Monday, October 29, 2012


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Power and cable are out. I am posting a low-bandwidth text entry for now. Until!

Chax scanned the sky over the Kollen and watched the Khirriks as they fluttered with translucent wings over the updraft of moist air from the Kollen's upper vents. Now and then, one would descend rapidly, hover outside one of the vents with rapidly beating wings, and peck at the crust that accumulated at each vent. If it succeeded in prying a piece loose, it was immediately set upon by the others, each of whom tried to grab the morsel away for themselves. The usual outcome, as far as Chax could tell, was that all of them lost their grip on the gelid chunk, which then fell to the dirt below to be instantly snapped up by a Gerrv in a swift uncoiling strike.

Chax snorted. It must be horrible to live thus at the edge of desperation, scrabbling for scraps to survive. He glanced back at Aun, who was still performing his ritual, mouth open and eye glaring, frenting rod pointed to the sky. There was a shine in the air around the rod's terminus, but as of yet it was still faint.

Time slipped by gently, and Chax studied a Khirrik that now hovered at the lowest vent. His body felt ready to go. He could clearly see in his mind's eye just what combination of leaps would propel him up the Kollen's side and launch him in a deadly curve with his claw poised and ready to strike the Khirrik from the sky...

He restrained himself. He was by no means certain that he could either make the jumps in good form or land safely afterward. He certainly did not wish to make Aun's effort useless. It would be important to know whether Aun could accomplish this task... The solid reasons circled in his mind, but still his hunger pressed on him, firm and constant. Chax paced about, striving to channel his urge for swift, vigorous action.

At length, Aun straightened his back and the shine of the rod grew stronger. The rod itself seemed to be taken by a skyward force, and it directed itself towards the Khirriks, apparently pulling Aun's body along with it. Chax's eyes sparkled, and he turned to watch the skies over the Kollen. He saw a Khirrik pause in the middle of probing a vent, fall slightly, flap hard to regain its position, then fall again, until it tumbled away from the Kollen's side and saved itself by angling into a steep dive, then spreading its wings to pull up into a soar that took it parallel to the ground. It strove to fly up again, but it seemed compelled to bank repeatedly, keeping it flying in a wide circle with Aun at the center.

The circle grew gradually tighter. Each time the Khirrik neared Chax, it fluttered wildly and tried to fly away, only to be pulled back into the wide circle. Chax soon realized what was happening, and moved to place himself outside the circle's range, so that the animal, when fleeing from him, would also be flying closer to Aun. The plan worked, and the Khirrik's bumpy circle became a slow spiral with Aun at the end.

Aun was almost floating in the air by now, and the rod shone bright, causing glints in the Khirrik's shiny carapace and gleaming in shimmering trails in its wings. The Khirrik arced one last time, spread and flapped its wings to dissipate momentum, then settled gently to the ground before Aun, folding its wings and croaking gently.

Chax grinned and slowly crept closer. This would be the easiest kill he'd ever made.

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