Atlak looked up across the forested hill as the sounds of

screeching Pikatan echoed over the countryside. The sun was out over

that hill setting through the trees, and he could see the silhouette

of his parent, Mellor, running over the hill. But just then, the

shadow of the Pikatan emerged, spikes flaring, and it struck the

outline of the beloved Mellor.

Unarra charged up the hill, and Atlak followed, shouting

Mellor’s name, calling for his parent to get up. The strongest of

the Unarra, riding on flying Guards, quickly glided through gaps in

the forest and threw nets upon the raging beast. Other Tressed came

up, the healers, and tossed powder of ground hooves across the snout

of the Pikatan. The Pikatan fired its screams that could be heard

across the land, but not even its stomping could break it free from

the ropes and it fell into a deep slumber.

Yet, even with all of the commotion, all Atlak could think about

was Mellor, and as he reached the top of the hill he saw Mellor being

carried off by the Tressed healers and cried, "Is he okay? Will he

make it? Please! Mellor!" One of the guards pushed him out of the

way, "Be strong spawnling, for your parent will live to see another

aub, whether it is here or on the heavens of Devar, but not if you

interfere in the arts of the healers…" Atlak struggled to break free

but only fell down in tears.

‘What could I have done? Was it all my fault? I could have ran

up and warned him to stay closer to the hut. He can’t be dead, he

can’t be, Devar, no! Maybe if I had only…if I…’ He fell out of

consciousness as his body struggled to function under the stress of

this loss and the heat of the son. The guard, looking back at Atlak

after sending off the Pikatan to the herders, decided to pick up the

child and deliver him back to his hut. He slept and slept…tossing

and turning…

… … …

In his dream, he saw himself lost in the desert of sands, of

Mantar. Wandering…hungry. Then he saw Mellor appear before his

eyes, walking out of the dusty winds over the dunes toward him.

Mellor whispered into his ear, "Atlak, my child, I am so very tired.

I barely have the voice to tell you what is in my heart. Atlak…

always remember that we watching from the warm winds above, and we

give you strength to accept the truth and to move forward. Atlak, my

spawn, you must accept this truth…Now, I am merely a dust lost in

this dusty wind…I am gone."

… … …

The sandy winds of the moon of fury are said to wisp through the

room at night, into ones ear, and deliver one to the next plane where

that person may witness what their eyes could not see but their

hearts could feel. Perhaps it was only a nightmare, a horrible

nightmare…but nevertheless, his body may not have felt pain but his

mind and heart surely did. Atlak, moaned and stirred, and woke up to

see an Unarra guard standing at the doorway…

"Gone, gone, what do you mean he is gone? I want you to find

that traitor Tallic and bring him here even if it means by force. It

is the will of a dying Unarra, we must obey it! When you bring him

here, alert the council of elders so that they may grant him a

temporary stay…is that clear?"

"Yes, sir!", and with that the two junior guards rode off with

their Clyfts through the village gates.

"Lowsy ingrates…can’t even get a good scent…for the love of

Devar…oh, you are awake…" Atlak rubbed his eyes at the sight of the

light outside and jumped up. "Aye, so you are ready to see your

parent. Good. Let’s go then, we shall ride my Clyft. Hurry now,

young one.", said the Unarra.

‘Is he really alive!?’ Atlak charged straight out the door and

jumped on the back of the Clyft. It rose up and stomped along. To

each side Atlak could see the market vendors selling off all sorts

of animal products or even animals themselves, to herd or breed, and

yelling out "Clyft saddles, come get them now!", but Atlak could

only think about Mellor and what was going on.

"So, Atlak is it? Eh, you remind me of my spawn…hey, you

listening? …anyway, he went off on his journey a long time ago, to

find his first creature that would be willing to live under his

guidance that is, but anyway before he left he had the most scared

look on his face, like an Eshlar sinking in the ocean, just like you

right now. Ah, I would give my savings of Pykes if I could only see

him now. He must be out looking for the perfect creature, or it

wouldn’t have taken him so long…oh, well, here is the stop, I hope

your bloodline fairs well, good day."

Atlak jumped down and walked over to the building, remembering

his dream from last night. What would he say? As he walked in he

was looked over by the healers, but they merely bowed and showed him

through the hut rooms to his parent, without saying a word. "Parent,

Mellor, I was so worried!"

"Oh, Atlak, so was I, [cough]…I thought you were dead!"

"But Mellor, it is you who…"

"Atlak, Atlak, I have something to tell you, my spawn. The

doctors…they say that I am. … Atlak, I am dying."

Atlak only looked out the window, because he could no longer

bear to look at the truth, to look at the pain. Mellor wheezed and

coughed, and after a Tressed medic gave him some water, he turned to

face Atlak.

"Atlak, listen to me child, when Altoos sets over that forested

horizon…so will I. But I know that you are strong enough to accept

that. So…so am I…and [cough] you must save your strength, for what

sacrifices you have left in your life. There will always be times

when you must see your loved ones fall, times when you look across to

see the empty seats around the table of feasts, times when you will

go to a beloved creek, only to see that your friend is no longer

there…[cough] Atlak, you will in time be prepared for you will know

that those things shall inevitably come…. But [cough] Atlak, there

will be a time when you must make a great personal sacrifice. It has

always been that way in the Tressed, since the days of the Great Nine

Currans War. You must save your strength for what you must sacrifice

in life…to the your friends…to your family."

"Wha…what do you mean? Was it me you were trying to save from

the raging Pikatan?"

"Yes, my child, the beasts of the forest are essential in our

lives, a crucial part of the balance, necessary for our survival, but

just as equally they are so very deadly…yes, I did save you from it."

"But, but…"

"But…why? This is most sacred, and is normally not spoken about

in our lineage until the times of our death, but it is crucial that I

teach you this, as my last lesson, just as it has been done for each

of the generations of [cough] Tynel. Atlak, many Salvod ago when the

Tressed assisted the Lokai in the Great War, the god Devar saw our

courage, the courage of the Tressed warriors, and when we decided to

leave the field of battle in search of a peaceful life, he has since

then given each Tressed a great trial which they must [cough] conquer…

by sacrificing something they hold very dear to them, all for the

benefit of another. I believe that this is so…so that we may always

learn to have courage in our darkest hours. It is Altoos who then

shows us the light so that we may see when that time shall come. I

do not know why it is truly meant to be that way, I am not blessed

that much with the wisdom of Devar. I merely accept it…as I accepted

that…that it was my time…my sacrifice to be made… For you, Atlak."

"But why did the Pikatan have to come for us…me?"

"Atlak, the great balance has been forever kept between the

Tressed and the animals that they herd…to disrespect these animals,

it is to break the support that this balance provides in making our

relationship secure and trusting. When you showed disrespect to the

Pikatan, even through your thoughts, you have caused a breaking of

the balance with whatever Pikatan were there to hear you. They will

never forgive us. For disrespecting them, they sensed the

disrespect, and believed that we were Kompa, the lazy animals that

you have seen as a child. [cough] They cannot tell the difference

from afar, they only sense that we are them such an event occurs, and

they charge, and attempt to kill us, just as they do to the Kompa."

"Noo…nooo, I am so sorry Mellor, it is all my fault, all mine…

I..I thought…"

"No! [cough] you cannot think that way, or it will only bring

about the downfall of our bloodline. You must be strong, you must,

in order to work hard and gain the respect of the creatures who you

guide. Please, you must! That is all you can do for me…it is all I

ask of you."

Mellor coughed and moaned as he begged for Atlak to obey just

this single wish.

"Atlak, you are wise, at least, I see you becoming very wise.

The winds of Mantar show me this in my dark hour. I must choose a

new mentor for you, but I do not know who is suitable. I believe you

would blossom even without a mentor, but the Elder Council does not

agree. Before I die, rest assured that I will choose the best mentor

for you. Do you understand?"

"Yes…I do."

"Atlak, you must, no, you will grow up and serve the Tressed

greatly. Your fate is bright…even with my dying sight, I can see

that now. It is so brilliantly clear. It is as if it has already

happened, and your greatness and virtue is only a fond memory to me.

I am so proud of you, [cough] so very proud. Please, work hard at

whatever you do, my spawn…good luck, and may the wisdom of Devar be

with you, goodbye…"

"Goodbye. I will always hold you dear to me, Mellor."

Atlak walked out of the room and bowed to the medics. He walked off,

out the door, into the street, and from there he went off to tend to

Mellor’s Clyfts and mend the small crops. Behind him were the two

junior guards from earlier, yet he did not notice. They walked in to

meet Mellor, and ask for any of his dying requests.

"Hello, sir." "Greetings, elder."

"He…hello. If…if you could please bring me Tallic. Just bring

me Tallic."

"But sir, we have searched the spans of the forest for him, and

he is nowhere to be found."

"Please…please just find him, you must act hastily, or I will be

gone. Out by the creek, the one that glistens through the grove to

the west…he lives there, where the sun is [cough] so beautiful at the

sunset…out by the entrance of the creek to the river…I know he is

there…I know it."

"Yes sir, we will do what we can, sir."

"Tha…thank you."

A medic came to tend to Mellors wounds and replace old bandages,

and the two guards walked out.

"Perhaps you should go and find him? I want nothing to do with

that betrayer."

"We hardly know him though…he is only a story of our family!"

"What, so you do not take heed to our parent’s words!?"

"No…no it isn’t that…well, I can just send a guide over there.

They will have no qualms about the journey, and they know the land."

"Very well, so be it…but if we do not deliver a letter to the

man right away, the captain will have our heads!"

… … …

"Tallic? Talliiiiiicccc?", a small guide shouted while hopping

across the creek. It glistened brightly under the early sun and the

trees swayed in the warm winds.


Just then, a huge earthquake erupted, but in a second the guide

realized that it was merely a shadowy figure riding a gigantic Clyft.


The Clyft approached and the man dropped down.

"Aye, I am Tallic, what business do you have out here?"

"Sir, I am to deliver this message to you at once."

The guide gave Tallic the letter and hopped away, down the creek.

"Aye, thank y..err…hmm."

Tallic opened up the letter.

… … …

"Dear Sir,

Mellor is on his death bed and has requested that you come.

The elder council has granted you temporary entrance into the city

until the rituals of funeral have ended. Please come at once and do

not attempt to cause a commotion. Mellor is expected to pass away by


-Rashak and Polife, of the bloodline of Tashra, junior guards

of the Tressed"

… … …

Tallic looked up at the noon sun of Altoos, mounted his Clyft,

and rode off towards the Tressed village. He had a scared look on

his face, perhaps it was of the knowledge his friend would soon die…

perhaps something deeper…something in the winds, hidden by the time

and mystery of Gentar and Mantar.

… … …

"Aye, ho, I must see Mellor of the Tynel immediately, it is

urgent," Tallic said as he took the letter from his satchel…

"There is no need for that…we know who you are, now move along,"

one of the guards said in a cold tone.

Atlak dismounted his Clyft and gave it the sign to wait, and he

moved into the town.

Upon arriving at the medics’ hut, he was greeted by the healers

and was shown to Mellor’s room.

"Mellor, thank Devar, Altoos, and Atriana! How are you? I do

hope this letter is not the case."

"No…dear friend…they tell me it is mortal."

"Wha…what can I do for you? Anything!"

"Tallic…as you know…I am dying. There is no one left besides me

in his…Atlak’s life."


"[cough] My spawn, my spawn."

"Does he take after you?"

"Aye, he does, that he does…"


"…so you say, anyway, the elder council has asked me to [cough]…


"Medic, someone, get him water! Someone!"

A medic rushed in and placed a wet cloth across his forehead and

gave him some water to drink. Then the medic applied some ointment

across throat.

"…ahh…Thank you [cough]."

The medic left with a bow.

"Tallic…they have asked me to choose a mentor for Atlak. I know

he is already going to grow up well, but I need to choose before


"How do you even know that? You should not be so naive…well, if

you say so, friend. But they, everyone, they will not accept me

here….you know that."

"Please, do not speak of such things, I ask that you take Atlak

with you, into the forests…I am sure he will make friends with the

guides and the other intelligent creatures out there….and you know…he

must learn the ways of the balance…he must learn to appreciate it.

He can do that best…out there…he will be at once with the balance.

You can see that, I am sure."

"Yes, so it is true. Very well then, I can do that. It would

be an honor. … …"

An awkward pause ensued, and Tallic found himself looking out the

window, just as Atlak did, and this time the moon of Devar was going

down over the horizon, growing darker and darker through the forest,

and he could hear the moans of Mellor.

"Mellor…ho…how did this happen to you anyway?"

"It was…my sacrifice…you know, the story that I told you after

the day my parent died? It was for Atlak…he disturbed the balance…

with the Pikatan."

"…hrm…just like that day…many salvod ago…"

"Please, please…do not mention that…I cannot bear the thoughts

that have come back to haunt me when I see you. I have tried to hard

to block them out…"

… … …

The creek glistened as always. The water flowed down the rocks

as two children walked along the nearby riverside, just through the

grove of red trees. One came rushing back to meet the other, who

stood looking out to the other side of the river.

"Hey Tallic…guess what I have!"

The child took out a satchel and waved it around before Tallic’s


"I dunno…what is it?"

"Ay! It’s pebbles!"

The child removed some slick, shiny pebbles from the satchel and

shook them around in his hand.

"Look at these, aren’t these the slickest, most flat pebbles you

have ever seen?"

"Aye Mellor, that they are. Wanna throw ‘em into the lake?

"Umm…well, I had a better plan in mind actually. Besides, these

pebbles are way too hard to find. Just throwing them away would be a

waste. Come on, let’s go, walk with me over to the grove."

They walked over to the grove.

"Wow, I bet those sing just like Fallia back in the village. I

can’t wait till I hear one of those gliding through the wind."

"Don’t worry, you will soon…here, come over behind this rock, I

can see them coming."

"Who?", Tallic said as he was pulled in behind a short rock.

"The Pikatan, of course!"

"Hey, that reminds me, did you get your apprenticeship yet? Did

you pass the exam?"

"Well, yeah, but I could only become an apprentice to my parent,

and he only herds Clyfts, just like his parent, and just like his

parent’s parent."

Mellor sighed.

"I want to be able to herd the Pikatan, the strongest creatures

in the land, and the hardest to herd to. When I am the best, herders

will hear my name and be remembered of me, the greatest herder who

ever lived! Someday, I will even ride one of them too! Just watch!"

"Is that even possible?"

"I dunno, but first thing’s first, the plan."

"What plan?"

"You’ll see!"

"Are the Pikatan still there?", Mellor said as he brought out a

slick blue pebble.

Tallic looked over the rock quickly and replied affirmatively.

"Aye, they are over there, and sleeping too. A pretty deep

sleep actually…"


Suddenly, Mellor took the blue pebble and slung it as fast as he

could at the faceplate of the Pikatan. He did so with every pebble

he had, as fast as he could, and the Pikatan slowly woke up for their


"What on Atriana are you doing!? Are you crazy!? They will

rage across the lands and they will kill us!"

"All part of the plan…"

… … …

Mellor moaned in his bed as he saw this event unraveling. It

was etched in the back of his memory, so clearly, but until now he

had locked it away. It was this, the beginning of the end, which was

the memory which he could not bare facing.

… … …

The Pikatan woke up, and were in a raging fury. The pair woke

and screamed while charging off into the distance.

"Let’s go, we need to get on our Clyfts!"

Tallic didn’t have time to say anything, only obey his friend

who he had trusted since he was old enough to remember anything, far

back when they first spawned together by the creek, in the grove,

underneath two pairs of blood red trees.

"Ya! Ya!", Atlak shouted as he mounted the Clyft, and they both

rode off in pursuit of the Pikatan.

"I hope you know what you are doing!", shouted Tallic.

"Don’t worry, once I put them to sleep at the entrance, I will

be famous, I will have saved the entire village!"


"Hey, just keep riding, or we will lose them!"

Atlak maneuvered around to the side of the Pikatan and in turn

they changed direction and ran off toward the village.

They cleared the grove and crossed the creek, but ever so slowly

the Pikatan began to outrun the slower Clyfts.

"I should have taken the Guards!", shouted Mellor

"What!?", shouted Tallic

"The Guards, the young ones that Fallia said we could use if we


"Who cares!? We need to get to the town first and warn them

about the Pikatan!"

The Pikatan soon went out of sight as they charged off for the

town, intent on getting some Kompa…but there were no Kompa at the

village….only Unarra.

"Nooo! Ya! Ya! Hurry up!", Mellor shouted in vainly.

They charged up the hill close to the town but the Clyft’s

stopped sharply at the sight and smell of fire and smoke.

"Wha…what is going on down there?"

Down below the guards were battling one of the Pikatan, with the

other under a net asleep. Dead Unarra were scattered across the

forest floor, and houses were burning as one of the Clyft hide oil

shops had been attacked and some oil pots had broken across the

entrance torches.

The two stood there, stunned.

"You two there, get off those Clyfts, NOW! Tether them and go

around the village to the other side!"

But they could not, they got down and once again stood there in

amazement at what had occurred.

"Mellor, what did we do!?"

"…w…what did…!?"

The Pikatan was netted and brought down, and the two children

charged down into the town, and looked over at a crowd of medics

grouped around the oil shop entrance.

"M…my parent…Sarkath said he was going to get some…so…oil…

today!", cried Tallic

Mellor pushed aside the medics and looked inside to see Sarkath,

killed from the explosion, and being carried away in blankets by the


He fell down there on his knees in utter disbelief.

Tallic chased after them, nearly ready to burst into tears.

"Hey, you two, I told you to get to the other side of the

village! You, Tallic, get away from them, they have work to do."

The guard pulled Tallic away and took Mellor off the ground.

"Now get over to the other side at once!"

The two children sulked in a walk across the village. None

could say anything, their throats were closed off by the suddenness

of it all. At the other side of town, they sat down with the rest of

the crowd, staring at the dirt for what seemed to be an eternity,

reliving the moment over…and over.

… … …

The bell rang three times across from the village bell tower.

It was the sign that all was fine once again. Everybody but the two

children got up, but then the bell tower rang six times, calling for

the town meeting. The children got up and followed the crowd to the

town hall.

All of the Tressed sat down on stone seats circled around a

central podium. Mellor and Tallic sat in the back, near the

entrance, which coincidentally was cloaked in the shadows. The

mayor, the spiritual leader of the Tressed, walked down the central

hall and stepped up to the podium.

"Ahem…ahem…as you all know, just a while ago two Pikatan in a

rage attacked our village. This has not been witnessed for at least

ten or so salvod…not in many of our lifetimes. This only occurs, as

most of you all know, when the balance between the Pikatan and the

Tressed is breached."

He continued onward, "Of course, this only happens in cases of

much disrespect to these creatures that we live with. We, the

Tressed, have for many generations discouraged this type of

disrespect so that this would never happen. When it does happen, it

is necessary to deal with the problem immediately. So, I ask whoever

started this…and I know someone started this…to come forward

immediately … … … Well? I am waiting…"

"I…I….I…..", Mellor said in a quiet tone. His throat failed him

under the pressure to do something.

"I did it," Tallic said loudly "I disrespected the Pikatan by

assaulting them and I take responsibility for my actions." Tallic

stepped forward into the light of the torches.

Mellor sat there, shocked, and no matter how much his conscience

told him to do something, he could not move.

"Child, what were you thinking? We, the Tressed cannot use any

disrespect of negative thoughts in our minds! Too much of that

thinking will disturb the balance! Much less can we actually use

violence toward any creature! It is forbidden!"

"I…I was not thinking, sir," Tallic said, and the spiritual

leader sighed.

"By the laws of the elders which have been used for hundreds of

salvod, it is written that you will be banished out into the forest…

however, because you are only a child, and I am sure that you did not

mean what you did…I will leave your rank of apprentice servant. You

must now live anywhere you wish outside of the village, for the

protection of the Tressed, and you are still subject to our laws. Do

you understand?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, then, I ask that you leave the village as soon as

possible, so say goodbye to anyone you wish."

Tallic turned around and walked off through the shadowed door,

and Mallor followed him out. Mellor found Tallic walking out of his

home with a filled satchel and getting ready to mount his Clyft

outside the village gates.


Tallic turned around and looked at Mellor.


"I don’t know. I just did it. It felt right," he said as he

mounted his Clyft, "Goodbye, friend, I will never forget you."

"You know, long ago when my parent Gramath died, he told me the

story of Devar, and how all of us in the Tressed eventually reach a

point where we must make an ultimate sacrifice for someone else.

That has been passed on only through the generations of the Tynel,

through my family. Tallic, I will tell my spawn about you, the great

person you are, for you are far better than myself in every way. I

am honored to have you as a friend… I only hope that I can make it up

to you somehow, someway…"

"You already have, friend," and so Tallic left off to start his

new life, far away from the Tressed village, and Mallor went of to

his mentor, in hopes of moving on.

… … …

"…you know…that grove…the creek…I knew you would be there."

"I still go there, to think about the times when we were

kids….Did you ever tell Atlak…about…about the truth of what happened?"

"No, I, I could not face it…and if Atlak would hear this, I do

not think he would have held respect for me until’ now."

"I see…"

"Tallic, could…would you tell Atlak…about the truth? To teach

him of the importance of the balance, to teach the lessons that I

have tried to forget?"

"Of course….so if he takes after you…I don’t suppose he will be

that hard to spot?"

"…aye…he looked like me when he spawned…I knew we shared a

strong fated link when I first saw him…perhaps there was something

inside of me that feared what he would do…what I might have to do.

But you, you can change that, you can show him what I could not."

"Yes, I can, and I will."

"So, why did you…?"

"As you said, it was my great sacrifice in life. It was fated

to be, and I could see that it was what I had to do. I did not know

Altoos’ grand vision then, but I can accept that now, and that is why

I never held a grudge against you since I left. Well, have no fear

my friend, goodbye…"

Tallic left the room off, and as Altoos set over the horizon,

Mallor fell into his eternal rest.

… … …

Tallic walked out and could see Atlak walking from the stables.

"Atlak, is that you?"

"Hello, who are you?"

"I was…am your parent’s friend, Tallic, spawn of Sarkath, of the

lineage of Mikta."

"Is he doing good?"

"No…he is gone now."

Tallic could see that Atlak was about to break down in some way.

"Listen, did Mellor not tell you to be strong? I am sure he

must have. So do so."

"Aye…aye, I’m sorry," said Atlak as he straightened himself out.

"Well, after the funeral, you will come with me and I will

mentor you out in the forest, in the ways of the balance. Is that

alright with you?"


"It is the request of Mellor."

"Yes, sir."

"Good, come, we will rest and prepare for the funeral."

… … …

The next sunset, before while the sun was going down, a shrine

was set up in the grove of trees. Tallic and Atlak were behind the

empty shrine, facing out toward the East. Surrounding them was the

council of elders, the spiritual leader, and the medics and shamans

who assisted Mellor in his passing.

Then, a bell sounded off a number of times at the grove, and as

the sun crossed down through the trees, all of the citizens who were

not required to do special tasks came toward the grove, the same

grove where Mellor and Tallic were born. They split into two lines

and began to approach the shrine. But as they came close they saw

the face of Tallic and stopped, stunned.

"Is that Tallic?"

"Who is he?"

"It is the traitor, spawn, do not look at him."

"That is Tallic?"

"You killed my family!," another shouted.

"Let’s go home, I shall not stay with the traitor."

"So he is the one who started great fire of long ago?"

Tallic looked out into the forest without any facial expression,

but deep down inside he began to feel shame that the event ever

happened in the first place, so long ago. Was any of it really his

fault? And as he stood there, the guests were in a roar, but just as

they began to leave, Devar ecplised Altoos, along with Mantar, and

Gentar. Suddenly, a warm, sandy wind blew in from the West, from

behind the shrine towards the citizens.

"It is a sign! A sign from the gods!"

"Should we stay?"

The spiritual elder stepped forward and shouted, "Everyone, this

is a sign, that the gods, Altoos, Atriana, and their spawns, Devar,

Mantar, and Gentar, have forgiven Tallic. We must forgive him as

well, and welcome him back into the community of the Tressed. Do not


They all were silenced, in awe, and continued onward toward the

shrine, and then turned in to face one another. A horn bearer

sounded it off to signify the continuance of the rituals. Four young

Clyfts, raised by Mellor, were guided down next to the shrine. Then,

another Clyft came down the isle and Mellor was lowered down onto the

shrine. The leader nodded, and a spidery creature came in and wove a

cocoon around Mellor. Tallic nudged Atlak forward and the two walked

down to the front of the shrine, and Tallic held up a thread of the

cocoon and nodded in acceptance. Then, Tallic signaled Atlak to get

a nearby jug of water and provide drink to the two creatures.

Tallic signaled for the continuation and his own large Clyft

came down the isle, causing all to tremble for a bit. Tallic fed it

a red leaf and signaled for it to pick up the cocoon and set it on a

tree. Tallic could remember back which tree Mellor was born under,

and he chose a strong branch low on the tree, for he knew of that

Mellor was strong on the inside.

So, with the rituals completed, the citizens applauded and

walked off, after paying tribute to Tallic by greeting him. Some

even forgave him for holding such long grudges. Then, they had all


The elders and the leader looked at him.

"Tallic…if you wish, we will allow you to live in the city once

again…you can stay with us, and be one with the community as so long


"Tallic, I am sure that we can learn much from one another, and

the young Tressed will also gain much from your wisdom of what you

have learned over the years."

"Is that alright with you, Tallic?"

Tallic looked at Atlak, and looked at the cocoon, and, without

thinking anymore, said, "No, it is the wish of a friend that it not

be so," and when he looked at Atlak, the child nodded.

The elders and the leader nodded, said goodbye, and walked off

toward the village.

Tallic looked out toward the river and could hear the tremors of

the Pikatan running to find a good place to rest under the shade.

"Come Atlak, and walk with me along the river, for it is time

that I taught you my first lesson, it is the story of truth…and it is

the story of friends."