Legend of Me’eri – Birth of a Seeker
Me’eri flinched when she hit the ground. She had no time to consider if the wet snap was one of her bones or a twig, drenched from the morning rain. Jumping up she whirled her Ko’tan Bo around her to protect herself while she assessed the situation.
A few days ago, she led a small team of Naru hunters after they had received reports of a Forest Ghoul attacking Seekers traveling through the Door of Absence, a small passageway on Limera leading to their world’s Ether Portal. It was not the first time they encountered these foul creatures and they had devised a routine plan to track and kill it before it became any stronger.
This morning they surprisingly found it asleep. The stench of blood and entrails had made her gag. De’kon and Sha’an ran point and moved in on the creature, torches lit to set it on fire, whilst the others blocked any possible passage for the Ghoul to flee in.
Me’eri’s mouth twisted in a silent snarl when she thought of the moment of realization that the Forest Ghoul was not asleep but lurking; waiting on its prey to come closer. There had been no time to respond. By the time they knew it was a trap, the heads of De’kon and Sha’an were already flying towards them, tendrils shooting inside their bodies to rip them apart. Her hunting group lost control and blindly started attacking the Forest Ghoul.
A teardrop stung the wounds on her face and her breath became shallow. Me’eri blinked hard and swallowed. This was not the moment to mourn the fallen. This Forest Ghoul was not the usual type. It was fast, calculating. Almost as if it knew what they were thinking.
It had lured the hunters in, snatching away their torches and dousing them in batches of wet leaves. She did not think about it in the moment but looking back, it seemed as if those were strategically placed in a circle around the creature.
A glimpse of movement to her right made Me’eri swing her Ko’tan Bo to the side as she stepped away. The whistle of the staff through the morning air was a comfortable sound. As long as she had enough space to form the Ko’tan Bo Daar, Shapes of the Staff, she would be safe.
On the lower branches of the tree on her right, a massive bird perched. It stared at her, with eyes that seemed to glow golden in the half-light of the morning sun desperately trying to penetrate the forest. A voice inside Me’eri screamed at her that she should not be distracted, that the Forest Ghoul was in hot pursuit. She could not pull away from that gaze. Meanwhile, her body kept forming the Ko’tan Bo Daar as if it was one of the automatons in the storytellers plays.
The bird cocked it’s head to the right and a voice drifted into her mind. At first it was so soft, so gentle, she barely noticed it until it was done.
“Daughter of Ferana, why do you refuse your Gift?”
Me’eri felt as if she blinked several times mentally. In her chest, she felt her lungs starting to burn as she kept forming the Ko’tan Bo Daar. What did the bird mean? Was it even the bird speaking?
“Daughter of Ferana, answer me. Why do you refuse your Gift?”
Did it sound…angry? Me’eri tried to answer but she could not produce any sound. The burning feeling in her chest grew and started to throb. A small sliver of light started to trail the tip of her Ko’tan Bo whilst she was making her forms faster and faster.
Her instincts told her that the Forest Ghoul was close but she could not pull away from the bird’s gaze.
“DAUGHTER OF FERANA, DO NOT REFUSE YOUR GIFT!”
Her chest felt like it was about to explode and she roared, forming the Ko’tan Bo Daar. The staff was now glowing and connected with something that screeched loudly and seemed to catch on fire and explode.
As her roar ran out, Me’eri lost consciousness.
When she woke up, the bird was gone. In front of her lay the smoldering remains of the Forest Ghoul that had been hunting her. Protruding from its chest was the broken half of her Ko’tan Bo, a faint dying glow emanating from its core.
Legend of Me’eri – Travel Dust
Dorian spat, or at least he tried to. It felt like the last drop of moisture on his tongue evaporated weeks ago, whilst in reality, he had only left Ankrabad three days before. Why did he always end up making these runs for the Alvordis into the desert? His punishment could very well be carried out in the cool palace, scrubbing chamber pots, cleaning the stables, and feeling up the skirts of willing plump maids whilst sipping brandy stolen from the Alvordis storage. Still, every month he was sent out into the desert to look for the rarest of flowers because “they pair so well with my midnight wine,” according to his owner, one of the daughters in the Alvordis family.
He scowled at the guard’s back in front of him, a Naru Seeker called Me’eri, who the Alvordis hired for her so-called legendary resilience and skill. There were rumors she could wield Light, but you never knew what lies these off-worlders spun to get into the favor of the higher classes. Her head swiveled in his direction, and Dorian schooled his face immediately. No need to get in trouble over disrespecting a Scaley, especially one whose reputation puts her on par with royalty.
The Naru pointed somewhere ahead of them and changed direction. This had happened several times now, and he hadn’t bothered to ask why. But when he turned this time, a glimmer caught his eye.
Five hundred metres or so in front of them, a large cactus jutted up into the sky, leaving a long shadow on the floor even though the suns were at their peak. Geometrically shaped blue crystalline leaves sparkled, covering the shadow with tiny rainbow-rimmed teardrop shapes of light. On the top of the cactus perked a giant pink flower that looked as if it was made of clear glass.
This Alvordiae flower, named as such in honor of the Alvordis family, had an exterior that was firm but velvety to the touch. If cut, a sweet smell would emerge from it that was so potent that you could almost visually see golden tendrils wrapping around your head and invading your senses. He never tasted it, of course, and he could only imagine what it would taste like.
Dorian licked his crusted lips and called out to Me’eri. “There it is. Why do you lead us astray, you fil…”. The Naru snapped her gaze towards him, and he stopped talking immediately.
“My apologies, lady Me’eri” he continued with a voice as sweet as honey. “I got carried away due to this titan-cursed heat.” Cautiously he turned from her and looked at the Alvordiae flower. “Look… that flower there is what I’ve been sent to find. Were you not informed?”
The Naru swore in her native tongue, a guttural sound with some hints of a melody that left you to wonder what it would sound like if the Naru would sing. Not that Dorian cared much for the possibility of hearing Naru sing. The words that followed her cursing, however, curdled his blood.
“Fenneks are near. They have been following us for a day now.” Me’eri pointed towards the cactus with her staff and turned as if to continue their travels.
Dorian did not move. He had heard about these creatures. Dangerous animals that would drain their prey’s blood within the blink of an eye. Off-world no doubt. Nervously he looked around as if he could see them. Surrounding him, he only saw brown rock with sand heaped against it and the beautiful Alvordiae glimmering in the sun, inviting him.
He tried licking his lips again, not creating any relief on their cracked surface.
A voice in the back of his head started whispering that perhaps the Naru guard wanted to have this flower to herself, that she only took this insignificant job to lure him to his death. Yes, it made sense. Why would one of those disgusting Naru guard a human, a disgraced one at that, other than for the purpose of robbing him, humiliating him?
Dorian jumped off his ride towards the flower, but after two steps, two Fenneks casually stepped from behind the cactus; the hairs on their back upright and their teeth bared, ready to sink them into a tender neck and suck out the blood. He yelped and turned to leave. He heard growling and fighting sounds coming from where he last saw the Naru, but his mind was clouded with panic as he ran.
Tripping over a rock, Dorian fell face first on the dusty rock floor. His lips finally decided to split, and he could taste the coppery taste of blood filling his mouth. Before he was able to get up, two broad paws pressed down on his shoulders hard, making his head bounce on the floor once again.
A sickly smell of rotten flesh and carrion filled his nostrils, paralyzing him in fear. He stretched out one hand towards the blurry image of the Naru to his right, fighting off several dog-like shapes. Dorian blinked, but his vision did not clear up. A sob escaped his throat as the realization set in that this is where he would die, all because he was too proud to listen, too stubborn to accept the word of an off-worlder.
Tears were streaming down his face when the Fenneks finally tore into him, exsanguinating him, his soul fizzling out, filled with regret, embarrassment, and fear.