The border collie woke herself from slumber, and nudged her companion, a middle aged Maine Coon. It’s time to move. The storm’s let up and the tide is low, Collie nosed towards the entrance. Maine stretched his legs, and caught up with his walking buddy, The two of them ventured out of the alcove and onto the beach. The shelter from the storm kept the rainwater out, but the breeze from the ocean was nothing to sneeze at. After a night of keeping one another warm, they both were hungry. I can’t see any food along the shore, and swimming out there is too risky, said Maine. So they ventured northwest, and found a riverbed that ran through a clearing a few kilometers north.
The area had a sparse number of trees, natural sunlight, and rocks on either side of the river. Collie let out a low whimper as her stomach growled. Do you need to feed again? Why can’t you get your own food, Maine mewed dismissively. Collie’s unborn pup meant that she was she ate for two, and noticeably less nimble than Maine. In her prime, Collie would have sought out enough vermin and rations to last her a week. But now, new life encumbered her. Maine walked up to Collie, pawed at her stomach gently, and scurried off towards a small pond. Collie walked up along the edge, made a small resting place, and nestled in to watch Maine work.
No stranger to water, Maine dived in quickly, and found 3 fish. He paddled back to the shore, dropped off one fish at a time in front of Collie. Collie waited ardently for the provider to get out of the water. Maine crawled out 5 meters away, dried himself away from Collie, and walked back with the last fish in his mouth. They gathered the fish together, bowed their heads over the pile, and a ray emanated from on high. The fish were cooked. Collie bowed so that Maine could press his forehead on hers. Then they ate.
After they had their fill, they continued west out of the clearing, and followed the flock of birds that led them to the alcove. They walked, rested, walked, and rested for two more days. The birds are quite patient, Maine thought. I am grateful for this.
The birds led them to what looked like a village. The village was long past forgotten, and nature began to reclaim the space. All but two of the buildings were caved: one with the word Mayor on it, and another tall building on the western side of town. Maine and Collie bowed their heads, and a crow from the flock landed in front of them. The crow gave the two a soft headbutt, and the bird began to glow. The bird, now named Cale, perched themself on a decrepit sign that read “Residency In Progress.” Shall I wait for you two here, or accompany? they asked. Come with us, for we know not what the shiny water holds, Collie replied.
Cale cawed at their flock to stay nearby and not leave the three of them behind. An unnamed bird came down and began to size up Cale. The unnamed bigger crow cawed defiantly back at Cale, and Cale deftly flew up and latched themselves onto the chest of the unnamed crow. The two of them tussled, and Cale quickly came out victorious. Seems we’ve made a monster, Maine noted. At least he’s a loyal one.
Maine, Collie, and Cale moved towards the Mayor building door. Cale flew through a broken window, and unlatched the door. Collie, the heaviest of the trio, nudged the door open so that she and Maine could walk through. Inside, they walked into the Museum atrium and alarm bells set off for the three of them. Their feathers and coats stood on end as the atrium sized them up, then spoke to them. Strange, I haven’t had visitors in quite a while. And I must have gotten bigger, because I don’t recall ever Resonating with creatures as small as you. Please name yourselves.
The trio gave the atrium their given names. Thank you. My creators called me the Atrium, but you may call me Tri. Allow me to give you a tour.
Tri explained the history of the town, its two benefactors Sutah and Tati, and the histories of the people who walked through its halls to the trio. Try explained what Sri knew about Reson, which was what Collie called the “shiny water.” It seemed that Tri was sending a sort of signal for ages, as the town was abandoned after, in Tri’s words, “a family property dispute was finally addressed.”
According to Tri, the family dispute led to the abandonment of the town, and a lot of destruction across the world. Tri was informed because the creators of the town established a network connected by Reson with other towns across the world. They were able to keep track of what was happening in the world, and it seemed all bad. Eventually, the status updates stopped, and now Tri wonders what has happened.
Collie and Maine wanted to share what they knew, but they knew very little. Now that they thought about it, the two of them can only remember waking up in the cave just a few moments ago. Now that you mention it, I can only remember nuzzling your heads and hearing my name, Cale said. Why do you suppose that’s the case, Tri?
Tri remained quiet as the wind blew in from the opened door.
Tri closed the door, and directed their new companions to take shelter here until Collie delivers their pups.
And so they did.
Days later, Tri gave Cale several slivers of crystallized rock, and Cale fashioned it into a number of necklaces. One of the necklaces was gifted to Cale’s new second-in-command Ven (formerly the unnamed crow). With the memory of their skirmish lost to Ven, he swore allegiance to Tri, Maine, Collie, and Cale, and told his superiors that Cale can use the slivers to find the flock when they are ready to leave.
One month later, Tri began to deliver their offspring. The delivery was a success, and a healthy pup was born. After the birth, the Mayor’s office began to shake, and crumble. The slivers of Reson that lined the walls seemed to flicker and dim.
The time has come for departure. The three of them seemed to have heard a voice from under Collie’s pup’s body. They were confused, because Collie’s pup was not touched by the Reson, but assumed that Collie’s exposure may have gifted the pup the same way Collie and Maine were. They escaped from the crumbled remains of the Mayor’s office, and the three of them nuzzle with the newborn pup.
My name is Tri, said the pup. The three were taken aback, and saw it as an omen of goodwill. After all, Tri was the one that sheltered them. Maybe the pup wanted to do the same and provide for the group. Tri was a fast walker, and even seemed to know the paths to safe passage.
And so the group of four, led by Tri the pup, powered on in search for refuge and Reson.