Growing up

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Chapter 1 – Growing Up

1110th Storm of the Salenthi Torrent –

1st Galactic Step

The Basin of Kaskt

Drakwen

Epsilon System

Schalba’s earliest memory was of thunder, lightning and a searing cold rain.  She had been born in a great storm, which had torn Drakwen’s sky open and drenched the planets harsh rocky surface with a torrential downpour.  Lightning sizzled down all around the Basin of Kaskt, making the sharp stony peaks glow brightly as the supercharged ions struck them.  The thunder rumbled around the shivering crevasses and Schalba felt the tremendous force vibrate through her entire body.

As a newborn Draknai grub, Schalba’s pale white skin glistened in the rain and her clawed tail danced from side to side.  Her facial tusks were short and blunt, and her mouth fell open to reveal three circular rows of shiny black teeth.  Schalba’s senses were then suddenly bombarded by an intoxicating scent and she felt something fall down in front of her face.  The smell of decay was upon the object and her animal instincts forced her forward to feed upon the rotten meat.

As Schalba’s hunger was sated by the necrotic tissue, her sensory vision slowly came into focus and for the first time, she ‘saw’ her surroundings.  The craggy basin stood at the foot of three giant mountains, which towered up into the sky and disappeared into the clouds.  Water was flooding into the valley, sloshing down the angular mountainside in zigzagging rivers.  Upon the basin floor, many of the pointy stalagmites had luminescent fungi growing all over them, spreading over the grey stone like a contagious skin infection.  These strange sources of light made Drakwen feel like an upside down planet, as the sky was permanently dark, while the ground below glowed lusciously.

Then movement caught Schalba’s attention, her senses detected the gaggle of brothers and sisters that were all around her, writhing and squirming towards the deposits of food.  Over a hundred baby maggots wriggled and jiggled in the storm, fighting and swarming over the scant amount of sustenance.

Schalba was then suddenly butted away from her food, as another hungry child dared to try to steal from her.  Rage filled her mind, and she instinctively rolled herself up into a ball and sprang towards the hapless miscreant who had stolen what was hers.  The two grubs collided loudly and Schalba felt something sticky splash over her soft spongy skin as her short tusks bit into her rude sibling.  He yelped loudly and retreated away from the angry young girl who appeared to be bathed in a cloud of irate pheromones. Then she roared at him and heard her voice for the first time, her jaws warbled and her entire body vibrated as the noise screeched through her lips.

None of her other brothers or sisters even contemplated wresting her food from her after that exchange.  They just left her to eat in peace within her little protective haze, until the older shlasers arrived and began herding the soaking wet youngsters back inside their homes.

Schalba soon discovered that she was part of the Tribe of the Gosht Shalesi, an old nomadic community that roamed around the Basin of Kaskt, living off the dead and obeying the ancient forbidden Draknai laws.  The Tribe of the Gosht Shalesi were exiles, banished for not conforming to way of the masses.  It was said that in the early storms at beginning of the Draknai timeline, that the adults and the children lived together peacefully, which was how the Tribe of the Gosht Shalesi lived. 

Schalba’s parents still lived and roamed freely amongst their many children.  The only time the adults left the tribe was when they went to mate and they did this far, far away from their elder offspring, in an effort to preserve life.  Then once the deed was done, Matron Cilista would return bearing a swarm of tiny little maggots upon her back, while Sire Ceedis would watch closely, his compound eyes twitching back and forth nervously.  Ceedis was always wary, for the life of an adult Draknai was a dangerous one, if he was found alive by any of the other tribes, his life and Cilista’s would be instantly forfeited.

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