Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Gedd Chronicles: Chapter One

Apparently Adam didn't get the memo that nobody cares about Gedds.


Chapter 1

Earth Date: approximately 2,100,000 BC, (Lower Paleolithic)
Yeerk Date: approximately Generation -1,600,000, late-cycle
Gedd Date: Tails curling mountainside

I was born as the Sky-Beasts' tails spiraled upward, intertwining. It is a good sign. A strong sign. The wise one of our clan says that I have good, strong eyes, set far apart on my my face. That I may some day take a job as a circler, scanning the edges of the clan, to make sure no one is out of place. Or a watcher, viewing from afar to check for any beasts that may wish to prey upon the center of our clan circle, where we keep the young and the elderly, where we are weak. Both are honored jobs, they say. I ought to be proud, having been born when the Sky-Beasts were feeling so favorable, they say.

Sometimes I feel proud. But right now I do not particularly care.

It is early morning. Starting from the outer rim of our clan circle and continuing in an inward spiral, we are being awoken. I am young, but I am fit and strong, so now I am an near the outer rim, only a few layers away from thee watchers and defenders. And so, being up before most are awake, I steadily nudge myself over.

I receive some rude looks, but fortunately replacement is not so rare as to attract undue suspicion. I arrive at my destination just as the wise one begins her reading of the Sky-Beasts' tails. We are all supposed to be at attention for such importance, but as I said before, I do not care. I am finally standing next to her.

She was born as a Sky-Beast's tail swooped downward and sliced a brush apart. And unusual sign, certainly, though not necessarily a bad one. And she is beautiful. All this time, I have been trading positions, bribing my way through with the finer worms I find, or even deliberately setting myself backwards, all so I could have a chance to stand next to her. I should know better, but I am young and stupid.

As I near her side, a single twitchy glance and an aside movement of her forearm is enough for me to know that my attention is not unwanted. Right now the Sky-Beast's could strike me down where I stand and I would not care.

Speaking of which, the wise one finishes her reading, and the circle begins its movement yet again. This day is following a long rain, and so the ground is soft and food is plentiful. But at such times, the beasts of the ground will be on the watch for us, so we must remain vigilant, even more so than usual. This has been drilled into all of us, since an early age, always check sky, ground, and sides. Always be watchful. Or else the clan is dead.

In retrospect, such a day was not the best to have missed the wise one's reading, so right now I should be cautious and careful as to not miss my step. But right now my head is just too full of wonderful thoughts.

And it is clear that my head is too full of such thoughts, as the group comes to a sudden stop, and I practically trip over her. I begin to check if anyone had seen, but it seems there are more important matters. A watcher's call! The loud bellow sounds from my far right, and the group circles in that direction to see. And as I strain my eyes forward, I can make out the narrow spines of a beast crouched in wait in the tall grass of the rightward valley.

Immediately, the circle forms a phalanx, defenders moving to the forward position, their club-like forearms swinging in front, as a barrier for the rest of us. Her father is one of them, the scar visible on his forward shoulder where he was once struck by a poisoned blow that would have killed or crippled most. He is enormous, just as the rest of the defenders are.

Fortunately, it seems that they have readied themselves before the beast was expecting, and we are at the advantage. Charging forward, they shove it with their forearms. The beast tries to scramble forward on its six legs, but quickly looses its balance on the soft ground, and topples backwards down the hill. The defenders are quick to finish it off before it can right itself.

It is then that I get an idea. Likely a bad idea, but still an idea. With a beast killed, the watchers will need to check forward for any more, and the wise one would need to perform an additional reading of the Sky-Beasts' movements. And with all the commotion, I should have plenty of time...

I decide to go for it. And with amazing luck, it appears that she has had the same thoughts. I clasp her grasping hand in mine, and we make a break for it down the opposing side of the hill, into a small valley, where hopefully none will spot us.

What joy! What excitement! I have never felt anything like this before, and everything is just going so wonderfully.

We make our way down into the valley. It is almost perfect! We are totally alone, outside of the circle's view. The only downside is the small pool of worms, gurgling nearby. Unlike the hillside worms that we dig up to eat, the waterborn worms are covered in a thick slime, and are little good as food.

Still, privacy is privacy.

I reach forward my grasping hand to caress the side of her face, and promptly trip on the mud, falling backwards into the pool.

All goes dark.

I awaken some time later, back up-top the hill, with the clan now surrounding me. My first thought as my head starts to clear is to look for her, and I do spot her, only to have her shrink back behind her father. The pain in my head is excruciating. I cannot tell whether I had hit my head on a stone by the pool, or if her father had perhaps banged me up a bit afterwards in anger. It is hard to think straight right now to determine.

The wise one comes to examine my head, and determines that I am alright, and sure enough, my head soon begins to clear, and I make it to my feet. There is a ringing sensation in the back of my skull, but I seem to be alright, and it soon fades. But things are not the same as before.

It soon becomes apparent that I am being shunned. Where I once held a position near the outer rim of the circle, I am now stuck in the near center, like some sort of helpless infant. Worse still, they have taken her and placed her in some foreign section of the circle, far off enough where I cannot even tell her direction. This is my punishment for running off on my own, for compromising my safety, and therefor the safety of the clan.

Eventually we continue our migration. I try my best to remain helpful, bringing food to the sick and the elderly, in hopes of showing that I can still contribute to the clan, but I fear that I will never again be allowed near the outer circle. I have shamed myself, and potentially killed my future in the process.

We travel for another day and a half, bringing ourselves to another hill. This region, the wise one states, contains a scrub with a thick root that is good to eat. The air here is heavy with moisture. And suddenly.

And suddenly, the pain in my head returns all at once. It is indescribable, like fire and ice and a thousand blows upon my skull all at once. I clutch my head and slowly fall to the ground. The others in the group begin to surround me, and as my vision blurs, I hear the clash of the Sky Beasts overhead, and out of the corner of my eye I see a worm slowly slide away through the grass.

End of Chapter 1.

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