The following oral myth was transcribed in 2017 as part of Project Abora. It is the first installment in the Aboran History series.
Now the land was rich and prosperous, and the people had enough. But the laws were strict and many lived in fear. The Oppressors, woe be to them, ruled the caves. The small folk dared not challenge their rule and subserved. Those who helped the Oppressors were elevated above the rest but their days were filled with fear.
One helper of the Oppressors was named Dyanero, blessings be upon him. Dyanero created great machines for the Oppressors. In exchange, he was afforded great wealth and prestige. Dyanero was an honest man and did not like the Oppressors but feared for what they might do to his family were he to not cooperate. One day, Dyanero arrived home to find a lawman in his home and his son Makkar in chains.
Dyanero proclaimed, "What is this I see? My eldest son in shackles? What brought forth this madness?"
And the lawman replied, "Your son has committed a grave offense. He was in the gardens past dark. He must be put to death."
Dyanero was enraged but did not say so. Indeed, this punishment was common. Many of his brethren had suffered the fate that his son was now threatened with. And he was short and spindly in stature. Dyanero felt great unease speaking to the thick lawman who towered above him. Dyanero said, "This punishment is unjust. The boy does not deserve such cruelty for something so inconsequential."
But the lawman was hard in his heart, and said, "This is the punishment for the crime which he has committed."
Dyanero exclaimed, "Means it nothing to you what I do for your people? That I spend my days creating them wondrous machines? Surely my help of your people means something."
The lawman replied thusly: "Esteemed engineer, you speak out of ignorance. Do you not remember how life was before we came? How the poor huddled in the streets because they had no houses? Every man has now a home within the caves. Do you not remember how your people starved for bread, but now eat cake? Great beasts rose from lakes and valleys but we captured them without bloodshed. Do you not see that we help you far more than we hurt you? These laws are made by the just for the sake of justice. Your aid is admirable but the will of the Seers Above may not be ignored."
Dyanero was quiet, for the man spoke truth. But there was anger inside him because he did not see justice in the man's actions. He wished to fight this charge on his son but felt small in front of the evil lawman. He said, "You speak truly, but this is not justice. It is oppression. Your people came to our world without invitation and now rule it. Now you wish to kill my son because of a triviality. The greatest beast is you!" Dyanero never spoke so sharply but the very sight of his son in chains brought heat to his face.
The lawman became angry and exclaimed, "Foolish man! We did not seek to rule over you. We aided you without ask of payment or acknowledgement for many years. It was only when our masks were broken and our temples attacked did we seize power. Our situation came from fear of assault, not lust for control. Your people brought us into the open."
Dyanero was quiet once again. These facts he knew as true, though the lawman's conclusion he knew was false. But he was without power to save his son. The lawman took Makkar and left their home.
That night, Dyanero did not rest. He had spent years of his life helping the Oppressors while his friends and neighbors were murdered. He had been silent as people he loved were taken from him. The Oppressors were too strong to fight. Dyanero dreamed that night about his son standing in a field of wheat. Suddenly, the ground began to sink and the wheat fell into a dark abyss. But Makkar was safe, on an ever-shrinking pillar of dirt. As the cavern's edge approached his son, reaching to the tips of his toes, Dyanero awoke. "This is a premonition," he thought. "I must save my son before the ground falls from beneath us all."
Dyanero knew where Makkar was. The Oppressors lived in a monstrous dark edifice that was central in the cave system. It was known that prisoners went there. The next morning, Dyanero went looking for Makkar. He entered the building with no disguise, for he was respected among the people. With great care he snuck into the prison. Every cell he found empty. So Dyanero continued to the end of the building, and found the eating hall. Dyanero was a careful man and looked inside but was not seen.
All the prisoners were eating their meals calmly. Dyanero looked for his son but did not see him. He was saddened but did not give up. He continued looking and found a boy from the neighborhood. Dyanero saw no guards so he walked to the boy and said, "Sweet child, what have you done to be brought here? And have you seen Makkar?"
The boy simply said, "I do not remember." He continued to eat. Dyanero found this very strange, for this boy was usually very friendly.
Dyanero asked, "When did you see him last?" He grew concerned that his son was lost from him.
The boy looked up and replied, "I do not remember. Who is your son?" This was very odd, for the two had known each other since infancy. The boy's face was still and glassy like an undisturbed pond. He then asked, "Who are you? I do not remember." Dyanero was now shocked, for though he knew this boy, the boy did not know him. Dyanero began to leave when a guard entered.
The guard yelled, "Stop! What brings you here?" But Dyanero froze, for he was not used to such confrontation. The guard asked again, and Dyanero said slowly, "I am the mechanic, here to aid you." The guard relaxed and motioned for Dyanero to follow. They walked through another door into a large room with more prisoners. These were even more docile than the previous. He recognized a few but they did not seem to remember him. Dyanero still did not see his son.
In the room was a large circle made of metal. Dyanero had never seen one before but he knew it to be a worldhole. He knew how they worked but had never created one himself. It was here that Dyanero had a thought. These worldholes were used by the Oppressors to move between universes. Perhaps if he could build one, he could escape their grasp! But Dyanero knew not the intricacies of how such things worked. The guard told Dyanero to fix the machine. So Dyanero examined the great circle and saw that it was missing power. He told the guard, "There are many problems with the construction of this machine. I must return to my workshop for the proper tools." The guard obliged, and so return Dyanero did. But he returned with paper in order to transcribe the worldhole's details.
Another engineer did come to aid the Oppressors, but he was a friend of Dyanero's and explained the worldhole's workings to him. His name was Andrino, blessings be upon him. He asked Dyanero, "What brings you here, good Dyanero?" And Dyanero told him his sad story. And Dyanero told him his plan.
"Surely you speak in jest," said Andrino. "The Oppressors would kill us all if they found us stealing their machines."
Dyanero knew this to be true, but in his heart he held conviction. "Then we must not let them find us. For they will kill us regardless if we do not escape."
Andrino did not doubt that Dyanero could accomplish such a task. Dyanero was a wily man and was known to accomplish great feats if left alone. But Andrino feared the price of failure. Yet he was convinced, for he too had lost loved ones to the wrath of the Oppressors. "Indeed. You speak truly, my friend. I shall aid your endeavor for the sake of our families," Andrino proclaimed.
Dyanero returned soon after to repair the machine. For many days he labored, studying its form and composition. Every piece they diagrammed. Dyanero then declared to the Oppressors that the machine needed power to operate. But this was a labor too, for worldholes must be powered by the blood of the universe. And Dyanero knew not how to siphon its blood. But Andrino did, for worldholes were his specialty.
Together the two great men built a machine to siphon the blood of the universe. It was an arduous process but was aided by the great wealth of the Oppressors. As they built this machine, they made plans to create another in secret. Finally the worldhole was functional, and Dyanero feared that many of his kin would be sent through it. But he reasoned that they might be sent through others as well, and he now knew how to manufacture his own.
For many months Dyanero labored to create his own worldhole. It was a difficult process and many times he wished to abandon it. But the thought of Makkar kept him focused. "Oh Makkar," he would say, "That you were still here! I would trade the whole world for ten minutes more with you. I must endeavor to spare my brothers from the grief your situation has caused me." And he worked until the skeleton of the worldhole was complete. But the worldhole would not open without the blood of the universe to power it. So for many more months Dyanero labored. Andrino was caught during this time speaking ill to a lawman, and was sent through the very worldhole he had helped repair. But Dyanero did not stop working. Finally he was able to open the worldhole.
Dyanero knew that such a step would be permanent. He feared that the new world may be worse than the last, for he knew not what laid through the worldhole. But the thought of Makkar did compel him to escape. He thought, "This world I have known my whole life. To leave will be sad. But I must." This is a sadness known to our people, for we have left the worlds of our parents many times since.
Then Dyanero gathered all his neighbors within his house and proclaimed to them, "Behold, the tool of our salvation! Neighbors, the Oppressors have ruled us for too long. They tell us what to do and when to do it, and murder us if we resist." Many looked on in shock, for to speak against the Oppressors was forbidden. Dyanero at first spoke uneasily. But he soon found conviction, and they listened.
Dyanero had learned a secret truth that he imparted on his people. "They claim to execute those who break their laws, but the truth is far worse. Those who they take are not killed in the flesh, but in the mind. Then they are sent through a worldhole. What use they have for criminals in such faraway lands I do not know. But we shall never go. We shall be free. Months ago they took my son Makkar. They will not take your sons or daughters any longer." And Dyanero stepped through the worldhole.
Many hundreds of people went through before more lawmen arrived. The brave of the common people, blessings be upon them, fought with the lawmen but were soon overwhelmed. Dyanero could see that the swords of the Oppressors were soon approaching. As soon as the last person was through, Dyanero sealed the worldhole. The Oppressors could not follow, and we were free.
This is the story of how we escaped the Oppressors and found ourselves a new world. This day would be known as the Day of the Exodus. Woe be to the Oppressors, for they chased us from the home of our birth. Blessings be upon Dyanero, for through his ingenuity we were freed. May we always remember the world he brought us to.