The Interruption

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Chapter 3 The Interruption

1117th Storm of the Salenthi Torrent - 1st Galactic Step

The Basin of Kaskt


Epsilon System

Schalba lay on a stone tablet in the back of one of the robust old carts as it bounced along an unknown road. Where they were going, she did not know and neither did she care. All she knew was the pain of failure and the ache in her belly to taste the blood of the Gorgan that had been taken away from her by Sharshb.

The toxin in her veins was still making it difficult to move and she felt permanently sore and uncomfortable, especially every time the cart hit a large bump on the track. The vehicle she was in was different from the rest because it had a roof, thick sides and was much larger than most of the other drays. It also had a vast array of medicinal fungi, potions and other healing agents.

While it was common for Draknai to always fight to the death when they were out hunting, sometimes injuries and minor wounding did occur, which is why the Tribe of the Gosht Shalesi had a mobile infirmary. Schalba was not the first to be poisoned by the sting of a Gorgan; many great hunters had suffered the effects of the monsters greatest weapon. Which is why Schalba had been forced into ingesting swill-weed, a disgustingly woody tasting green fungus that helped to flush the poison out of her system by making Schalba sweat profusely. She had never felt so wet and so prickly before, almost like the gunge in her body was alive and trying to claw its way out of her skin.

Schalba was alone in the infirmary cart, for no one wanted to be near such a shamed individual, just in case the humiliation was somehow transferrable by the slightest touch. Sire Ceedis had refused to speak to her upon her return and subsequently her consciousness now felt closed and compartmentalised within the tribes hive mind. She had always thought that being so much bigger and stronger than many of her fellow siblings that she would become a child instantly and that her Hunt of the Necristoe would be a complete success. Never in her wildest dreams had she ever considered being refused the right to become a child.

It was her dreams that hurt the most; she slumbered incessantly in the awkwardly bouncing wagon and each sleep brought back memories of her journey back from the grotto where she had failed. First, she saw Sharshb devouring every bit of flesh off the downed Gorgan and every so often, he would look up at her and taunt her by offering her some of the beast's lovely meat. She refused and kept refusing, despite her hunger and her relentless craving to taste the beast; for her shame was too great and she would not accept handouts from her despised brother.

Then secondly, she dreamt about how Sharshb had used his tail and his pincers to make a litter out of the bones of the Gorgan. He had then rolled her unceremoniously onto the lumpy, foul smelling contraption and dragged both her and the remains of the Gorgan back to the Tribe of the Gosht Shalesi.

The return journey had been horrible for Schalba; she had just not known what to think. How were her siblings going to react to her failure? How was she going to cope with still being treated like a baby? How was she going to earn respect from her elders ever again? The feelings of helplessness and fear did not help her musings, they made them worse and she sank into a low pit of depression.

Sharshb had said very little to her on the long trip back to the tribe, this was probably because he was straining hard to pull both Schalba and the heavy bones of the Gorgan along behind him. However, the one time that he had spoken to her had left an impression on her, and his words just seemed to keep floating around inside her consciousness.

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