<-- begin transmission -->
date = 4531-09-09-33-92
from = stid1003@malu@244.21
to = central@rs001@4.0
importance = low
note = as related by unknown malic sage - translation may contain errors

As they sat around a pile of burning gas-drenched sticks one night, Provich
reviewed the day with Sean. They had been on this road for two days, and
Provich, who was chewing on a black birch twig with a spicy wintergreen odor,
was feeling discouraged.

“So we’ve come who knows how many miles on this old road that doesn't seem to go
anywhere. I can't believe the whole land was this rural - only one site every
five miles or so. The guy at the museum said the Malics had cities and big

Sean grinned. “Man, you've got, like, a small country’s worth of land. Just
because they had big cities and towns doesn't mean they covered everything with
precious metal. We've been walking this road for just, like, a week. Me and
Janet have been having a blast.” Sean grinned and wiggled a set of tattooed
toes. “Enjoy yourself. This is awesome!”

Janet leaned over, holding her camera. “Guys, look at this picture.” In the
center of the screen was a large golden eagle in flight. In the background
loomed the mountains they seemed to be headed for.

“Cool,” Provich grumbled.

Janet zoomed way in, past the eagle to a flat area just below the tree line.

“What the heck is that?” Provich asked, staring at the camera. She didn't
answer. On the screen was a large gray area of stone. Its many small areas of
light and shadow had something square about them, something unnatural. Rising
from the center of the area was a tall pillar.

“Looks like you got your city.” Sean said, reaching into his pack for a piece
of fake meat.

They reached the city ten days later. The road had stopped winding the morning
after Janet's discovery and had headed almost straight for the city. As they
approached, the old building sites became larger and more frequent, often with
multiple foundations on the same site. A high stone wall encircled the city
upon their arrival.

As they passed through the archway they drew their breath. Beyond the wall was
a world of moss, stone, and small scraggly white birches with curled bark and
few leaves. Buildings were large and far apart, all reduced to rock piles of
various sizes. But further in, away from the edge, the buildings looked more
intact. An arch of a doorway survived, holding up the remains of a huge
one-roomed building. The tiles of the streets were smoother, and beyond them,
its base far out of sight, loomed the least ruined thing of all – the stone
tower, its impressive height challenging the reason and logic of its observers.

Provich led the way through the crumbled streets toward the tower. Twenty
minutes later, he reached it. Surrounding the tower was a circle of twelve
moss-covered stone pyramids, each fifteen feet high. Each one had a large
entrance, but Provich thought it looked dark and uninviting inside. Janet and
Puma went inside one, but Provich made straight for the tower, followed by
Sean. The tower had no entrance.

“How the heck did they build this thing?” Provich asked.

Sean laughed. “Dunno. I’m not an architect, dude. But there’s no way in, that’s
for sure.”

Puma walked over from the pyramids and looked at Provich with his bright blue

“I found something,” he said, gesturing to the nearest pyramid.

“Get over here,” Janet called from inside it. She had a high powered flashlight
and was crouched in one corner of the space looking at something.

“Lyncoor fur. And look at that!” She pointed the flashlight at the wall opposite
to the opening.

Provich’s heart felt warm and fuzzy. On the floor lay a pile of gold, like a
dragon’s hoard, of statuettes and necklaces, gold and jewels. He took off his
backpack and loaded them into his foam-cushioned treasure bag. He grinned up at

“This is it, Janet. Imagine living here four hundred years ago, in this city
built to last, chock full with gold and money!”

“I wonder why it’s all piled up there,” Janet said.

Sean raised his eyebrows. “This is a lyncoor den. Of course the kitty’s raked
the place for anything that sparkles. My friend in Port Berting calls them
misermousers.” Sean laughed. “As if the big things would bother to catch mice.”

“Shut up, Sean” Janet drawled. “We don’t want to hear about your friend in Port
Berting. Do we wanna stay in the city, or go and camp outside the wall?”

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