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Oublié takes us on a weird journey of self-discovery and deception, where memory and truth are at odds with each other and the fate of both gods and mortals hangs in the thin balance between trust and faith.
First 10 Pages


In the beginning, there was darkness and peace
in the Universe.
Then Time wrought light and changed it

– Memory on Record

Chapter 1

The State of Affairs

I am the echo of everything, everyone, and
every place that ever was. I am memory.
Nothing more.

– Memory on Record

The moon was in a bad mood. Seismic waves shook walls and souls alike. Rubble fell from the ever-widening fissures along the tunnels of the ancient structure with
each rumble, adding dust to stale air, making it hard to see and even harder to breathe.
Prometheans and Narrum, both descendants of humankind and as averse to each other as they were dissimilar from their ancestors, suffered the tremors with the resigned apathy of those caught in torrential rain with no shelter in sight. After years cramped together underground, they no longer feared being buried alive, at least not half as much as they feared being murdered in their sleep, that is. But for once, the disgruntled dwellers of this primordial ruin had something else to worry about besides each other, the integrity of the walls around them or the moon’s moods. Their minds and tongues were kept occupied by the news that had trickled down from the surface in whispers, already exaggerated beyond truth or coherence so that little being said actually made sense. Disagreements abounded, some teetering on the verge of violence, especially amongst those to whom a different opinion was often perceived as an attack. One thing they all agreed upon, though: something had happened. For the Prometheans this meant an opportunity to learn and change, while the Narrum saw it as another excuse to complain and remain still.
Lyam was a Promethean and a man always in a hurry to get somewhere, trapped in a place with very few destinations. He never stopped worrying about the claustrophobic burrows dug deep below the craggy moon’s surface by something as ancient as it was forgotten, nor the temperamental celestial body into which they’d been carved, for he better than most knew how much they were unwelcome there. Why the moon hadn’t smothered them all yet was anyone’s guess. Although this sure felt like a final warning – or, as his sister would put it, a desperate plea.
“Let me through,” he said curtly for the fourth time to an equal number of idle Narrum standing in his path.
They complied, with the usual mixture of suspicion and contempt reserved for his kind, before resuming their hushed conversations, leaning against the uneven rock
walls as if to brace them. Lyam strode past each one with purpose, powered by an irritation forged out of years of forced confinement, and stormed into the captain’s
private quarters, determined to have his way.
“Eloin, is it true that – oh!”
Eloin – or captain, as she was now commonly referred to for leadership effect – sat on a crate, her worn-out shirt open, pale breasts exposed under the dim light. Jolyan stood at her side, bent over with one ear pressed against her chest, straining to listen.
“Now is not a good time, Lyam,” Eloin told him matter-of-factly.
Lyam cursed under his breath. “There hasn’t been a good time to talk to you since you assumed command,” he pointed out sternly, immediately regretting
the words as well as his tone upon seeing the anguish on Eloin’s ashen face.
Jolyan frowned at him reproachfully. The deep wrinkles along her brow – carved by age and expressions such as this, he was sure – displayed a magnitude of disapproval that she’d never been able to express with mere words. The crone claimed to have once been a medicine woman, which amongst the Narrum meant she mostly concocted foul poultices from psychotropic herbs to keep the sick docile or chanted around her patients to scare the ailments away. Unfortunately, that still made her the closest thing to a doctor in the colony. To her credit, she was devoted to both her craft and her patients, and she did her best – everyone did under the circumstances – but with no medical supplies or equipment, her best often fell short of saving lives. And by the look of things, this would be one of those times.
Lyam lowered his gaze. His eyes met the lavish quilt Eloin used as a rug. The centrepiece of the otherwise stark and unadorned space always aggravated him. Not
only was the fabric wasted on the floor, it proved Eloin cared more about decorating the room than leaving it. She claimed ostentation was as much a part of being a leader as empathy and ruthlessness. They’d bickered about it often enough. As they did about pretty much anything.
He had no time for petty quarrels, so he swallowed his irritation, peeled his gaze from the floor and took a deep breath to collect his thoughts before speaking again.
“Just tell me if it’s true.”
“If Thoth says it’s true, then it must be true. What do I know? I rarely leave this room,” Eloin said bitterly, buttoning her shirt with unsteady hands.
“And whose fault is that?” Again, he spoke in anger.
Eloin hadn’t chosen their situation any more than she’d chosen her illness or rank in their makeshift society. What was to happen next, however, would be her choice, and he was determined to make her choose correctly.
Eloin’s scowl revealed her awareness of this. “What does it matter, Lyam? True or false, it makes no difference to us.”
“Of course it does! How can you say that?” He strode across the room to crouch at her eye level. “This is it. This is what we’ve been waiting for. I can feel it,” he added in a whisper.
“Don’t,” Eloin warned. Her eyes darted from his to Jolyan’s, but the elderly woman showed no interest whatsoever in what Lyam said or felt.
“I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t talk about it, but I believe I’m right,” he insisted.
“That’s not a good enough reason,” she hissed. Even like this, pain stricken and frail, her hair thin, the body thinner, eyes sunken in dark circles, Eloin’s temper
and intelligence shone through her gaze, sharper and brighter than anyone he’d ever known. It was the reason she was the one in charge. That and the fact no one else wanted to be – except him.
“Well, I disagree,” he said stubbornly.
They glared at each other for two, three heartbeats.
“Thank you, Jolyan. That will be all.” Eloin addressed the elderly woman politely but firmly. Jolyan’s bent back stiffened, and she spared Lyam another reproachful frown before leaving the room without a word.
“You should never have taken this responsibility,”
Lyam said through clenched teeth. “Not in your condition. I should have been the one to –”
Eloin huffed loudly. “Yes, brother, you’ve made your opinion on the subject perfectly clear on many occasions. The irony is, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have to be captain. And without me, you would be dead. Or have you forgotten that?” She pressed her lips in an effort to not let the conversation digress into old grievances. Her body could no longer take the strain of conflict and aggravation. Her mind, on the other hand, still seemed to thrive on it. “Seriously, Lyam, what possessed you to reveal your ability to the Narrum?”
Our ability, Lyam almost said. All Prometheans had telepathy, for all the good that did them.
“Did you actually expect they’d be happy to learn that you can read their thoughts, let alone put you in charge?”
He did. After all, wasn’t that what common people wanted? Someone who understood them, who knew what they wanted without them having to ask or explain.
Then again, to his eyes, Narrum were not exactly people.
“Besides, you’re a man. Men are not cut out to lead.”
Eloin summed up her little tirade, already out of breath.
“According to women,” he grumbled teasingly.
It was true that men were not allowed to govern in Promethean society, an archaic rule decreed by the Matron in another time and on another world. It had no purpose here, in his opinion. Especially when most of the population were Narrum, and they had a completely different perspective regarding gender roles. That had been the reason Lyam figured he’d had a chance. But as it turned out, to Narrum, all Prometheans were meat. And meat isn’t supposed to rule.
Eloin, reading his thoughts, shot him an admonishing look, and Lyam had to fight the overwhelming maelstrom of anger, jealousy, devotion, concern, shame, and pity he always felt in her presence. Added to the struggle were her own mixed feelings of grudging irritation, grief, love, determination, disappointment and pride, both in herself and – even if reluctantly – in him. And pain, of course. So much pain he could hardly breathe.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, stop wincing, Lyam.”
“I’m sorry,” he said without thinking. Empathy was not something you could just turn off or shut down, like an annoying routine in a Nephilim’s artificial mind.
She clicked her tongue. “Stop being sorry, too. It’s not your fault.”
They were brother and sister; or at least they thought they were. They looked alike. Both had fair skin, light brown hair prone to unruly curls, and large blue eyes.
And they could read each other’s minds better than anyone else’s. It was said post-humans always gestated in pairs to enhance the telepathic abilities between siblings. Their purpose – for there had to have been one at some point – was unknown and no longer particularly useful in this society, such as it was. He’d discovered the hard way that any telepathic ability was more of a hindrance than an advantage in such close quarters, especially when most of those around him lacked any telepathic ability at all, or empathy, for that matter. Lyam clenched his jaw, determined to get his way. If Eloin still had the strength to appear cold and resolute, then so would he. “Is it true?” he asked again earnestly.
Eloin shook her head wearily. “It appears so. The Nephilim have vanished from the surface of the moon. How or where they went, I honestly don’t know. They’re not down here, that much is certain.”
“They can’t have left the moon. Their ship was as much a wreck as ours. There’s no way they could have fixed it. Could they?”
Eloin shrugged. “Not even the gods know the extent of what the Nephilim can or cannot do. They are resourceful machines who don’t need to eat or sleep. They don’t age and they rarely break. Besides, they wouldn’t need to fix the entire ship, only the comms, then send a message to another ship to come for rescue.”
Her eyes widened exaggeratedly. “Or maybe they set off on an expedition to the burning side of the moon and are now partying with the cairn builders. What difference does it make?”
Lyam wanted to scream. Eloin was not prone to bad jests or speculation. She was being deliberately glib, and for the life of him, he could not figure out why. “You need to send a party to the surface to find out what really happened.”
She raised her eyebrows at his suggestion. “What for? It’s not like we can follow or contact them, and they would only take us along as cargo. I, for one, am glad that they’re gone. It’s one less thing to worry about.”
She glanced at the cracked ceiling as she spoke. The tremors had subsided a bit, but the stillness wouldn’t last, she knew.
“For Olympus’ sake, Eloin! We need answers. What if they return with reinforcements to storm the temple?” It was a valid concern.
She laughed – a bitter, hopeless sound. “Then there’s really nothing we can do about it, Lyam. But if that was their intention, they’d have done it a long time ago.
They had the numbers and the means to do it. There’s nothing here they want. Not even us. We are not important to them.”
“We were, or we wouldn’t be stuck here where – everyone agrees, except me – it is safe.”
“Safer, yes.”
“From what? You just said the Nephilim don’t care about us.”
“And we shouldn’t care about them either!” Eloin strained for patience. “Just because they left us alone all this time doesn’t mean they will continue to do so if they suspect we’re attacking them. We may never know what really happened that day. But whatever significance we might have had to them, we don’t anymore.” She
touched his cheek tenderly and looked him in the eyes. “That is a good thing, Lyam. And if they have indeed left this cursed moon, I need you to help me forge a way out as well. Alive,” she added as an obscure afterthought.
He snorted at that. They’d tried many things since
the crash; leaving had never been one of them. Sure, everyone talked about it and planned for it, but when it came to actually making it happen, no one did anything,
not even him. There was always something else more pressing to do, some other task to complete, another tunnel to dig and explore, another problem, another conflict to solve. The years went by, and all they’d achieved was to dig themselves deeper into that hole.
“Maybe it’s the temple that is cursed, not the moon,” he mused. “We are stuck, Eloin. Like insects trapped in cosmic amber. This place…” He trailed off, grimacing at the slaty walls. “It’s not natural. We don’t even know what it is. What it’s made of. Who built it or why it was built. There has to be a reason for us to have been drawn here.”
“There was – survival.” Eloin indulged him curtly.
“And look how well that turned out for us,” he retorted sarcastically. As far as he could tell, they’d lost more people to petty fights, cave-ins, disease and depression since the crash than in the actual battle or crash itself. The elders and most of his people’s brightest minds were amongst the first to perish under the cruelty of the resentful Narrum, who’d blamed the Prometheans for their misfortune. Years later, even after the two factions of humanity had resigned themselves to cohabit and work together, things had not improved overly much, and life no longer resembled anything they remembered – as little as that might be. Most of their memories had been lost in the crash, along with pretty much everything else that had once made Prometheans the most advanced – and most respected – post-human race in the Universe. Lyam believed the Nephilim had had something to do with it. And if they were gone, then so were his hopes of ever recovering his memories, let alone regaining control over his life.
“Lyam…” Eloin sounded drained. “I can’t have this conversation again. Not now. The Nephilim are not the ones responsible for our amnesia.”
“And how would you know? Did Thoth tell you that as well?” he sneered.
Eloin exhaled. “For the last time: I don’t need a god to tell me what to think. And the Nephilim have no need of our memories. You must trust me on that.”
He felt how deeply she believed it to be true. And that troubled him.
He remained silent for a moment, pondering the best course of action, then asked, “What exactly did Thoth say?”
Eloin closed her eyes and sighed, aware of the consequences an honest answer would have, but decided to give it nonetheless. “He said that he couldn’t Reach the Nephilim anymore. That an old curse had taken them to oblivion.” She blew out her cheeks. “I’m not even paraphrasing. You know how cryptic he is and how seriously gods take their curses.” Like any pragmatic mortal, she gave little importance to the magical or supernatural. But gods lived by means and rules as alien to mortals as the deities were themselves. Lyam, too, was well aware of the gods’ whimsical interpretation of reality and their role in balancing the forces governing the Universe. What happened in their worlds and metaphysical realms was of no consequence to him. To most beings alive, only one reality mattered.
“Do you trust him?”
She made a helpless gesture. “As much as I trust any god, I suppose. He keeps to himself and his records. And he’s done nothing to harm us,” she reminded him.
“That we’re aware of,” Lyam countered. “What if he’s the one responsible for the flaws in our memory, huh?” Another hypothesis they’d explored over the
years with no means of testing.
“It’s not his talent.”
“So he claims. But what if he’s the one keeping us here? What if he was already here when we arrived? No one remembers him being on board. And frankly, I can’t think of a reason for him to be on the Eagle in the first place.”
She clicked her tongue. “Now you’re contradicting yourself. If Thoth wasn’t travelling with us, then how would he have sabotaged our memory bank?”
“He is a god! Gods have powers we can’t even name.”
The usual frustration that came whenever they discussed Thoth threatened to get the better of him. But Eloin was right. He could not afford to go off topic. This was about the Nephilim, not gods. He took a deep breath and dropped the argument.
Eloin, however, picked it right back up. “If not for Thoth, we’d not remember anything at all; we wouldn’t have a plan or a schedule. We wouldn’t even have light, for fuck’s sake!” She pinched the bridge of her nose, annoyed that she was repeating herself again. Besides, it wasn’t like Thoth needed her to defend him.
He was a god, as Lyam so often liked to point out. The only one that would help her. And she owed him everything.