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Audali River – Introduction

March 29, 2013

The dawn was still a few minutes away in the centre of Australia. On the East, beams of gold burned away the violet sky, but the Sun still did not dare to rise. On the ground, the cold of the night painted the rocks with frost, tainting the blood sand with grey and white. It was almost ridiculous to consider that this was just a few miles to the north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and that daytime temperatures were enough to cause sunstrokes.

Yet there it laid the dead, cold night, a June’s australian Winter. It was at the point of the southern Solstice and, as the Sun’s birth was celebrated half an year ago in December in the North, so was now a divine birth celebrated.

It started as a faint green trace in the sky, like a faint green crayon line on a magnificent oil painting. Slowly, though, the heavenly line widened, and it’s light intensified. After a few minutes, the australian outback was blessed by something best described as a stactic Aurora Australis, woefully mislocated from the Antarctic wastes. These “southern lights” then condensated, like flames in the void, forming a ball of radiance, not unlike a green star far smaller than any celestial body known.

The star glowed over the desert for a while, illuminating the landscape. The green light melted away the frost, and condensated the air – it was soon warm and wet, as life best likes it. All creatures in the area inhaled the life giving air, regenerating wounds and illnesses to full health. All, from miniscule insects to marsupial moles to budgerigars to kangaroos to introduced camels, stared at the star, even the animals with no eyes to see with. The exceptions where the pests, the foxes, the rats, the cats, the rabbits, all invaders to the land, whose flesh burned away in green flames.

Life’s struggle stopped. For once in millions of years, life knew true peace.

The green light, which bathed the desert for half an hour now, eventually began to condesate. The widespread but dim radiance began to focus on a single beam, which grew radiant by the second. In a minute, a laser of about one meter in width and as bright as the midday Sun concentrated all the light in a particular spot in the desert rocks, a small cove about as wide as the beam. The concussive force of the light dug the cove deeper, shattering rocks around it.

When the beam was formed, the star had reduced in size, until it was just a small orb on the ostial end of the laser. A few minutes later even that was gone, the star’s whole essence joining the beam forming a baseless pilar of brightness. Gradually, the laser lost height, as it’s intensity grew, forcing all witnesses to avert their eyes. The beam kept loosing height and the light became more intense, until all that was left was an extremely radiant pilar about a meter tall.

In one fast motion, the remaining light forced it’s way on the cove, blasting the rocks until a deep crater was formed. The beam was gone, but the soil in the crater now radiated a faint deep green glow.

Without any warning, water burst from the crater’s center. Within seconds, the whole crater was covered by a 50 centimeter layer of water, and soon it was completly converted into a billabong.

Without wasting time, the birds, lizards and mammals made their way into this new waterhole, drinking desesperately from it. Birds of all kinds, from small finches to massive emus, and even waterfowl and pelicans that just arrived from miles away, were bathing in the small lake, and amphibians, crustaceans and other sorts of aquatic life ended their torpor and filled the water.

As they did so, however, a series of new events occured. First, seeds buried in the ground spontenously bursted into adult plants, turning the lake into a marsh. But most importantly, the waters were filled by new beings: trilobites, conodonts, small seascorpions, even anomalocarids emerged from the soil, their ancient remains ressurected. Those not eaten by the birds waited patiently on the bottom, savouring their return to the sunlit realms.

As the Sun finally emerged on the horizon, and golden light had completly replaced whatever remained of the green light, the lake at last expanded. More water appeared, seemingly flowing from the ground out of nowhere, and the crater couldn’t hold it anymore. A small stream formed, quickly gaining momentum by following the empty cannals of dead rivers. As the stream grew longer and longe, moving across the outback, plants blossomed, and the dead regenerated. The already living gathered from all directions around the stream, now becoming a legit river.

The first obstacle was a depression, a collapsed cave roof, leading to an abyss of 20 meters. A waterfall into the Underworld was formed, but more and more water kept being added. Half an hour later, the entire cave was underwater, and the depression was now simply a dark, deep lake. From the abyss came clicking sounds, and a Kronosaurus emerged triumphant, breathing air for the first time since the Cretaceous. Soon followed by others of his kin, he witnessed the river once again overcoming an obstacle, now flowing from where the depression had it’s weak point, and as the water path became deep and wide, the marine beast swam forward.

As the river kept flowing across the desert lands, more and more water came with it, flooding the landscape. What was a few minutes before a furious but lonely water road soon branched into calm capilaries, providing shallow and peaceful waters for life to take hold. Lakes and swamps formed reserves, while the channels became arteries across the blood coloured desert.

By sunset, the river was four miles long, had a maximum depth of 40 meters, and the multiple smaller rivers, lakes and marshes born from it covered an area bigger than all of Britain’s islands combined. The heart of the australian desert witnessed the rebirth of rainforests far more diverse than those on the eastern edges of the continent, and many beasts long dead came to life, from thylacines to gorgonopsids.

Audali River was born and grew quickly, and kept it’s path towards the south, it’s destiny the Antarctica-facing australian coasts.

***

As the Sun set on Audali River, the last glimmer of the star’s white light burned a patch on the westernmost coast, creating a small area of sand glowing bright white. The patch kept growing, expanding in all directions, but especially to the East. Plants in contact with the white radiance withered and died, becoming as white as the sand, and after a while indistinct from the glow.

An emu saw the white light, and bolted away from it. However, it’s right foot hit a rock violently as it was running, making the bird fall on it’s side and bleed profoundly from the broken toes. Incapable of escaping, it resigned itself to it’s fate.

The white radiance first covered the soil beneath the bird, and then spread into the emu. The feathers fell off, revealing porcelain-like skin, rigid and preventing movements. As it reached the bird’s head, it’s throat could no longer move, and the open beak allowed the porcelain covering the spread inside, killing it. The normal red eyes became gold and began to radiate.

A few minutes after the bird’s death, it rose again, the porcelain-skin cracking to reveal raw muscle, which was in turn converted to porcelain, and shattered as the creature kept moving. Now upright again, the emu now moved erratically, like a puppet being controlled, drooling golden fluids from the eyes and mouth. It walked out of the white radiance, spreading it faster each step it took.

As the Sun rose again, several miles of West Australia were glowing with a white light.

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