Chapter 1: Pursuit
It was a crisp morning. No movement to the east, that's where I saw them last. I didn't think they still existed. As far back as anyone could remember, the Academies provided a place for them to harness their savage nature. Yet here I was, running for my life through the forest. They must have picked up my scent near the lake, where I had been camping for the last three nights. If I'm lucky, I can leave this cave and make it to BellBour Village by nightfall, if I don't run into any more of those Tigrens.
Liotoch slowly inched himself out of the cave, listening for the slightest indication of pursuit. He sniffed the air, and when he was sure that the ‘coast was clear,' he ran off through the forest, heading west to BellBour. There he knew there would be a safe haven waiting for him. The Tigrens would never follow him into civilization, they were rumored to hate settlements.
"We shall see," he thought out loud.
Some distance from the cave, Liotoch noticed a blam-bird hopping about in the trees, no doubt searching for some tasty fruit to feast on. It had been many hours since Lio had eaten, as if running for his life allotted time to think about food! He hadn't seen ‘hide nor hair' of the Tigrens since he ducked into that cave early this morning. Lio decided that since he wasn't in any immediate danger, that it wouldn't hurt to climb the nearest Stig tree and help himself to a sample of the delectably sweet fruit. After all, if those Tigrens had tracked him, he'd be relatively safe up in the branches, since the Tigrens were too bulky to climb trees.
The rage flowing like a river, their senses keen and sharp as razors, the Tigrens plowed through the forest like a battalion of tanks, uprooting bushes and snapping branches effortlessly. The pack often hunted separately, increasing the chances of survival, and decreasing the chances of being discovered, but not this time. A Carcalian had entered their territory, degrading the sacred forest, like the others have done planet-wide. They send a few at first, then thousands come, tear down the forest, suck-up all the resources, and destroy the serenity. This could not be permitted to happen, not again, not ever!!!
Fruit from the Stig tree, called yellato, has a hard, outer shell that cleaves quite easily when bitten with one's canines, yielding a very sweet and juicy pulp and one small seed in the center. The seed, when crushed, can be made into baked goods, or a golden dye for clothing. As I was taking my first bite, I heard pekalls in the distance, taking to the sky in droves, as if being spooked by something –
Crashing and smashing sounded in the distance. They had found him!
"I have to go now!" he said, in utter fear.
Leaping from branch to branch, he scurried like a squirrel, trying to get a ‘running' head start. If they caught him, he could end up as dinner and a left boot. These Tigrens had already killed his shaklow and had eaten it raw. They were definitely not to be messed with!
"Wait! Shut-up you oafs! I hear something!" said Denzcan.