Fear overwhelmed Atlaks mind as he raced towards his father. Father, no!  he cried. Racing to the top of the hill, he stopped over his fathers inert body. His hands searched his fathers form. No pulse, no pulse! His frame huddled over his fathers, in a stunned silence. How could this happen? This cannot be. We were just talking, everything was fine. That stupid--. His head jerked up, looking for the pikatan that had trampled Mellor. The beast was skittishly avoiding a trainer, trying to capture it. Some of the other Unarra were starting to come over towards Mellor, shocked looks on their faces.

Atlak rose, turned toward the pikatan, and charged at it, crying Nooooo!  Ten yards away he stopped, raised his spear, and hurled it at the beast. The shaft went into the neck of the pikatan. It staggered a few steps, bellowed, and then died. The death of it didnt make Atlak feel much better, though.

What have you done?!  cried the trainer. Voices of dismay arose everywhere. You killed it! This must never be! We have a duty! 

It killed my father! 

That doesnt matter, these creatures are sacred to the planet&to us!  The trainer lashed out at Atlak, dealing him a blow to his face with the back of the trainers hand. Atlak fell to the ground, holding his jaw, staring at the dead pikatan with a dazed look in his eyes.



Later that evening, Atlak sat on a hill that rose above the forest. He looked across the treetops, thinking of his father, and of his own killing of the pikatan. The sound of footsteps behind him came to his ears, but he didnt look. He didnt care.

Im sorry about Mellor,  said Jevvid. She was Atlaks aunt, a tall woman. She was training to be the next spiritual leader of the clan. She had been there at the training session when the pikatans had panicked. Atlak remained silent.

Now both of your parents are gone; you are the last Tynel. I wish it werent so, but&. Why did you kill the pikatan? You know its just an animal, not responsible for its actions. And its sacred. Oh, foolish boy. 

It killed father,  he said. I, I was so angry. It was only fair.  He turned to face her, though remaining seated. She crouched down and caressed his cheek.

But that goes against everything Unarran culture stands for. We are the caretakers of the lands creatures. We never kill them, never harm them. Never. 

Why did they panic? Why did this happen?  he asked, tears coming to his eyes. What happened at the training? 

Something spooked them, but we knew not what. Our empathic bond only revealed a sudden burst of fear and dread overwhelming them. Then they went wild. Thankfully most were contained right away.  She paused. Most, but not all. Im truly sorry, my dear boy. And now&you must be banned from the village, from this very forest you were raised in. You have committed a grave sin against our people, against our clan. Your dream of becoming one of the Tresed is gone, for they have even stronger feelings about this than even us. You can never become one of them now. 

No&no! Cant I be forgiven? It was only fair. It maintained the balance!  His eyes searched her sad ones desperately. She shook her head. She rose and slowly walked down the hill.

He was dead, dead in his villages eyes. He had to leave&would another village take him in? Impossible! They all would know. The word would spread. He had nowhere to go&.

Tallic. Tallic could save him from all this.

He began his long journey to the Tresed.