Hunting the Gorgan

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Chapter 2 – Hunting the Gorgan

1112th Storm of the Salenthi Torrent –

1st Galactic Step

The Basin of Kaskt

Drakwen

Epsilon System

It took Schalba two Storms to find the Gorgan.  Two long and blustery Storms, where the wind wailed and rain hammered down relentlessly.  She had travelled far, far away from the safety of her tribe, across unknown terrain in search of her prey.  The Gorgan stood at the edge of a small pool of rainwater and it was totally oblivious to Schalba’s presence.  Yet best of all, there was no sign of her brother Sharshb in the immediate vicinity.

Sharshb had disappeared almost as soon as the Hunt of the Necristoe had begun.  The hunting ritual had been led by both Sire Ceedis and Matron Cilista, which made the ceremony seem so much more surreal because both adults were visibly in attendance.  Schalba and Sharshb had been granted a feast of some of the finest necrotic flesh that Schalba had ever tasted.  While they ate, the attending shlasers pirouetted, elongated and rolled around like ripples on the surface of a puddle.  Then Ceedis had sung a song in a voice that made Schalba’s skin shiver and twitch as the unusual insect tones resonated through her body.

An elder shlaser was etching the details of the hunt onto the Gosht Shalesi history tome.  The tome was a giant slab of steel, which was part of Ceedis’s carriage that was pulled by ten of the biggest Kalgs.  The elder was writing with his hooked tail, inscribing the event in the looping circular language of the Draknai.  The concentric spheres told the tale of when two were ready to hunt, but only one prey could be found, so a great contest was held and the winner was….  The sentence trailed off for the winner was yet to be decided; somehow, Schalba could easily envisage her name at the end of the passage.

Then the mind of the tribe had spoken, Schalba heard in her head a great many stories all being told at once.  Stories of how every shlaser in the tribe had completed his or her Hunt of the Necristoe.  Then with very little warning Ceedis had silenced the chattering and declared that, the rain was thinning and soon the hunt would begin.

A procession had then formed around the siblings and the adults as they moved out of the caves into the damp drizzling rain.  In a cage at the edge of the cave was the Gorgan, which was now fully awake and glaring at the Draknai with fiery enraged eyes.

“When the rain stops,” Ceedis said haltingly in Schalba’s mind, “the Gorgan will be released and chased away.  Then the hunters will hunt!”

The misty rain continued to fall for what seemed like an eternity, until eventually it stopped.  Sire Ceedis gave the command and the Gorgan was freed, it roared a terrible roar then turned and fled into the rocky wilderness of the Basin of Karst.  Schalba had been a little awestruck by the opening rites of the hunt and sound of the Gorgan, which slowed her initial reactions and let Sharshb gain a massive head start.

Schalba used her incredible sense of smell to detect the fleeing Gorgan and she bounded after it as fast as she could.  The Gorgan smelt sweet and sweaty, yet it also seemed to exude a feeling of overwhelming confidence in that it could escape the hunt unharmed.  Using its powerful limbs, the Gorgan had soon pulled ahead of Schalba, and Sharshb was nowhere to be seen, leaving her all alone in amongst the gently glowing rocks.  Then as she had moved further away from her tribe, the connection to their shared consciousness had begun to fade and Schalba’s mind was suddenly empty for the first time since she was born.

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