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The World of Sopho: Calamity - Chapter 1

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Keywords male 689501, female 568981, magic 12795, snow leopard 5272, apocalypse 377, sopho 1
This book is currently in BETA. I've looked the chapter over carefully but there may still be mistakes. Please let me know if you find said mistakes and I will correct them. thank you!

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I awoke to the muzzle of my birth mate, Maurine, nuzzling against my own. My hand paws embraced her own as we had our morning kiss. Purrs rumbled from both of us as our paws left each other and began to stroke through the long, thick, silky smooth fur of the other. Our typical morning greeting.
A window behind us showed the spectacular view of a pine forest, covered in icy plant life growing out from the thick blanket of snow. Beams of sunlight peeked through the dense foliage their light intensified by the white powder. For snow Leopards, you couldn’t ask for a nicer day.
Maurine’s purrs increased as my paw moved downward. My intentions were nearly clear when the window flickered and began to let out a low buzz, showing static.
“Holo-screen’s acting up again,” I mumbled, “First malfunction of the day.”
To my disappointment, the errant technology had ended the chance for a potential treat. With a peck on my black nose, my mate sprang too her feet and began to prepare for the day.
“Do your thing. I’ll make breakfast.” Maurine said.
‘Doing my thing’ consisted of thoroughly checking every single component of our home, technical and magical. By most Xi’lan, even low ranks, this bunker wouldn’t be something they wouldn’t want to visit, let alone reside. Most everything was outdated by a few decades or even centuries, and were easy trades for next to nothing, or given to the first willing to haul the item away.
A testimony to a society that loves the new and tosses the old aside, even when it’s still fully functional.
This was our life. Trading, blacksmithing, scrapping and all the other ‘under the table’ jobs we could get our paws on. Exiles. That’s what we are and will be, potentially for the rest of our lives. We weren’t allowed to have jobs, make currency or do anything that could benefit society. The only reason we survived was that our pride leader, my father, refused to let us starve. He had the resources to bribe the local government to look the other way and pretend we didn’t exist.
This worked out well for everyone over the past thirty years.
The sound of chopping and scents of breakfast floated through the air as I checked each rooms equipment with Willow, our mover. A mover could be best explained as a floating metallic eyeball that acted as a personal computer or a friend if one was desperate for companionship. Like everything else, Willow was out of date by three centuries, but the trade to acquire him still left us without luxuries like coffee, for few months. It was worth it. Willow allowed me to check everything in thirty minutes, instead of three hours and could alert us to problems before they escalated out of control.
The reason for the screen flickering revealed itself to me once more as I crammed myself into the command closet and read a diagnostic from the central computer. It was centuries older than Willow but did the job of running our home as well as the current models. One exception was Central didn’t have a direct interface. meaning before I got Willow, everything from central had to be printed onto paper. Each correction required another printout and each one was twenty pages long.
Thank the gods for Willow.
Central reports all elemental energy gathered last night is unusable by equipment in the bunker and caused disruptions during its purge from the reactor. The usable reserve has dropped by another point two percent. Reserve now sits at ninety-six point two percent remaining.” Willow said.
“The converter malfunctioned?” I asked.
Central doesn’t think so and neither do I from her data. Diagnostic shows green on all systems.
“Then what could be wrong?”
I’m not equipped with a theorizing module. Any predictions I make will have a ninety three-percent chance of inaccuracies. Would you like me to order a module?
I rolled my eyes. Willow still didn’t comprehend the situation we were in, “Absolutely! Add it to your mounting order list.”
Despite this seemingly ordinary day, we were in a serious and potentially life-threatening situation. One month ago, Maurine and I concealed the bunker with magic and sealed ourselves inside as the gods had willed in their visions my mate had when she was fourteen. For three days, we cowered in the deepest part of the bunker, listening to unearthly sounds that quaked the very mountain.
Since then there has been complete silence. Radio, television, interlink, all forms of transmissions had gone silent. We had stayed in the bunker, too afraid to leave in fear that whatever made those noises could still be out there waiting for us.
Maurine announced in a cheerful tone, “Breakfast!”
Well, I was still afraid at least.
Today’s breakfast was canned fruit cocktail, freshly baked bread with strawberry jelly, coffee with all its assortments and our daily protein packs. The stasis storage was packed to the brim with supplies and could allow us to eat well for three years. Ten years if we ate the bare minimum to survive. Much of it was collected from stores that sold it to us at a heavy discount when it was no longer allowed to be on the shelves or was assorted military rations I received for under the table trades, or directly from the black market.
Maurine mused as she nibbled on her bread, “We should have made another storage area for meat. I miss sausage in the morning.”
“It could be worst,” I said, “Imagine if we didn’t make a space for the coffee?”
“I’d have killed you by now!”
Willow let out a chime.
Beginning daily attempt to connect to the interlink database…
A ray of hope filled me as Willow attempted to connect longer than normal. If he succeeded, then the interlink still existed and civilization hadn’t collapsed. Things could go back to the way they used to be. The thought of going to visit their pride was pleasant, even if we would be mocked for hiding away in fear.
Interlink database isn’t responding. Will attempt again in twenty-four hours.” Willow buzzed.
With a sigh, I returned to my meal.
“It’s pointless for him to keep trying… it’s gone…” Maurine said.
“I won’t give up hope,” I said.
Maurine gave a small smile and returned to her meal. I returned to my meal for a moment but a glanced back to my mate revealed her ears now dropped. A small frown began to creep over her muzzle, something only I ever noticed in time. She was brooding and if I didn’t get this cleared up, by tonight she would be ready to explode.
“What’s wrong, love?” I asked.
Maurine didn’t look up from her meal, “Nothing. I didn’t say anything.”
“You don’t have to say anything. I know my mate.”
“It’s nothing. Now drop it and let me eat!”
I didn’t resume my meal and supported my muzzle with my paws as I watched Maurine, unblinking. Maurine added more jelly to her toast and spread some of her protein pack onto the slice. The way her fur stood on end suggested it probably didn’t taste that great. Still, she still finished it always hating to be wasteful even when we were kittens. She was frugal toward everything except her caffeine.
At last, she spotted my relentless gaze and responded with narrowed eyes and her typical hiss. A warning that I was now pissing her off.
“I asked you to drop it…”
“I’m not gonna stop until you tell me what’s wrong,” I said.
“Fine,” Maurine mewled, “How long until you decide we should go outside?”
“Once I’m sure it’s safe.”
“It’s been almost three weeks. It isn’t going to get any safer than it currently already is.”
I picked up a grape as I pondered the idea, “I take you’ve had a vision from the goddesses?”
“No, they’ve been silent since we heard ‘it’ attacking.”
“That thing could still be out there, waiting for us.”
“It isn’t.”
“How can you doubt that when you’ve received no other word from the gods?”
“I know.”
“You had a vision?”
“No, but I had a dream last night.”
My ears perked at this news. To most people in the world, including myself, a dream was nothing more than just that. For Maurine, a seer and conduit to the gods, a dream was a potential window into future events. It was her dreams that created the very bunker we live in and protected us from the unknown destruction outside.
“What did you see?” I asked.
Maurine closed her eyes tight, likely to remember the dream clearer, “I saw us outside the bunker, walking through the fog in the cold towards other figures.”
“Figures?”
“I can’t make them out, or the landscape. It’s all covered in mist… but when I look at the figures, it feels like how I felt when we found Samantha after she got lost in the forest for those couple hours when she was three.”
I drooped my ears, closed my eyes and lowered my head at the thought of our deceased daughter. The little fuzzy furball had brought me five years of endless joy. Now, it just brought me back to the moment Maurine and I held her as she passed into the Silver Lands from a hereditary disease I passed to her. The desperation and shame caused me to begin to call out to her like a feral would in the nights afterward until Maurine would shake me to my senses.
Mese!
I opened my eyes to find myself being shaken once more. Six months and I was still heartbroken from the loss of our kitten.
“Sorry…”
Maurine answered with a hug. I dragged her into my arms and held her, our forehead pressed together until the despair washed away. For the longest time, we sat there, feeding each other from my plate, happy and content with each others company, as it had been since we were kittens. It was when I began to groom her face that she slid from my arms and lap, looking down at me with an authoritarian attitude.
“We can’t hide in here forever,” Maurine said.
“I know.”
“Yet you keep resisting the idea of going outside.”
“I’m the male. I should have the final say and I’m saying we stay inside until I think it’s safe.”
This never worked on Maurine but was my way of saying I strongly disagreed. The paws of my mate pressed against her sides as she challenged my authority once more. This briefly took my mind to the many other mates who would never dare question their male. Once I had seen a male strike their mate to make them comply. Never. Never would I do such a thing to my love.
Maurine didn’t hesitate to challenge me, “We can go outside together or I can go out alone. That’s your choice.”
I let out a sigh as I rose to my feet, “We’ll get prepared. It’ll be cold-”
“How about we just go outside for a few minutes to see if it’s safe, and then go from there?” Maurine asked.
Without waiting for my answer, she headed towards the entrance inner door. Knowing it was pointless to object, I followed and pulled the lever that began the process of unsealing our home. The inner door to the entrance room slid open, which my mate entered without hesitation, dragging me by the paw alongside her. The door behind us closed and creaking and clicking came from the main entrance as it unsealed. The temperature plunged as it slid open, exposing us to the winter mountain air that would chill most other species to the bone.
Maurine took deep, purred breaths of the air. I, however, had already noticed a change to the last time we were outside.
“Why can’t we hear the city?” I asked.
We strained our ears for the sounds of the city three miles down the mountain that could be heard even over the howling winds. Cautiously, with Maurine at my side, we stepped over the threshold and each let out a gasp.
I built our home into the mountain, just on the other side of a pine forest, and high enough to view the bustling city of two million. The city lay silent and ruined. Many of the skyscrapers were nothing more than debris in what was once the downtown area, any still standing teetered on collapse.
“M-my gods…” Maurine mewled.
I was lost for words. This wasn’t what I had expected to discover. Maybe the city would have taken extensive damage but they would be rebuilding with magic, despite the lack of power and the interlink. Instead, I see the utter devastation, laying in silence. This was beyond my worst fears. Dear gods, help us.
Maurine plunged to her knees, covering her muzzle, eyes flooding with tears.
“I tried to warn them… I begged them to listen. I took repeated lashes to try and make them see!”
Unable to bare looking upon the destruction any longer, my attention to our closer surroundings. Confusion filled me. Trees had popped up in the area I maintained, and the one I hadn’t cleared now stood much higher behind our daughters grave which was covered in overgrown mountain ice grass and moss. To see her final resting spot untidy sent me rushing over to clear it as hastily as possible. It wasn’t until it was tidy once more that I looked upon her gravestone and tilted my head at the weathering of the marble.
“This doesn’t make sense. It’s only been a month…”
My attention returned to Maurine, who was hugging her own chest as she cried. I went to go comfort her but spun towards the sound of crumbling rocks to find a feral snow leopard investigating us from a distance. This was a shock, as our feral kind were on the brink of extinction, even with rigid conservation laws. I had seen one my entire life in a zoo and never anywhere else, despite roaming deep into the mountains.
“Maurine. Look at what I’m seeing.”
Another gasp came from my mate as moved beside me, still sniffling and letting out mewls. These noises of distress set off the feral, who all began to call out. I answered, to the which it watched us for a few moments, and headed higher into the mountains. I put my arm around Maurine as she put her head on my shoulder, still distraught, my own mind working together pieces of a strange puzzle.
“Whatever attacked somehow destroyed or damaged artificial structures, but grew trees, and revived feral populations?” I said.
“We need to go down to the city…” Maurine mewled.
This caused me to promptly shake my head and hiss as she shoved me away, and begin down the path on her own.
“WAIT!” I yelled, “You have no clue what it’s like down there!”
Panic filled me as she disappeared into the forest. I bellowed at the top of my lungs, “COME BACK YOU IDIOT FEMALE! WE NEED TO BE PROPERLY GEARED BEFORE WE GO DOWN!”
Relief filled me as Maurine came back into view, but stayed on the edge of the forest, paws crossed on her chest.
“Go get what we need then, I’ll be waiting right here!”
I rushed back into the bunker, cursing to myself as I grabbed our backpacks from the storage room. Willow followed above my head as I unlocked the workshop and began to swiftly sort equipment I assumed we might need.
Master, will you be going on an errand?” Willow chimed.
“That’s right… flashlights!” I mumbled, stuffing one each into the backpacks.
Shall I overclock myself for winter outdoor excursions?
“No. Keep the homestead maintained until we return,” I said.
I headed for the door but was blocked by Willow, who let out a buzz.
A scan of your backpacks has indicated you have forgotten emergency rations. Shall I make up two cold-weather rations?
With a single nod, Willow shot into the storage, letting out chirps like a bird at times as I heard him hovering around. Two loud hisses announced him vacuum packing whatever content he had chosen. A moment later he reappeared with two heavy parcels that happened to snuggly fit in the little room left in the backpacks, no accident from the hyper-efficient mover.
“Seal the bunker behind me. Don’t let anyone in without my or Maurine’s permission!”
Maurine wasn’t in view as I came out of the bunker, causing a few moments of panic until I spotted her at the end of the trail, on the road. The moment I got a certain distance from the bunker, it all changed into what looked like an ordinary rock surface, blending in perfectly.
I stormed to my mate, throwing her backpack at her a little harder than intended, and let out a hiss at her.
Mese!
I pointed down the road and let out another hiss, “You lead since you’re so god damn eager!”
“I didn’t mean to mak-”
“Just move your big butt and let’s get this over with!”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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by ThyGuyX
First in pool
Last in pool
Mese is mated to a seer named Maurine, who foretold the end of the Xi'lan civilization if they did not heed the gods warning. For this supposed blasphemy against the Xi'lan, the two were exiled and forced to live in the fridge of society for decades.

One month ago Maurine's prophecy came true. The two exiles came out of their bunker to find nothing but death, destruction, and people fighting just to survive another day amongst the ruins of the dead civilization. Will Mese and Maurine find a way to survive in this new cold, cruel world or will they fade away, just like the Xi'lan?

Keywords
male 689,501, female 568,981, magic 12,795, snow leopard 5,272, apocalypse 377, sopho 1
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 1 year ago
Rating: General

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