Chapter Eighty-Six

“So what was that?”

“A remnant of a time before us.  Fyrdraca are huge, heavily armed, nearly unkillable, and always hungry.  I didn’t feel like becoming some creature’s snack.  We’ll find better hunting down the coast.  This guy might have been the last of the large animals.  Either it’s getting ready to sleep again, or it’s still working its way down the food chain.  By the end of that they’ll take anything that moves-I’ve seen one chase frogs and eat them.  Imagine a mountain chasing frogs.  You have a semi-accurate idea of one.”

“As I said, I thought we wiped them out.  But surely someone knew of that one, it’s far too big to be there by accident.”

“Yes, of course it is, and yes, someone did.  Well, once upon a time someone did.  He’s still there, and apparently fatter than the last time I saw him.  My family guarded this place, until the Harvest killed them.  We kept him as a weapon, one that nothing short of a god could stop.  If it came to it, I wonder about that, too.  Hariel, you seem quiet.  What bothers you?”

“Plenty.  How could it hide from my senses?  Irian, you’re stronger than a bear but nothing out here passes without my knowledge.  Surely I should have felt a disturbance in the feeding patterns out here…”

“I honestly don’t know the answer to that.  You’re the closest thing to the Green Man I think we’ll ever see, so if you can’t sense it, we need another way to tell where it is.  Ssanyu, what could you tell by the tracks?”  It was evident that Irian was becoming agitated by both the creature and their lack of being able to account for it.  If it was here, they were almost on top of his childhood home.  How had his parents known about it?  He couldn’t remember-the surrounding memories were too difficult.

“Large, but used to moving lightly anyway.  It’s like it’s sneaking.  I don’t know your fyrdraca, but I know something possibly like it.  We call it emela-ntouka.  It lives in lakes, but you never see it come or go, but you know if you’ve angered it.  It can kill elephants if it wants, so we would be nothing to it.  Does this sound similar?”

“Yes and no.  How does it hunt?  Claws, teeth, what?”

“A large horn on its face, with which it impales what offends it.  Its claws are worth little more than to grip the dirt when it’s out of the water, and it tears what it wants from its prey with its teeth or swallows it whole.”

“There’s a difference then.  These are much like cats hunting, if cats had six legs and were somehow able to manipulate fire.  Also if cats were as large as our ship.”

“I take it you mean the wingless ones, the ones that excel at hunting.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“Then I see why you broke off the hunt.  We should try somewhere else then.  This will make a decent night’s meal, and we need the ship’s information on what’s out there.  I think we could track it with its machines, correct?”

“I believe so.  And as I understand, your people are excellent with calculations as well.”

“We are, and we are proud of it.”

“Rightly so, I think.  Will you help me locate it?  I think I have a use for it yet.”

“Your idea interests me.  I have seen a bit of the computers of the ship, but I had hoped to examine them further.”

“Why not put them at your command?  I’ll show you what you need to know.  I think I could use another mind with some of these problems anyway.  We’ll need to hurry though, I’d rather this meat didn’t spoil.  Terrible waste of an elk.”

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 6:15 am  Leave a Comment  

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