Aun pried gently at the thin web of strings that supported the egg cluster. He was trying to take only one egg from each, but the clusters in this Kollen were unusually sparse and hard to locate. If Aun had been rather more callous or clumsy (like a certain Oistrem that he knew) he could have severed all the webbing from several clusters and finished his harvesting some time ago. As it was, he worked with delicacy and caution, lifting one thread at a time, and pausing frequently to make sure that the drones were otherwise occupied. Most of them were busy with the smashed blister, which Aun deeply regretted, though he was grateful for the occasional cooling breeze that made its way through the hole.
As he worked, the long chain of recriminations and complaints that ran through his mind (and occasionally escaped to be muttered aloud) grew more tenuous, and as he managed to free the next egg he was almost ready to admit that Chax might have been performing his vandalism and mayhem in good faith. Aun found it hard to believe that one could learn anything about a Kollen without also discovering the least intrusive means to enter it, but Chax did only have an Oistrem's education. And while the method was perfectly safe, since the Kollen sought only to ingest dead matter and would not set its grinders into anything that still moved, Aun could see that perhaps, to an unknowing outsider, it might appear foolhardy to leap into such an enormous maw.
Aun set the egg between his feet and used a sharp corner of the handle of his frenting rod to bore a tiny hole in the casing. Fine gray dust sifted down the sides as he worked slowly; haste might crack the egg. On his fortieth turn, a hissing noise escaped the hole and Aun pressed one hand over it as he brought out a tiny scrap of prepared mlierd bark and pushed it through the hole to start the conversion. The hissing changed to a discordant bubbling and a black sticky fluid seeped from the hole. Once the outflowing foam had dried and plugged the hole and the egg had desiccated in the open air for a day, it could be crushed to release its beneficial dose of eluctuant when needed.
Aun bundled the egg into his pack, stood, and looked around for Chax, who was supposed to be scouting for more egg clusters. At first he saw no sign of him. Resisting the urge to yell, Aun tried looking higher and higher, and eventually spotted Chax at a height convenient perhaps for Khirricks and Oistrem, but dubious for a Strasmin with little in the way of climbing gear. Eni might find it an invigorating challenge...
While parts of Aun's mind acknowledged that he might owe Chax a word of explanation or an apology for his brusque behavior earlier, these parts lacked the momentum necessary to entirely overcome his ire and pride. Hence, Aun merely called up to Chax in a tone of polite inquiry. "Any luck?"