You flash into the Faidian Grove and pocket the slip crystal. You look around warily, but the Grove is the picture of dusky beauty. You hear movement and spin to look. It is Cu, the melcey you met on your last visit.
"Jepep Fagu, traveler!" he exclaims. "It is nice to see you back again.
"Thanks, Cu," you say. The melcey appears to be in good health, and still as formal as ever. "Are you well?"
"Yes, I am," the melcey says, swishing his banner-like tail. "The season has been mild, and I have not felt ill throughout." He tilts up his head proudly. Suddenly, a loud roar echoes in the air. You wince in memory of a previous encounter and stare upwards in surprise and fear. A much larger Seeth soars above you, spinning circles. He examines you carefully before landing.
"What are you doing here?" he asks you in a gruff voice. His skin is smooth and different shades of black, like soft suede. His deep blue eyes seem to look right into you as he towers over you, an immovable mountain of muscle.
"This would be Seeth, our resident carmor. I believe you've met," Cu says wryly. The carmor smiles, flashing a mouthful of large teeth at you. "This traveler was just exploring, Seeth," Cu chides.
"That is good," Seeth says to you. "We do not appreciate poachers here." He whips his tail back and forth, and you get the impression that poachers get a little more than unappreciated if they run afoul of him.
"Now, now, Seeth, let's not be rude," a second voice says from off to your right. You turn and recognize Iladia, Seeth's companion. She must have snuck up on you while you were occupied with the carmor. You flinch inwardly-- her smile for some reason reminds you of Seeth's toothy grin. As she approaches you, you get the distinct feeling that you are caught between two predators, despite her diminutive size in comparison with Seeth. "I apologize for my carmor friend," she says. "He just isn't as friendly as our other residents."
From what you've heard, Iladia is from Faidia. Interested, you examine her more closely. Her eyes are fixed on you, and they seem to hold an unnatural glow. She stands slightly too close to you for comfort, and you get an odd feeling... like standing next to an electrical transformer or realizing that there's a rattlesnake on the path in front of you. She smiles at you, but the smile is oddly unnerving.
"Umm, hello," you say. "Nice to see you again." Iladia nods. You look between her and Seeth, feeling uneasy. "So you still live this close to the edge of the Refuge?" You ask, trying to make conversation.
"Yes," Iladia says, looking out toward the mountains and thankfully removing her deep gaze from you. "We consider ourselves sentries, protecting the valley from those who might try to poach or invade." Seeth growls softly, glaring at the mountains.
"To date, no one has been so foolish," he observes, stepping lightly on his feet. You are surprised to see such a large creature move so gracefully. Although the size of many elephants, Seeth moves silently across the ground, like a big cat. Had you not seen his teeth, you might think of him as a large, odd-looking bird of sorts.
"Indyana must be grateful to have you two as guards," you say. Seeth paces around spinning abruptly and standing tensely, watching the skies, seemingly ignoring your words.
"We've had to make adjustments," Iladia says to you. "It's often hard for carmors, especially males, to repress the urge to hunt, and I was used to living just as wild. However, we now get along with most of the Refuge's residents, and we only hunt the more common prey."
You remember Iladia talking strangely like this the last time you met. Something about her... the way she moves, the way she talks... almost as though she were... but that's impossible, isn't it? You decide to try to end the conversation as quickly and politely as possible.
"I'm sure the residents are glad to here that," you say, glancing to Cu for help. He gets the message and steps in.
"I am sure this traveler would like to go visit the others here," he points out, stepping between you and Seeth with practiced nonchalance. Seeth nods.
"And we should be getting back to our patrol," he says, looking once more to the skies. "Breathe deep, traveler."
"Fly high," you return, fairly sure that it's the right response in this case.
"Windspeed," Cu says to Iladia and Seeth. Without another word to you, Iladia jogs to Seeth and in one smooth motion grabs his wing and swings onto his back.
"Yes, windspeed," Seeth echoes. A quick leap later, and the two are off, soaring silently into the darkness.
"There are more residents now," Cu says when they have gone. "There are new melceys, a chevei, and a lorriam. Quite an interesting crowd."
"Thank you," you say, leaving Cu and heading into the Grove to meet them.
View Cu Ar'xek Nivia
Faidian creatures from Arborwin Adoptions
Iladia from Dragon Moon
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Last Updated: June 18, 2004