Khraga, part three

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Arthur stared at the over sized furniture around him. It was a place for Khraga not humans. The round hall was huge as well, almost like an ancient stone church. This was, however, not a religious building. It looked more like a fortification of some kind. A citadel perhaps. Symbolic decorations lined the walls, but Arthur saw no pictures. It reminded him somewhat of an orthodoxly decorated Islamic building, but the symbols here were hard and angular rather than the smooth forms he remembered.

He turned his attention to their captors when a harsh voice called Gring forward. She obeyed, and when she finally stood close to the three other Khraga present in the hall he saw how small and fragile she looked in comparison to them. She didn't wear any of the heavy armor they sported, only a leather jerkin not much thicker than his own. In their dark armor their captors stood as tall as a soldier in a body walker, and they looked almost as invincible, but for once Arthur knew it was only an illusion. A body walker would tear through them in an instant. He'd like to have one now. Wistful thinking. He'd wanted adventure, and now when he was in one he longed for an easy solution out of it.

Too soft, we've grown too soft. Always knowing that you can call for help doesn't do much for initiative, does it?

He drew a deep breath and sighed again. As if he could take any initiative now.

Then there was something in the air intruding on his mind, and when he saw Chaijrild cringe and throw herself to the floor he could feel the panic spreading through his body. The fear causing scent had to be deliberate. This time he was better prepared than he had been in the Roadhouse, and centuries of genetic engineering on Earth had made previously impossible feats possible. Arthur drew a deep breath, willed his body to obedience and with a controlled amount of adrenaline pumping through his body he took a defensive stance and glared at the armored Khraga with what he hoped was a defiant stare. Of the tiredness and hunger there was nothing left. He wasn't surprised when he was awarded a look almost amounting to shock and disbelief. He wanted them to see resistance, and it mattered little if it was wise or not. Arthur wondered what he would need to do to look even remotely as menacingly as the Khraga in their black leather. Grow another meter, to begin with, and then?

Facing the warriors he saw they didn't look like three copies of each other. None of them had the jet black fur covering Gring. Dark brown with different shades of gray were shared between two of them, and the third had a reddish tinge to his black making his fur look perpetually dirty. Kharg, he wasn't as black as Arthur first had thought.

He met an angry growl with one of his own. He wouldn't back down now, not when his adrenaline filled body was strong enough for him to punch through armor and ribcage if need be. Slowly, very slowly, Arthur calmed down and studied the three warriors in front of him. He assumed they were males, but what if Gring just happened to be a dwarf among Khraga? The thought of a hairy, giant dwarf made him laugh despite his fear, and his amusement drew a growl from another one of the three.

I am literally laughing in the face of my enemy. Damn, it feels good! To hell with precaution! Elation brought even more mirth to him, and he could hear his laughter carrying a tone of confidence having little in common with the desperation he ought to feel.

Well done, little one. You carry yourself with great honor. I'm proud of you.

He could hear the voice inside his head. It had to be Gring. So, mindwalkers had more tricks up their sleeves than just making translations unnecessary.

Arthur continued laughing until the seriousness of their situation came back to him. He might feel better now, but things hadn't improved for anyone but him. Maybe a little. Chaijrild wasn't curled up on the floor any longer. That made him feel good as well. He wasn't totally useless then.

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