Archives: Strips | Game | Prologue
The following is a spoiler-free summary of Inherit the Earth: Quest for the Orb, the prequel to the comic strip.
Rif the Fox has traveled far from his tribe's home to compete in the Puzzle Contest.
Right after being awarded his second-place medallion, Rif is accused of stealing the Orb of Storms,
an ancient relic of the legendary humans that the Morph use to predict the weather.
Rif is able to convince his accusers that as a verified puzzle-solver, he is the best person to seek the true thief.
To insure he completes his mission, the Elk Captain sends Lieutenant Eeah to guard/help Rif.
Not to be outdone, the Boar Captain sends Sergeant Okk along;
plus, the boars hold Rif's girlfriend Rhene as a hostage.
Rif spends many days finding clues, seeking advice, outwitting foes, helping others and solving puzzles
(sometimes with the help of Eeah and Okk). He eventually locates the true culprit and is able to prove his innocence,
winning the freedom of Rhene.
And they lived happily ever after. Well, not really.
Prologue to the Game
Written by Robert Leh
The campfire painted a warm, yellow glow on the surrounding trees, replacing the soft silver of the full moon. Rif slowly rotated a freshly-caught trout over the fire as Rhene combed the burrs and briars from her long, bushy tail. They were but three days journey out of the camp of the Fox Tribe, but already Rhene was beginning to show signs of fatigue. Rif, on the other hand, seemed to gather strength with each step, fueled by the excitement of the coming day.
"When do you think we shall arrive at the Faire, Rif?" asked Rhene.
"If we leave at daybreak, we should arrive by mid-morning." replied Rif.
"Then perhaps you should get some sleep." said Rhene.
"I'm too excited to sleep. I've waited all year for the Puzzle Faire, and tomorrow we will be there." Rif’s eyes watched their dinner, but his mind was already into the next day.
Although Rhene did not share her friend's excitement, she understood it. After all, Rif was the best puzzle-solver in the Fox Tribe. He had defeated all of his tribe's challengers at many types of games, and was now ready to take on the best of the other tribes. Rhene knew her friend better than anyone, though, and she knew that in order for him to be at his best, he needed to be well rested. Perhaps if she got his mind off of the Faire...
"Isn't the sky beautiful tonight?" asked Rhene, moving closer to the fire.
"Er, yes. Quite nice." replied Rif, absent-mindedly.
"Do you ever wonder if the Humans are actually out there somewhere, watching us?" wondered Rhene , dreamily.
"Humans! Humph!" scoffed Rif. "You don't really believe those old stories, do you?"
"But what about the cave paintings? The artifacts?"
"Perhaps some strange, hairless beings did walk the earth long ago, but I don't believe the part about flying machines, and the Humans ascending into the clouds, and all that nonsense."
Rhene pulled her blanket around her. "What about the Book of Hands?"
"Just stories to lull the kits to sleep." replied Rif. He had heard all of the stories when he was a kit about how the Humans were here long before the Morph, that the Humans had taught the Morph how to use their hands, gave them voices, showed them how to walk upright, rode in great skyplanes, and went to live in the clouds, someday to return for the Morph. He didn't really believe the stories when he was a kit, and he certainly didn't believe them now. The Morph had always been here, thought Rif, like the trees, the rocks, or the sky. He would not be fooled by some silly myth.
"Besides," continued Rif, "if these Humans had the ability to travel back and forth to the clouds, don't you think they would have come back by now? Why did they leave? Why did a whole race just vanish?"
Rif looked over at Rhene. The gentle rising and falling of her blanket told Rif that she had fallen fast asleep. It was just as well, thought Rif. There would be little opportunity for sleep once they got to the Faire. Rif took the trout and wrapped it in a leaf. It would make a fine breakfast, he thought. As the coals of the campfire began to dim, Rif leaned back and gazed at the stars overhead. Could there be someone else out there, he wondered? What if the legends were true? Rif shook the questions from his mind. Better to think of more practical matters. His eyes closed as his thoughts drifted to the Faire, and to the challenges that lay before him. Little did he know just how challenging this journey would be!