The thundering paused every few minutes; the air rose heavy in
anticipation of the next assault upon the soil. The rhythm was familiar
to the groups of Unarra tending to the various tasks of the day. Some
even used the noise to jolt them back awake after falling asleep from a
night spent playing too many games of hyra.
Atlak hated how the dust was stirred into the air, how his feet vibrated
afterward and caused him to pause in his work to recover. Tynel Mellor
and Tynel Atlak were lashing groups of vines together for the trainers'
use. Mellor marveled at his spawn's ability to work single-mindedly, and
had praised Atlak on many
occasions at the amount he could accomplish in one day, even in
comparison to such experienced workers as Mellor himself.
Mellor had hoped the long day would slow the relentless questions from
his curious spawn, but such was not the case. Atlak paused only long
enough to voice his frustration with the rippling ground swells
experienced while taming the Pikatan. Atlak turned his attention back to
Mellor and continued probing, "...but if Tallic had such obvious talent
and empathy with the beasts why did the Tresed relinquish him to
apprentice status for so long? Is that why he left? Some say you were
friends. What was..."
"We are still friends." Mellor was thankful for the growing tremors of
the Pikatan. "That is enough about Tallic for today my progeny; the
taming exercises have begun."
Upset that his questioning had ceased, Atlak tried not to cough as the
dust kicked up around him. "Of all the creatures, what is so sacred
about the Pikatan anyway?" Atlak's scowl grew deeper and darker with
every leap and hard landing of the Pikatan.
Mellor was amused. "Keep that up, Atlak, and your face will become
etched like that."
"Just once, I would like to stomp through their valley and disrupt them
while they are trying to get work done."
"I suppose you would also want to be revered as the Sacred Atlak too
then?" Mellor smiled. "Perhaps you would teach the Unarra about the
patience of taming as well?"
The reprimand was enough to keep young Atlak from continuing to
outwardly show his distaste for the Sacred Pikatan. Atlak just grumbled
to himself as clouds of dust mushroomed into the air not far from where
they worked. However, the thunderous quakes caused by the Pikatan didn't
stop this time. A telepathic warning was sent to all nearby, but Atlak
was distracted by the sudden and chaotic rearing of the Pikatan.
Something was wrong.
Most of the Pikatan were rounded up before any large amounts of damage
were done. Yet, one crazed animal, its eyes rolling in its skull,
careened forward with its strange loping leaps, dodging all attempts at
capture. Atlak's insides churned, a mix of ice and painful heat as he
looked up to see a silhouette of a figure on a near-distant hill. Atlak
began to scream even before Mellor was trampled...
A rush of pain seared through Atlak’s side as he charged toward his
Master’s crumpled remains. All thought gone and shouting mad he charged
the hill. He knew the Pikatan was still near and rampaging wildly about
the field, but the tears in his eyes blocked out all around him… he must
reach his Master.
As Atlak bent near the still body, his mind raced to discover a way to
save Mellor. His chest still rising with pained breath, he knew there
was little time. Atlak screamed for aid, and watched in horror as
villagers, to busy trying to contain the maddened Pikatan, ignored his
plea to save his Master’s life. Mellor’s hand rose slowly and with
great pain from the dirt. “Remember… Atlak” Mellor ground through
ragged breath and torn lips, “They… are what… we.. must never….become……”
And as his eyes flowed shut, Mellor died.
A scream of rage and terror echoed off the nearby hills and cascaded
along the valley floor as Atlak voiced the departure of a great being
into the hereafter. All eyes turned, even if only for a moment, towards
the hilltop and gave sight to the dead. But also of emergent import was
the control of the frantic Pikatan.
Shame… that is what Atlak felt at his people. Shame for allowing a
beast, a murderous beast, to occupy the time that was sacred to the
dying and the dead. Shame…. Pain… hatred.. Yes, Hatred of the beast
that killed Mellor. With strength he did not remember he had, he forced
himself to stand. He glanced into the frozen eyes of his beloved
Master, and in mimic, turned that frozen stare onto the Pikatan.
His advance on the beast was slow at first, then more and more speed as
he realized the beast was being calmed and cared for as if it was the
wronged party here. His rage began to grow with ever step. The pain in
his heart guided his hand, with out even looking, around the spear
carried and held close always. The spear carved for him by Mellor. He
raised the hunting weapon without notice, his teeth bared and his step
quickening into a run.
All throughout the village grain fields people had began to gather
around the now calmed Pikatan, cooing to it as if it were a babe, coxing
it back towards the running field it had deserted to kill Mellor. “Must
not become like that beast.” Atlak said to himself, almost in a chant.
The words repeating a little louder with ever word. His arm drew back
as he got within one hundred feet of the monster, and has the phrase
left his mouth again, so did his spear leave his hand.
The weapon arched through the air direct and true, as he had been
taught… as Mellor had taught him. With a solid thud the weapon rang
home, directly into the beasts exposed side and into it’s heart. With a
slowness that was both surprising and majestic, the beast fell to the
ground. Atlak’s breath came hard and his words could be heard village
wide in the stunned silence. “We must not become like them! And this we
Prayers began to be heard as Hentallis, the village Head Master, turned
and laid a stunned stare upon Atlak. His mouth moved, but he could not
speak. With a rush he approached Atlak and with one quick motion,
slapped him to the ground. “What have you done child?!” He raged. You
have killed that which we hold most sacred! Do you not know the
destruction of our Gods you have now brought upon this village?!
“I do not care for these Gods then!” Atlak raged as he surged to his
feet. “Mellor lies dead on that hill and you people coddle the beast of
his destruction like blind fools! We have spent our lives worshiping
this beast and following it’s every move. For what I ask? That we
watch and learn what not to be? Yet here we are, one of our own dead
and left to lay, and we play with the beast that killed it? Does this
sound as if we have learned anything?” His entire body raged as he
stood defying any to talk. The herds are pushed from place to place,
mindlessly, following a sense of preservation forced upon them by yet
another beast. WE do the same thing, yet are to blind to realize our
own stupidity! We hold sacred an animal that we say is to keep us from
becoming just like them, yet you stand here today and ignore your own
dead villager while mindlessly cooing at a beast that barely knows you
exist!” He sagged to the ground, his energy spent and his body now
racked with tears for Mellor. “I am ashamed of us all.”
“You will leave this village, today, never to return.” Was all that
Hentallis could say. “You bring shame and the blindness of stupidity
only upon yourself. You have broken a code that is older than the very
world we stand upon, and you shall not drag us all down with you in your
lack of faith. Be gone this hour, fore you do not even deserve the
right to witness the burial of your Master.”
“I will leave, and I shall take with me those who feel as I do, and in
my leaving I shall bring the end to a sacred breed that has foretold the
death of my entire people. Before I see my departure from this world, I
shall see the end to the Pikatan.” And with that, Atlak spit upon the
field, grabbed his spear from the body of his enemy and walked to his
hut to gather his things.
The world of Atrianna this day has seen the arrival of a new breed of
Unarra. A breed that does not need to follow the teachings of an animal
that is only slightly aware that it breaths, let alone that anyone
considers it sacred.
“I shall bring my people to self reliance and understanding that does
not require a blind faith to the slow and stupid” he said as he and
several others just like him departed the village towards the plains “…
which is what we are becoming.”
Story line completed by: