The Pikatan- Ending by Yubar
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...
The day waned on and Atlak was barely making it though. He was having trouble facing the truth, Mellor was dead. He had never expected him to die this way; killed by the animals he loved. Realizing the cycle of nature had been broken, Atlak stifled a tear and continued his meal. He was alone now, and although it would be difficult without Mellors guidance, Atlak some how knew he would make it.
The following evening was the night of Mellors death ritual. Atlak felt a searing pain in his heart, although this time it was not sorrow, it was anger. He had stayed up all night searching for answers, and that morning it came to him. It was not the Pikatan that killed Mellor, it was the Tresed. All his life he was taught to take care of the Pikatan, the sacred Pikatan. "Whats so sacred about a animal that without hesitation takes anothers life." Atlak said out loud. The anger swelled in him, his master had stopped him from asking to many questions about the "Sacred" Pikatan, but Mellor was no longer here and Atlak would be heard.
The congregation entered the grove in there two single file lines. Atlak recognized most of the faces, although some of them he had never seen before. The ceremony went on smoothly, but Atlak had trouble standing still. When the ceremony ended, Atlak was the to leave, not only cause he could not bear to be in the presence of his deceased master, but also because he needed to make plans. Atlak was almost to his hut when a dark figure grabbed him, and pulled him off to the side. Atlak was about to scream, when the figure said "Silence young one, there is no need to be afraid." The figure let go and Atlak took a step back, "Who are you?" Atlak asked trying to see the creatures face.
"You do not recognize me? Perhaps it has been longer then I thought." A sudden break in the clouds revealed an older looking Unarra, shrouded in a dark robe. "Tallic!" Atlak cried as he realized who he was. "You have returned!"
"With Mellor dead you have no one to teach you, I plan on changing that."
"But Tresed will not allow you back into to our culture, how do you plan on.." Tallic knowing what he was about to ask interrupted. "I do not plan on becoming a Tresed once again, for I have found a better life. What I am asking is that you join me, and together, I shall teach you to become the greatest beast tamer in the land." Atlak was speechless, and for a long minute both just stood there staring at each other though the darkness. All of a sudden memories of Mellors death, and hatred for the Tresed returned. "Ill do it."
The following day Atlak packed what he could and walked away from his hut, meeting up with Tallic in the same place as the night before.
"I see you are ready, then we will waste no more time, come Atlak and let your training begin."
"What do you mean by training?" Atlak asked. Tallic stopped walking and laughed. "Young Atlak, your whole life you are training, every action you do, every mistake you make, you are learning and becoming stronger. The journey will only make you stronger, so it is training, understanding this Atlak continued on. After a while another question burned its way into Atlaks mind. "Tallic, where our we going?" Once again Tallic laughed at this. "Mellor was right, you do ask a lot of questions! I am going to show you the world.
"Thats a little vague dont you think?"
"Nonsense!" Tallic replied, "Although if you would rather go somewhere else, I will be happy to follow you." Atlak thought about this, and coming up without at answer nodded his head and continued on.
Many days later Tallic and Atlak came to a small village, although something was strange about this place. After some investigation, they realized that there was no one in this village, dead or alive. Tallic finally broke the silence, "One thing is for certain, no one left this village intentionally. There is still food in the houses." They continued searching the premises of the village, but to know avail. Finally Atlak heard a small noise underneath a bed in one of the huts. Atlak looked below the bed and found that a small Unarran was underneath it. "What happened here?" Atlak asked in his most soothing tone of voice. The Unarran seemed to be in shock, and made no response to Atlaks voice. Suddenly it started shouting, "A band of Tyrusins are here, A band of Tyrusins are here. They are not with the Tyrusin government, they are bandits, everyone run!" As quickly as the Unarran had started up, he had returned to silence. Atlak was still registering the information when Tallic stepped in. "A group of Tyrusin bandits. They must have come in and kidnapped the whole village, but why?" "One things for certain." Atlak said, "We must help them."
Finding the bandits camp was not difficult, for Tallic had a very refined ability to track things. When the finally got there they where overwhelmed. At least fifty Tyrusin warriors where in the camp, performing very tasks. In the center however was a cage, which held the entire village population. Atlak and Tallic where shocked at this sight, and immediately decided how they where going to rescue them. There answer came by in the sheerest of luck, for as they where plotting a group of Pikatan where going by. Tallic immediately leaped to his feet, "Come Atlak, we will tame these Pikatan and use them to destroy the camp." Atlak thinking he was joking laughed at this. "It is no joke young Atlak, it is the only way we are going to be able to rescue the villagers." Atlaks face turned serious, "This may be true but there is no possible way we can tame this Pikatan." Tallic sighed, "Well with an attitude like that; look if we focus all our energy on them we can do it." Not wanting to argue Atlak nodded slowly and followed Tallic to a place that overlooked the now pacified herd. Together they joined hands and walk down the side of the hill they where standing on, and straight into the center of the herd. Not a single animal stirred, and with utmost confidence Atlak placed his had on one of the Pikatans head.
Atlak stopped and looked around the campfire, all eyes where on him. "What happened next?" Someone cried. Atlak gave a little laugh, "Well my friends, Tallic and I did it. We succeeded in taming all the animals, and we led the heard of Pikatans to the camp. When we got there the Tyrusins where so frightened that they ran off." "A Tyrusin&ran?" Another asked. Atlak once again smiled, "Yep, we released the villagers and told the Pikatans to return to their duties. "How did you tame a herd of Pikatans in one day?" The rest of the campfire also agreed that this task must have been impossible. This time it was Tallics turn to respond. " The Pikatan is a sacred animal. It is sacred not because of what it does, but because of what it is. The Pikatan our equal to us, as do they reflect us. If we recognize this relationship, then surely they do to. All we did to tame them was treat them as equals to us. I did not command the Pikatans to come with us to the Tyrusin camp, I requested that it did. And low and behold it did." The campfire flickered, and with that Atlak and Tallic got up, and without saying a word left the campfire, and all its attendants in awe. "So where do you want to go now?" Atlak asked as soon as they got out of view. Tallic pondered that and said "You lead, I will follow." With that Atlak gave a little laugh, as both of them walked off into the distance.