Lessons Learned (Part 2 of the Pikatan Story)

Terms
tentanodule = redundant in "life", the tentanodules act as body-breathers
and start the cocoon process
weshoi = cooking master
shoak = tents made from the hani vines
joolka = sour soup/juice made from the kur vine
curran = approximately 100 aub
ucaas = "shedding of one's skin" part of the spawning ritual



Mellor's gray blood mixed with the riled dust. Shockblind, Atlak rushed to
his fallen parent and his training took over through dire necessity. Taking
his parent in a cradling embrace, Atlak carried Mellor back to the
encampment. Pushing the Weshoi aside, Atlak took a ladle of fresh joolka and
splashed it liberally over the wounds. Though used primarily for sustenance,
Atlak knew from training that the searing liquid would cleanse and sear the
wound fast. Atlak would not let Mellor leave this world just yet.

"Ask now." The thought was clear and tinged with Mellor's emphasis. Atlak
gave his parent a deservedly puzzled look. To speak such a thing at a time
like this confounded the youth. "Save your strength." His response was firm
as he felt the parental roles reversed.

"Ask." The thought repeated itself with unwavering determination, though
still weaker than Mellor's normal "voice". Without response, Atlak finished
washing out the wounds to this incessant request. Another Tynel used binding
cloth on Mellor's appendages, making sure to keep the tentanodules free.
Atlak's temper rose in watching, but he knew their actions were well
intentioned. Mellor succumbed to unconsciousness and the requests went mute.
Atlak took the sleeping form back to the shoak and took up restful guard.

It was morning again, barely, when movement stirred Atlak to rise. A form
vaguely familiar stood in the door flap of the shoak. It took Atlak moments
more to realize the form was not Unarran but Lokai, and even more to realize
it was the same form he briefly saw on the hill.

"You have both done well." The stranger lisped in Atlak's direction. The
stranger's eyes focused on Mellor as they continued. "And for that, I am
grateful. Now I can transcend the Tier of Patience again."

Atlak was fully alert now, and the puzzle pieces, or most of it, came
together. This was Tallic.

Just as he came to understanding the connection, Mellor came awake. The
grogginess that Atlak felt was not apparent in Mellor's eyes. It took both
their gazes upon him to force Atlak to respect Mellor's previous wish--to
ask.

"Why was injury required? What does our training have to do with yours? Did
you cause this accident? Did I?" Atlak knew he had more questions, but these
would suffice to whet his curiosity.

Mellor and Tallic chuckled in unison. "He reminds me of you at that age,"
Tallic teased. Mellor moved painfully to a seated position, the effort
visible upon him. After a few short breaths and some joolka juice, Mellor's
colour returned and he answered his spawnling's questions.

"Tallic is my mentor and friend. We had met when my parent brought me to the
world at the end of the Last Great Push. Just as I have trained you, Atlak,
in the ways of the Trainer, Tallic has shown me the path of the Tresed."
Mellor paused to take another drink. "You come by your disdain of the
Pikatan honestly, and it was my test to finally overcome them." Mellor
grinned at Tallic and then added, "fortunately, your test wasn't
as...forceful."

Tallic took over the telling, "The Pikatan and Kompa are not alone in a
closed society. The Kompa are not as victimized by the Pikatan as one might
think; there are tales of Pikatan being killed by stubborn Kompa. They each
have outside enemies and allies. They each die and return with the cycles.
Mellor could never realize a better self while he denied the part of himself
that Unarran philosophy despised. In general the Unarra strive to be like
the Pikatan, but they need the energy of the Kompa to be complete in
themselves. Likewise, you, young Atlak, have grown in your talents. Rather
than let vengeance and passion guide you, you channeled your energy toward
saving Mellor. By Tresed terms, you used the joolka juice for healing rather
than harming. Though shock may have clouded your every faculty, you
maintained your passion and kept your curiosity in obeisance. I taught
Mellor who taught you and in turn we have gained knowledge of ourselves."

Atlak looked to the two elders. Just as he was about to restate the
unanswered questions Mellor replied, "Tallic was not banished to the
Apprentice tier, but took it upon himself as a means of goading me. He
lowered himself, despite his ability, and that went against the Tresed way
of life. He was right in his action, of course, but we did not speak for
many Curran over that decision." Mellorís mirth was apparent.

Tallic again took up the tale. "I had tried other measures, just as Mellor
had other plans for you if you had not emerged." Tallic made the sign for
ucaas with a guffaw; Atlak was reminded of a Lempek from Tallic's laughter!

Atlak managed another question while the two were teasing him and each
other. "So, what does it all mean?"

Mellor winked and said, "Some lessons are harder to explain than others, my
first, but this one is simple-- no pain, no gain."

The three joked and laughed through until Altoos was over their head.