1 Prologue: The Search

Prologue

Year 2079

Rathya

There came a time on the planet known as Earth that it could no longer hold all its people. The scientists and the philosophers, humanists and explorers had known this day would arrive, so they set about immediately to discover a solution. They met with nothing but failure, until a select group of astronauts discovered, purely by chance, a small planet spinning alone at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. It had a small star similar to Earth's own sun, a small belt of cloudy ice giving it a miniature ring, and two tame moons that orbited lazily about it. It had many separate continents, but vast seas and blankets of mist too thick to penetrate divided them. The explorers were forced to land on the only available continent, the largest one. When the astronauts landed, they knew they had found the answer to their problem.

So the people of Earth named the newfound planet Rathya. It was not long before they were sending caravans of space vehicles to this planet, carrying cargoes of technology, human comforts, and of course, the people. The people who would become the new inhabitants of Rathya. The people, scientists and ordinary workers alike, were astounded with their luck. For here was a completely new place for humans to live, carrying all the things needed to survive; water, air, temperature, food. Strangely, there were even animals here, many of which seemed directly related to Earth animals. And of course, the people brought their animals with them, dogs, cats, horses and others.

But there was one thing that no one had anticipated. The native birds of the new world, though they looked just like the birds of Earth, were strangely drawn to the new Earth humans. And it was not long before some began claiming the birds were speaking to them…within their minds. For a long time, these few were written off as mad. But such was not the case…as they soon discovered.

The people soon found that these birds, while almost exactly the same as the ones from Earth, had an added ability. They were able to psychically link with humans, and thus become friends and partners of the new Rathyan inhabitants. The amazed scientists and zoologists also discovered that the birds developed connections best at a young age, and that human children were more receptive to the birds. So a practice was born, a symbiotic relationship between Rathyans and the telepathic birds.

Every Rathyan child, at the age of 12, was brought to the nearest Hatchery in their town. There, they were made to touch eggs of hundreds of different bird species, until one egg hatched beneath their hands. That bird would immediately link to the mind of the child, thus becoming their friend and ally for life. Life moved on over the centuries, and the people acclimated to their new lifestyles that included these bonds.

But a period of change and unrest was moving on Rathya. And no one could have ever guessed who would land at the center of it all

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