Chapter 4 - New Land

Tall grass surrounded the dirt path that lay before them, lit only by faint moonlight. As uncomfortable as the jagged rocks were that scattered the path, Cylor felt his body grow used to scraping across them. Vast plains spread all around and occasional sounds of insects and nocturnal birds cawed out in question as if asking who was passing through.


Over the course of the night, they stopped for breaks three separate times. Mostly due to Tynun’s heavy load. Bakkon’s were known for their strong legs, but even so, walking immense tracts of land caused them to wobble and lose strength. The group had tucked themselves in pockets of towering weeds where they found ponds and previous signs of wear. Cylor advised against staying there in case whoever was there last came back, but in the end they convinced him that it’d be fine. They only needed to stop for half an hour each time. After their breaks they returned to the well-traveled dirt path. Although it was risky, they didn’t run the risk of losing their sense of direction by doing this. Come day time, that would be another story.


Everyone tried to stay as silent as possible during the trek, making only slight noise. Even as far as keeping chatter to a minimum during their brief moments of respite. They managed to still their sounds, though Sarby had some trouble keeping his cluster off. Whenever a squall shook the plants or a bird screeched, he would shine a dull red. It didn’t seem to cause any attention however, and before they knew it, night turned to morning.


They started to breach territory they had no knowledge of. They were further out than what the peak of Twilight’s Fold could see clearly, and all they had to guide them now was the large stone structure that still stood far in the distance.


“We should probably stay off this open path now, huh?” Guile said. “Worked well enough at night when there wasn’t much going on, but no doubt some of these carnivorous species might find us easier now.” He led the group back into the familiar swish of grass blowing around them.



“Aren’t those species just a myth to keep us in Jalla…?” Cylor asked. Everyone knew the stories of the big bad carnivorous species that would gobble you up if you ran away from home, but they were told so often to children in such grandiose ways that they felt fabricated. 


“No.” Guile turned, his glaring red eyes striking fear. “We should be fine though. I hear they aren’t that common.”


Cylor took a deep breath. Sarby gulped and his cluster brightened, though it caused no significant threat to them being discovered anymore. The sun’s bright light erased anything else that tried to stand up to its rays.


“Even so, the four of us could take on a single species. That wouldn’t be a big deal at all.” Tynun walked in front of the group.


Guile scratched his head. “Yeah, sure.”


Tynun continued leading the group, and Guile set his bag lightly into Tynun’s back. The Bakkon didn’t notice. Guile prepared himself a small meal of sorts as he walked beside his new, living table. Cylor and Sarby shook their heads, but found their disapproval dissipating when the Gurden offered them a slice of his sandwich. Guile even fed Tynun, though not only until after he found out he was being used as furniture.


“I think it’s my turn to lead again,” Guile said. “I’ve got a better nose than you three.”


In silence, they followed Guile’s lead through grass towering over their heads. As they ventured further, all the plant life grew more dense, impairing their vision. They all kept hold onto each other as they walked in a single file line. As terrifying as it was not knowing what could be behind the next strand of grass, Cylor felt comfort in the way it tickled against his skin. It was as soft as his bed.


Guile came to a stop after an hour of walking. “Sarby, hop on my back.” Guile pushed the bag to the side of his back.


Sarby struggled, but was able to balance himself enough to see just above the grass. “The stone structure is still forever away. Thought we’d be closer by now…”


“Yeah, yeah, I figured we’re still a day away from that. I just want to make sure we haven’t caught ourselves venturing the wrong way in this grass. Is there anything else out there you can see, maybe another resting point with water?”


“I doubt I’d be able to see any water with how thick this grass is. Even seeing the stone—” Sarby let out a shrill shriek then dove down. “Guile. I saw one!” He tried to keep his voice as quiet as possible.


Everyone tensed up. “…What’d you see?” Tynun said.


Cylor already had an idea. Were there actually real humans around them right now? Did they notice Sarby?


“Humans.” Sarby’s cluster shot a bright beam that even the rivaled the sun’s.


“Hey! Hey! Sarby! Why is that thing so bright?! Get a hold of yourself! You need to calm down. Please for the love of—” Guile shouted, but Cylor tackled them both, pinning them down with his blubber and hiding Sarby’s cluster underneath him. Tynun brought himself down to the ground slowly, letting his legs retract back into his shell of a body. He sat, looking like a small boat full of supplies, waiting to be pushed off for transport. His eyes bored, hollow.


Unintelligible voices took command of the windy sky. Cylor’s heart danced in frantic patterns inside his chest. The strange voices grew closer. The way these humans spoke sent chills all over his body. He had never heard such evil sounding noises in his life. As Cylor sat atop Sarby and Guile, he could feel the shake of fear from his own body and underneath him. He was as still as a plank of wood. Rustles of grass beside them grew violent and new voices chimed in, clamoring all around.


Then there was silence. 


A voice Cylor could understand breached his ears.