NEW πŸ“—Story: Radio ❌

Valleys of Vekllei

Saturday, Jul 28, 2018
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⚠️ This article is archived, and should be considered non-canon.

Two years ago, a fission military jet plunged into the mountain behind the village of Montre-Lola, emerging moments later as a plume of fire and smoke in the shadow of the mountain peak. Villagers made their way up the slopes to help survivors, dressed in radiation suits from the town shelter. There were none. Six more lives and six more soldiers lost β€” a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, reactor engineer, bombardier, and fire control officer are written down and then buried like cattle.

Such is the senseless cost of monthly drills, in which the well-oiled spring that sets Vekllei’s nuclear-capable arsenal upon the world quivers in anticipation. The low-lying Raya Valley Air Base fleet emerges over the snow-capped mountains twice a year, panicking farmers below them, as they make their way to auxiliary coastal bases for training.

This year, in usual preparation for the Festival of the Atom, the airship Dumoustra joins a fleet of jet bombers as they rendezvous with the 3rd and 5th Escort squadrons from the coast. They soar dramatically over the ribs of the North Vekllei tectonic mountain ranges, briefly roaring over the quiet farming valleys one by one as peaks pass below them.

The belly of the valleys have some of the best soils in the world, a gift from one of hundreds of volcanoes that are scattered across the North Atlantic nation. Mostly wheat and rice are grown. The sides of the valleys veer dramatically into near-cliffs, folded like paper by the enormous anger of the European and American continental plates.

Trees are short and small-leaved, and often have great colour. Flower-tundras are also common here, called ro in Vekllei.

She was in the shadow of a titan mountain range that followed the tracks as far as she could see. It sloped sharply into the valley, breaking out briefly into a thick temperate woodland before the trees withdrew and terraced wheat fields stepped down to the tracks. Vekllei is an ancient, volcanic land of igneous monument and sharp rock, softened by healthy topsoil bursting with mosses and flowers. She wiped her nose on the back of her hand, and rubbed her eyes. She had dressed up for him but she felt childish shivering on the bare station platform, if it could even qualify as such a thing. It was a bare concrete slab, forty metres long, that serviced rickety rural train cars that ran from here to the Montre terminus, where bullet-train maglevs shot to the capital on the hour.

She looked before her, bringing her knees to her breast, and there was the ro, in all its untouched splendour and colour. The soil here was percolated with water, and it squelched underfoot, rich with minerals and pebbles of quartz and obsidian. As far as she could see, off to her west where the sun was slowly setting, the ground was bejeweled with thick flowers, pockmarked by still pools of fresh water, that, like mirrors, reflected any image above it perfectly.

Let me know if you want to know anything else about Vekllei or this picture.