still somewhat disappointed.
“The sooner you understand that, Enkerai…” Enkerai’s brother passed him one of the staffs he had strapped to his back, “The sooner you’ll become a man.”
“My staff?” Enkerai took the staff from his brother; it was highly decorated with carvings, and coloured cursive patterns ran its length. He looked at it quizzically his confusion only growing.
“It’s for the gauntlet. If you’d been training you’d know that you need it,” His brother sighed, “Few do it the first time, so I guess… it won’t be too embarrassing if you fail...” Araktobi furrowed his eyebrows slightly, “Either way I’ll be sending positive big brother vibes your way.”
“Ha, I don’t need your positive vibes, Arak. Please understand something - just because I don’t want to do the gauntlet,” Enkerai slung the staff across his shoulders like a yoke, holding it loosely with his right hand, “It doesn’t mean I won’t win it.”