The Scroll of Suratican

The Scroll of Suratican

by Vincent James


Publisher Austin Macauley Publishers

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

Two travelers from different primitive cultures living upon an undefined planet meet on a journey to Suratican, the mountaintop domain believed to be the home of a mysterious society whose leader has the power to provide answers to questions burning them.

Beyond the gates they discover a futuristic world and return home with knowledge that shakes their primitive societies to the core. They unearth shocking evidence of their prehistoric past and develop a deep friendship, all under the watchful eye of Suratican whose true nature is only revealed when they look to the tapestry of the night sky.

Sample Chapter

Inside the castle, Garek and Morglisec wait anxiously, surrounded by utter silence. Not hearing any further instructions, they continue down the long shelf-lined hallway searching for any signs indicating the existence of books or scrolls about the Banishanti or Fincalistan. When they are about halfway through, it suddenly opens into a large, round chamber bathed in natural light filtering in through a dome-shaped roof above.

Unlike the long hallway, the chamber’s circular wall is free of shelves and books. Instead, numerous small recesses cover the wall over its entire length. To their amazement, each recess contains a small statue consisting of a head and upper torso. Perhaps they represent those holding a place of importance in Suratican culture. Their appearance, so different from either Garek or Morglisec, cause them to stop and stare in disbelief.

“Garek, do you see the faces on those statues? They must be from another part of the world. Maybe this is what the Grand Vizeer looks like. Perhaps some are members of his tribe, highly respected or leaders with positions of honor and responsibility. The statues appear to be made of the same shimmering material we saw in the previous chambers.”

“Not everyone has the same features as you or me, Morglisec, especially me,” replies Garek. “If the inhabitants of Suratican came across statues representing members of our tribes, they would appear strange to them as well.”

“Very true, my friend, very true.”

As they turn their gaze away from the statues and toward the book-lined hall continuing beyond the circular room, a voice arises from the silence and says, “Welcome to our domain. You are in a place few have been fortunate enough to enter.”

Garek and Morglisec look around but do not see anyone. This isn’t the bellowing voice asking questions or telling them how to continue on to a particular place. No, this voice is high-pitched and a bit squeaky.

The voice speaks again. “Welcome to our domain. You are in a place few have been fortunate enough to enter.”

They turn in the direction the voice appears to emanate from, but can’t locate its source. A different voice says, “Hello; we welcome you and are ready to satisfy your need to understand that for which you have come.”

They look in another direction for the new voice, but can’t locate the source of that one either. A third voice, more insistent in its tone says. “Hello, can’t you see any of us talking to you?”

By this point Garek and Morglisec are becoming frustrated.

“We hear you, but do not see you. Can you help us further?” responds Morglisec.

“How can you not see us? We are all around you. Look at our likenesses in the walls. We represent all the known tribes of the TOTEX. I am over here, above and behind you.”

Garek and Morglisec look behind and above them, but only the statues meet their eyes.

“I will keep on speaking until you see me. Maybe I will sing a song.

Oh, strangers inside our domain

We welcome you to hear,

The answers which you come to seek,

We know them, have no fear.

The Grand Vizeer is not just one

Whose words you will require,

For each of us can speak the truth

And give knowledge you desire.”

Morglisec stares at the surrounding space and circular wall behind him. His jaw suddenly drops and his eyes bulge out of their sockets. He sees two lips moving on one of the statues in time to the words he is hearing. From its mouth emanates the singing voice!

“But how is this possible? How can a statue be alive?”

“Not all is as it seems, my friend; not all is as it appears. I cannot tell you how or why, but believe the words you hear. Isn’t that the reason you came? To hear truths you have not been able to determine any other way?”

“Yes, it is. But if you are all knowing, then you understand my amazement, do you not?”

“We all understand your disbelief,” a voice calls out from another location.

“They may understand, but I don’t,” another voice chimes in from a different part of the room.

“You came here expecting something special, so why should anything surprise you?”

Then another voice is heard, then another, and another. Voices are coming from everywhere, from every statue in every wall recess. To separate one from the other is all but impossible. So many voices are saying so many things, all at the same time.

Garek and Morglisec are being overwhelmed as they try to understand what is being said. Garek cannot stand it any longer.

“Stop! Stop! Please stop! I cannot understand anything you are saying when all of you speak at once. We expected to receive the wisdom of the Grand Vizeer, not a bunch of talking statues!”

As suddenly as they began, the voices cease and total silence fills the chamber. Not a single word is emitted from the recessed walls, not a single statue speaks. They become as before, silent, unmoving, and lifeless.

Standing motionless and trying to make sense of what has happened, they feel a small but perceptible rumble beneath their feet. The vibration and accompanying sound slowly increase, becoming more intense with each passing moment. Morglisec grabs Garek by the arm, pulling him away from the center of the chamber.

“I don’t know what is happening, but I think we should move,” says Morglisec, franticly.

Returning quickly to the entrance where they first set foot in the rotunda, the two friends stop, turn around, and look back toward the round chamber. The center of the floor slowly begins to separate into four sections, each one sliding toward the outer wall. The rumbling and vibration continue until all four sections disappear. When the rumbling ceases, the center of the chamber has a giant hole spanning half of its width.

Once more the rumbling and vibration begin, though less severe than before. Garek and Morglisec scan the room, trying to locate its source.

“Look, Garek! Something is rising through the opening created in the center of the floor. This is unbelievable!”

Slowly, ever so slowly, a form begins to emerge. The first to appear is the top portion of a clear dome. As it continues to rise, the form becomes less transparent, changing to a pulsating iridescence with multi-colored waves forming, then disappearing as they flow over the surface. Garek and Morglisec stand transfixed. The dome opens ever so slowly like the petals of a flower. Still attached at the base, each section continues unfolding until it is level with the surrounding floor encompassing the exposed opening.

“Garek, do you believe what we are seeing? Quite extraordinary, don’t you think? As impressive as this is, we still have not met the Grand Vizeer.”

“I’m at a loss to understand anything that is happening,” responds Garek.

“I am getting a little impatient,” offers Morglisec. “Either they have allowed us to enter and receive the Grand Vizeer’s counsel, or they are not serious about our reasons for coming. Although this place is magical and does not seem real, we are not any closer to obtaining the answers we seek.”

Within moments of Morglisec’s words, a familiar voice bellows, “I am here to give you the counsel you seek. I am the Grand Vizeer.”

Morglisec responds, “Sir, I do not mean to be rude, but can we see you face to face? We’ve come a long way and have experienced many strange and marvelous things. But neither of us has received what we came for, an audience with you.”

“You are wise my small friend. Yes, we will meet face to face.”

A strange entity exposed by the flower-like opening of the glistening dome arises from an unseen position within. As it steps out of the dome’s confines, its appearance changes. The glistening, semi-transparent entity transforms into a being like any other, if one disregards the physical differences between it and the visitors.

Garek and Morglisec stare at the approaching figure. He, assuming that is its gender, is halfway in size between the two friends. The Grand Vizeer wears a long, flowing deep-red robe, trimmed with white figures along the entire length of its border. He seems to glide as he approaches, like someone transported on a wheeled conveyance, not walking on two legs.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, welcome; I am at your service. Please forgive my little friends who may have shocked you when they spoke. Sometimes they are a little impatient with their role here. Without their assistance, however, I am afraid the questions I can answer would be very limited.”

“Grand Vizeer, since we were permitted to enter this most unusual and wonderful place, I assume you accept our intention to seek your advice and counsel. While I, Morglisec of the Banishanti, have specific items I would like to address with you, my friend, Garek the Fincalistan, is more interested in understanding things he cannot and has not experienced within the limits of his village. Is this acceptable to you?”

The Grand Vizeer looks at them with curiosity and interest. As he does so, there are subtle but perceptible momentary changes in his appearance. Perhaps unnoticeable to the untrained eye, slight waves of subtle colors move across his face, produced by the thinking and reasoning activities occurring within him. The two friends, however, do not perceive the momentary changes.

“We are aware you seek my counsel. Based upon your answers at the gates and your actions within, we most assuredly welcome you. There are things you will not understand during your visit, but we will do our best to satisfy the needs that drove you to endure the difficult journey you’ve undertaken.”

“Grand Vizeer, there were so many strange and unusual things we observed once we entered your castle that I…”

“Forgive me for interrupting, but this is not a castle. This is not a home for a wealthy and powerful king or ruler of his domain. We are not in a home at all.”

“We just assumed, being so large and grand and protected by an immense gate, that this must be such a place,” adds Garek.

Then, as if the visitors have spoken of things considered unacceptable, a chorus from the alcoves containing the small statues respond in one voice.

“Not a house, not a house.”

“We come and go, we come and go.”

“We have no king, we have no king.”

“We seek the truth, we seek the truth.”

“We search, we search.”

“We find, we find.”

“We speak, we speak.”

And on and on and on.

“Wait, my little friends, do not be hasty. All in good time the truth will become clear to our guests. Patience, my special helpers, patience.”

Garek and Morglisec look at each other with the same thought, What is happening here?

“Morglisec, let us begin with you. What answers do you wish from us?”

“Grand Vizeer, I came seeking a new interpretation of the information provided in our most important book, The Hylx. The contents set the rules by which the members of my society, the Banishanti, must live our lives. The governing Council and our leader, the Chief Zincala, are responsible for assuring these rules are strictly followed by everyone, no exceptions are tolerated. The information isn’t in word form, but in symbols which have been interpreted and handed down since the beginning. We have to accept them; no questioning of the symbols or their meanings is permitted.”

“And this bothers you?”

“My nature is to understand things, not just accept them. I have been that way all my life and, to be sure, I have gotten into trouble for it more than once.”

“Do you not like or agree with the interpretations handed down, or is there another reason?”

“Some I do not like, and a few I see no sense in giving importance in our lives. I can accept the rest, as they do not interfere with my life in a meaningful way. When The Hylx was first created, Banishanti society was very different. They came from a time when needs were simple and their understanding of the world around them was poor. They may have been justified in creating a rigid set of rules, keeping villagers isolated and away from outside influences. Maybe they lived under continual threats from both the natural world and other tribal groups. Perhaps they didn’t understand many of the things in the world around them and that was frightening.

“Some of us have gained much more knowledge of our world since then, though many in our tribe still fight against improving what we know, fearing unknown influences upon us. I’m not afraid of the understanding that comes with knowledge. I do not see this as disrespecting our ancestors. On the contrary, through knowledge I have come to understand what they faced and how difficult life must have been living under such circumstances. If anything, my respect for them has increased immeasurably.”

“You have obviously thought this through, and that makes my decision to accept your request easier. I assume you brought the book of symbols with you. May I see it?”

“Of course,” responds Morglisec.

The Grand Vizeer takes The Hylx and walks toward the circular wall. As he approaches, a small section nearest him suddenly opens and a bench and table slide out. He promptly sits down and places the book upon the table in front of him.

Garek and Morglisec watch as he turns and reads every page, staring at each symbol with deep concentration. They don’t take notice of the subtle waves of color crossing his face. Every so often he utters a few words, the meanings unclear to anyone but himself. Unsure how long the Grand Vizeer will take to study the symbols contained within The Hylx, the two friends sit down on the hard surface of the floor. They rest with their backs against the curved wall for support, their legs stretched before them.

Finally, and without saying a word, the Grand Vizeer stands and walks to the center of the room. When he does, the bench and table slide back into the wall, any sign of its existence no longer visible. He steps inside the dome, the four petal-like hinged sections rising from the floor until they meet, completing the enclosure. The dome slowly descends beneath the floor, disappearing from view as the sliding floor sections close. No sign of the opening’s existence remains.

Recesses in the wall containing the statue-like busts close as well, covers sliding over them until they too disappear. Nothing remains to indicate any openings in the wall ever existed. The two friends, still sitting on the floor, do not rise or say anything.

After a few moments pass, Morglisec turns to Garek and says, “I have learned since coming here to let the Grand Vizeer and his associates do as they will without interference. I will not question what or why, and I will not become frustrated or lose patience. They have their method of doing things and we must wait until they are ready to move on. At least the process has begun. He has reviewed and taken the book with him; that is a beginning.”


Excerpted from "The Scroll of Suratican" by Vincent James. Copyright © 2016 by Vincent James. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Vincent James

Vincent James

Norman Brown, who writes under the pen name Vincent James, is a U.S. citizen born in New York City and currently residing in the Los Angeles area of Southern California. He began writing this manuscript shortly after his retirement from the aerospace industry. He has always loved the power and beauty of words and the emotions they are able to convey. This is the first opportunity for him to use them in a fictional setting. The author’s six young grandchildren inspired the choice of subject and genre for his first manuscript.

View full Profile of Vincent James

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