00The 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&.Atlak woke up, his face dug on the mud, he must have fallen after the Pikatan stampeded to safety, he was so lucky to be alive.
The cause of the stampede was evident, the silhouette on the hill was that of a six legged monster of huge proportions, a known Pikatan predator known as Fiernir who had come to get a free meal, Atlak was alone, Mellor was unconscious and the other guardians were unable to contain the Pikatan this time, Atlak never thought such creatures could be so fierce on an emergency situation.
The Fiernir was feasting on the Pikatan alpha, the others after watching Mellor fall to the ground were scared, leaderless on both their Unarra and Pikatan leaders, Atlak grabbed a dead guard spear and ran with animal courage to meet his premature death at the jaws of Fiernir, of course he didnt want to die, perhaps his display of courage could drive the beast away for good.
Atlak had an uneven fight with Fiernir, all kinds of thought ran through his head, about Mellor, about his duties to protect the Pikatan, about the elders anger should he fail, he had to concentrate on something before falling prey to fear or his foe, he did not consider&.the Pikatan.
Atlak is being watched by the cowardly Pikatan from afar, Atlak was sure it was the end for him, and they will be next, so Atlak rethought his situation, perhaps he should not protect the Pikatan, after all, they are sacred to his tribe and they should know how to defend themselves, all they needed is a leader, a leader they can respect.
Atlak grabbed his spear and he trusted Fiernir on the side, Fiernir kicked Atlak far away, a Pikatan following his example trusted Fiernir on the other side, the poor Pikatan was being kicked to death by the angered Fiernir until Atlak stood up and trusted the beast again, he was bleeding much blood, all was worth it, because the Pikatan gained courage and attacked Fiernir, stabbing him from all sides and trying to use the very same tactics they use to kill Kompas.
Fortunately for Atlak, the elders sent reinforcements on time and he was sent to the healers, before he was rescued, he gladly saw Fiernir being torn to pieces and devoured by the Pikatan with a few losses on their side, he smiled to himself, because he became their alpha now and he was satisfied to had taught his Pikatan to overcome themselves and charge to battle against their odds, he would not consider them as brute animals now, but instead as fellow Unarra who required special attentions from him as their leader.