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The Starfall Construct

My name is Sergios…I have concealed a secret for years that it is driving me to mania and I must tell someone, even if it is

just you dear reader. Of course, I hope your skepticism is not too harsh and won’t label my accounts as sheer fantasy.

But with the Spirits as my witness, what I tell you now is the truth...  


I was a private investigator in Calypsa, and was contracted by the Calypsa University to determine the whereabouts of

an expedition team that was send into the Starfall Mountain to secure earth samples near the Calypsa district. According

to the university, the team had been up in the mountains for a week. But during the following week, all contact ceased.

The team consisted of a total of twenty people. Of the twenty, four were heads of different fields at the university.

Birgus of engineering, Loch of biology, Cornwall of meteorology, and Melano of geology. The remaining sixteen members of

the team were composed of students.

Before I left, I was approached by an avian cardinal by the name of Doctor Kincaid, who was a respected meteorologist

at the university. In fact, he was approached to join the expedition, but he brushed off the requests, citing he was too

old for fieldwork and busy mentoring students, two of which were in an area the expedition passed on their way to their

destination. He gave me their names, descriptions, and asked me to check on them and send his regards should I meet

them. Kincaid was not out of the loop; he knew the university lost contact with the expedition team and was naturally

worried for his own students.

Even though this was not part of my contract, I felt empathy for the old bird’s concerns and gave him my assurances I

would check on them should we cross paths.  With our business concluded, I parted ways with Kincaid and went to ready

myself for the trip.

The university was generous enough to provide me with winter gear and provided me with a backpack full of provisions. I

would have to secure transportation myself, but this was a trifling concern, as I was a qualified manekale rider and was

easily able to obtain one to use.

With equipment and transport secured, I headed off to Starfall, using the same route the expedition team had used. I

ferried my way across the largest lake in Calypsa, as the Sky Wall held no dominion there. Once across the lake, I

disembarked and made my way north, keeping to the plateau’s for as long as I could before turning towards the

mountains.

 

After trekking for two days, I came across a small observatory and was greeted by two people; a male raptor with a

feathered plume and a distinct tail with a small head at the end, and a female canine with purple hair. Their features left

little doubt to who they were. They were the two students Kincaid told me about; and their names were Hal and Miri,

respectively. I introduced myself as a private investigator working for Calypsa University and had a message from Doctor

Kincaid. Upon hearing of Kincaid’s name, both Hal and Miri welcomed me inside the observatory.

The observatory was not top-notch, but it was homely enough for one of its size. I exchanged pleasantries with the two

students over cups of warm refreshments. I gave them Kincaid’s regards to which both seemed most pleased.

I asked if they had seen the expedition team, to which Hal informed me they did about two weeks ago. When asked why,

I told them the reason for my visit to the mountains.
Miri voiced concern as she held a pet spark ryuu in her lap, but I

assured her, it was most likely faulty comms.

A few more pleasantries were exchanged before I resumed my trek. I gave my farewells to Hal and Miri and thanked them

for their hospitality, letting them know I would give their regards to Kincaid when I returned.

 

Another two days passed before I found the camp, which was constructed on a small slightly domed mountainside. I say

slightly domed, as one side of the mountain was a sheer dropoff into a chasm below.

The camp itself was composed of several lines of tents and one larger tent. A few ice drills were located outside of the

camp, while numerous and large storage boxes for provisions were dotted around the area. Lastly, there was a pen

constructed to house manekales.

As I made my way into the camp, what awaited me was not a welcome…it was madness.

 

I wish what I told Miri was the truth; that faulty comms were the cause of the lost contact. In that camp was nothing

but horror; bodies, both dreamkeeper and manekale, were crushed, broken, or torn to pieces, limbs scattered, heads

missing, or organs ripped out. Blood spilled, pooled, or was splattered. Due to the cold of the mountains, they were frozen

stiff, morbidly preserved, with their looks of fear still etched on their faces.

To say I was not without fear upon seeing the grim scene would be an understatement. But when I regained control of

my senses, I set about determining what caused this insanity…

 

I left my manekale at the pen, and explored the camp. Save for the dead bodies, the camp was largely undamaged. There

was only one place I wanted to find; I checked the largest tent, and found the comms unit. I also found another of the

expedition team. It was Melano, dead, sitting in a chair, and slummed over a table. It seemed he survived the attack, as

he had no wounds, but likely died later from the cold.

Next to him and the table was the comms unit the team was using to send reports. I made an attempt to activate it and

try to recover any entries or even contact the university, but met with no success. I then noticed something that caught

the corner of my eye; it was a journal, partly covered by Melano’s slumped corpse. I removed it, and read his entries.

Most of his entries were just writings of their daily findings in the earth samples they were studying. But it was the last

entry that revealed what befell the camp:

 

Camp was attacked last night…it was a slaughter. The golem we discovered…activated. Attacked entire team and animals; all students were killed. Birgus, Loch, and Cornwall…dead as well. I somehow was able to escape, but my legs were injured…hurts to stand, let alone run or walk. Made my way to comms unit, but it was damaged during the attack. No chance to salvage or repair…the cold will claim me soon. But before it does, I must reveal what happened…

 

About several miles from the camp site, we had unearthed a construct frozen in ice. I had no proof, but I was certain this was one of Loew’s creations, one of his golems used during the Last War of Powers. He worked for the hated Animrast when war broke out and created golems for her war efforts. How one of his golems got this far, I cannot even guess. But given all his golems were destroyed when the war ended, a finding like this was incredible. If only we knew what we were unleashing… 

 

We brought it back to camp and removed the ice. But as soon as we broke enough ice, it activated and started…killing everyone and everything. So much blood…poor souls…

My end is near…cold claiming me…If anyone finds this journal, get out of these mountains…get out for your life. It killed us…it will kill you… 

Suddenly, my manekale let out a cry of fear that echoed through the air, before it was quickly cut off. I pocketed the

journal and exited the tent to find out what was happening. What I witness had me frozen in place…

As I exited the tent, I saw a tall figure standing nine feet, and wearing broken armor. The armor was etched with runes

and gave off a soft glow. And in the figure’s left hand was clutched the neck of my manekale. With a quick motion, its

neck was snapped before having its head tore clean off, leaving a neck stump gushing with blood.

This knocked me out of my trance, as I backed away in fear…only to knock over one of the large storage boxes. It landed

with a thud, spilling its contents. The figure spun around at the noise; if it had eyes through the thin visor on its helmet,

they borrowed into me. The look of the creature left little doubt; It was the golem!

In an instant, seeing a new target, the golem tossed my headless manekale away and ran towards me.

I did the opposite and bolted away, as it chased me through the camp; this was a threat not to confront, but flee from…

I made efforts to confuse it by weaving my way through storage boxes and tents, but the golem’s might rendered my

efforts worthless, as it plowed through tents and swatted boxes with ease, slowing it down very little.

Panic set in like a virus, as I made a mad dash out of the camp with the golem in close pursuit. I ran with no direction;

nothing but escape from this towering giant filled my mind.

I looked back to see that it leaped into the air, and brought its fists down behind me. The shockwave flung me forward

and I bounced across the snow. I eventually stopped and found I was right at the cliff edge, the one with the sheer drop

when I first spotted the camp. In that instant, an idea sprung to me and I pushed back my panic. I picked myself up,  as

the golem once more leaped into the air with its fists clubbed together to deliver the killing strike. At the last moment, I

jumped to the side, moments before the golem’s fists impacted the ground. I was caught in the shockwave again, but it

flung me to the side instead of the cliff edge.

As for the towering goliath, the impact from the shockwave left cracks in the frozen ground under it and the earth

collapsed, plunging it into the chasm below.

I picked myself up, peering over the edge; the golem’s body shattered from the impact and crumbled to dust…I stood

there for some time, trying to calm my nerves, but I eventually returned to the camp to scavenge what I could for the

trip home.

 

It took me a week to return to Anduruna without my manekale. When I returned, I gave a guarded version of what I

experienced to Calypsa University. I told them of the expedition’s demise, saying it was bandits or snow ryuus that killed

them. No one would believe me about the golem, even with Melano’s journal, which I destroyed on my return.

I also had the sad misfortune of informing Doctor Kincaid that his students, Hal and Miri were missing. During my return, I

visited the observatory, but found it abandoned, with only a dead spark ryuu near a stove to keep it warm before the

cold claimed it.

I don’t know where Hal and Miri went...I hope they did not meet a fate similar to the expeditions…

 
It's been years since then, but my thoughts still take me back to that terrible scene atop Starfall and how I narrowly

escaped death from a monstrous construct. They will forever haunt me and some nights can be next to impossible to sleep.

Maybe I can rest easier now that I have revealed the truth…even if it’s just to you dear reader. What you do with this

knowledge, whether to reject or learn from it, I leave to you...

 

My fanfic entry for the DK Halloween Contest 2017 (dreamkeepers-fans.deviantart.c…). This entry was more taxing than previous ones; really burned the midnight oil with this for sure...

H. P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" was the main inspiration for this piece; its one of my favorite from his books and I'm glad I was able to utilize it into my own story =D

Special thanks to :iconkafelnikov: for allowing me to use his characters from his amazing novel "The Wayward Astronomer". I hope I didn't do too much of a hack job with the timelines <_< >_>

Best of luck to the other entries; and I'll see you guys on next years contest =)

Dreamkeepers owned by Dave and Liz Lillie :icondreamkeepers: 

Hal, Miri, and Kincaid belong to :iconkafelnikov:
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:iconpapertop:
Papertop Featured By Owner Edited Nov 16, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh my, this was quite the thrilling read and an awesome entry for this year's contest!! I also thought it was welcome change to actually read a fanfic that contained material from Kafel's novel =D Great job Overall!

Though even after reading this, without spoiling too much from TWA, I have to ask: How did Tesla's Corpse end up back at the Observatory?! Wasn't he with Miri and Hal when they met the cause of their disappearance and that he died near Miri?
Reply
:iconhazzardouseco:
HazzardousEco Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2017
Thanks for the kind words =)

As for Tesla being in the observatory, I'm certain he was left behind while Hal and Miri went in search of the meteor. After Hal and Miri went missing, Tesla was likely left on his own and eventually died from lack of food or cold...
Again, it's been awhile since I read TWA, but I'm fairly sure Tesla was left behind...
Reply
:iconkafelnikov:
Kafelnikov Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2017
I definitely felt a Lovecraftian influence from this! Thanks for participating in this years' halloween contest!
Reply
:iconhazzardouseco:
Sure thing Kafel =)

The actual read of Mountains of Madness is quite long and very detailed, so I went with a BBC radio version, which was much more streamlined and suitable for my purposes (www.youtube.com/playlist?list=…)

Still really happy I was able to get this out; I really need to start working on these things the moment the contest is announced lol

 
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