Word Count = 85,120

  • Volume 3: Epoch7:31

When we left off at the end of 'Stigmata Rising', the three stag Mutineers had just met the loves of their lives. Loves who just so happen to be the Elders' daughters. But who is one to judge?

Basically, 'Epoch' picks up right where 'Stigmata Rising' leaves off. Complete with the Elders' shock at the straightforwardness of the young men, as well as the Mutineers' shock towards them suddenly being crowned as the legendary Chosen. It is certainly surreal for the young neophytes. All of whom have never had such burdens on their shoulders.

With the Mutineers being the offspring of the Top Three, why would they ever have to lift a finger? It will certainly take some time for such facts to settle in their weary young minds. But now the fabled Chosen have finally arrived and it is time to celebrate!

Darios and Vegard make haste preparing the giant sturgeons the Elders had caught a few hours prior while other Stigmata members prepare side dishes and pastries. Let us just say there is enough food to put every member of the Stigmata into a food coma for a week! But yes, the young Mutineers' welcoming ceremony is far greater than anything they ever could have imagined.

Not to mention that such a ceremony is inside of a cavern with foreign technologies hanging from all of the cabin entryways that the adolescents could have only of imagined prior to this joyous day. It is almost too surreal for the young neophytes. All of whom are accustomed to candlelight and other primitive forms of technology. 

With the medley of three-dimensional Carbon NanoTube (CNT) displays hanging along the main stretch of cabins on the bottom of the cavern combined with the strings of lights with varying intensities strewn among the walls, it is actually a wonder as to how the Mutineers' minds are NOT completely overloaded. With them never witnessing such technical feats at their primordial Fiddlers Lake settlement and all.

Still, it does not take long for them to get settled in. Because upon becoming acquainted with his new lady friend, Azimov and Katharina turn up missing. Merlin and Sephina are the first to notice, but only after they start getting a little frisky. This forces Hervald (Sephina's father), who is not one to partake in the drinking of spirits, to intervene and prevent his daughter from being too promiscuous on the couple's initial meeting.

So while Barnabus (Katharina's father) and Noslen (Madeline's father) are off getting tore up from the floor up, Hervald works with Merlin and Sephina to find Azimov. For if Barnabus discovers his daughter is out gallivanting around with a 'horny young man', all hell will surely break loose. Yet, Hervald, with his ridiculous monochrome tunic draped atop his chain-link hauberk, is easy to spot from a distance.

Roland is the first one from the other group (consisting of himself, Zakaria, Adelia, and Madeline) to see the trio in hot pursuit on the other side of the cavern. Such a sight invigorates his sense of adventure, and before long, Roland is leading his own group to follow Merlin and the others.

Everything goes peachy until the first group gets to a cleansing barrier, which appears to be nothing but a black abyss in the center of a large ornate archway. Now the first group walks through it like it is nothing. Merlin gets a helping shove, but the others walk through without incident.

Now Roland's new lady-friend, Madeline, is the only one in his group that is native to these caverns. But only with a slight coaxing is she able to get the others passed the barrier and into the maze that leads them to the Elders' very own Biosphere. Once passed the barrier, the group must remain quiet as to not blow their cover, which is easier said than done with the two inquisitive minds (Zakaria and Adelia) in their group.

Yet, shortly after the couple's incessant questionings nearly gets them caught, Merlin and the others reach the door to the Biosphere. A time in which the two groups finally convene. But not until after some high stakes questioning takes place.

Upon reaching the door a podium appears before them. Hervald then begins pressing Sephina to see if she truly knows how to override the Elders' passwords. Knowledge she admits is shared among her and her girl friends, as for them to have unlimited access to the Biosphere. Access that allows them to bypass all of the security measures and use the mechanized bear beasts to their benefit.

After showing her abilities, Sephina successfully opens the door. This causes Roland's curiosity to overload and he comes barreling through to join the party.  The others soon present themselves after Roland and there is a quick pow wow, which is rushed due to the Biosphere's door being on a short time delay.

Hervald is inevitably forced to push the group through the horizontal bi-parting doors, for the doors' mystical white mist causes them to all stare in dumbfounded wonderment. What they fail to notice is that the mist is a deterrent for the innumerable amounts of nanobots in the Biosphere. It is a special concoction to prevent them from escaping and possibly causing irreversible damage to the delicate cavern ecosystem.

But that is neither here nor there, for after they are through the doors, the Mutineers still cannot seem to get over the whimsical mist. That is until Madeline sets them straight and verbally forces the neophytes to turn around and lay witness to the jaw-dropping spectacle that is the Biosphere. When they all turn around, some of the most ethereal, mystical sights are laid out before them. The likes of which one’s eyes could never believe to be true. Even in one’s wildest of dreams. Just the sheer beauty of what lays before them immediately takes the wind out of the Mutineers’ lungs.

You see, the entire enclosure is dimly lit with bioluminescent plants that are glowing a variety of colors. Along with a plethora of glowing insects that carelessly fly through the air. Patches of flowers give off soft red, blue, and yellow hues that blend with the illuminated emerald green grass. Creating a stunning multitude of colors. There are trees of every species spread sporadically throughout the Biosphere that illuminate light blues, soft whites, and even bright pinks. In the center of the landscape is a large lake glowing a medley of radiant blue hues with splotches of the reflected colors from the surrounding plants strewn throughout.

As they stand there staring into the blue, a pathway mystically begins illuminating on the ground in front of them. It quickly extends out into the horizon, which is where it branches off and outlines the lake. Shortly after, Hervald summons the hologram map and sends out tracking bots to find all traces of human life. A feat they accomplish in no time flat and prove that Azimov and Katharina are, in fact, inside of the Biosphere.

But the Biosphere is just one of the many wonders they see during one of the most eventful times in their young lives. Homopolar generators, 3D printers, and Maglev elevators are just some of the gadgetry the Chosen encounter. Overall, the Stigmata caverns in Mount Chauvenet will go down in the Mutineers' books as an epoch they will never forget.