“AH! I found it.” The booming voice rattled its joy through the mazes of eclectic rooms. So loud was the sudden exclamation that it thundered through the low hanging clouds and rumbled the rocky ground all the way down to the valley. The Collector’s voice woke the facilitators and they quickly left wherever they were and whatever they were doing. The four of them flew to his side having been summoned this way before; Suhia from the east, Lain from the north, Cronix from the West, and Gelidus from the North.
“Oh won’t the Society Members be envious of this treasure.” The crinkled man clapped his hands together in delight and the walls trembled. “I found the Mandible of Ixtab!”
As the facilitators readied the summons box and opened the command book one larger shadow, Cronix, took the clues from the others and asked, “And what is that, exactly?”
“It is the jaw bone of an ancient god, the Tackqular age of the Central Section.” He squealed and the rafters above shifted. “It will complete my Primal Age Level Three Section. I will gather one of my drone colonies to retrieve it.” Excitement in his voice made the waters in the seas below rise.
He hopped to the now opened book flipped quickly and spread his arms out to either side. He was overly excited and did not take the time he usually did to put his short finger on the old text, and adjusted the light.
Cetria em vugas umetra,
Oritious blye segratium.
Sintroum ty ligratha
Treuom crigha va
In an even louder tone, winds blew and the stars began to swirl.
“Wait.” The Collector leaned over the book and whispered. After an exaggerated squint he rubbed his eyes quickly. “Did I say Treucraig crava, or Treuomcrighta va?”
Cronix, a shadow that had a past of being sometimes outspoken chuckled, “Opps.” And that was his latest mistake.
Cronix cursed as the blackness swirled around him. If he would have kept his mouth shut he might not have been sent off on this mistake mission. After all this time he still couldn’t keep his enjoyment of his master’s missteps silent. For that he pays. Again he pays.
Now he was off on another collection. Cronix had often wondered how much stuff his master had to have. As each section of his mausoleum filled he just added another wing. There were only a few of them, Collectors, that Cronix knew of. He never meant any of them other than his master. But he listened and learned. Not well enough of course or he wouldn’t be speeding through the void off to lead a misguided group to collect bones.
As the blackness began to show hues of light Cronix felt his body shift. He could smell a world racing to meet him. From the dark space he magically began to see the land of his mission. It was thick. Thick with a haze of moisture from a ground covered with a dull murky green. Like floating moss it wove around thin trunks of smooth barked low trees. They twisted thickly around each other, twigs with only a few leaves the color of rust. In between the soft spongy soggy soil the trees spread their low branches almost as wide as they did high. They were more branches than they were leaves. Only a little higher than a man seated on a horse they spread out in all directions as far as Cronix could see. But a thick light green haze did limit his view.
He tried to find a wide open spot in the strange dense forest. There wasn’t one really so he settled on a tiny opening between clusters of the trees where the moss seemed more substantial. He was sure when his legs hit the spot he would sink. As he looked he wondered how many he would call here. He hadn’t been given any information on the mistakenly gathered crew. All he could do was call them and direct each to land in the muck. Of course he didn’t have the commands his master did. He could only direct each caught subject to land in this spot.
Just as he was getting ready to break from the vapor he traveled through he stretched his legs only to find them short little stick with claws on the end. What?, he cawed. Bracing himself he opened his arms surprised to find them to be wing. A wide range of curses rang through the wild landscape. Cronix realized he must have really pissed The Collector this time. He had transported him through in the shape of a bird. Not just a bird, a crow. His string of swear words let him know at least his voice was intact.
Still, Cronix was a crow. Here in some jungle swamp he was sent, as a crow, to lead a band of misfit mistakes to find a jaw bone.