|Biography||30 Lott||Nakhanibha yla Mabharl 975 A.T.||1,398|
Scene: Tcir dul Caerta, Zisdhalilci
Date: 30 Tos. 961 A.T.
As the pair watched the three remaining archeologists and ethnologists go from the remains of one building to another, one of the pori had been in one place for quite a while while the other two had come and gone between several buildings. Mik went to investigate. Inside he found no pori after asking several times, but a rustling of rocks and metal that would not subsist.
Suddenly, a creature much larger than Mik shot forth from the ground, causing the young avoc to flee. “ALHICJ!” Mik was shouting while running back to the pori. “What is this?!”
A strange face was adopted by the molten man – one which Mik had not seen before. Alhicj began to backpedal towards the crater before mustering an answer, which did not seem entirely directed at the avoc fleeing the beast. “Daekoiz! Run!”
The three remaining pori quickly scrambled together, trailed by the diminutive Mik and now two of the large daekoiz. Unable to catch up with the pori, he quickly scrambled up to the top of a building, only standing a couple meters higher than the daekoiz on its hind legs. Both of the creatures continued to chase the pori around the largest vent in the center of town, seemingly buying time until Mik could figure out how to defend them.
In a rash burst of confidence, Mik jumped off of the building and landed in front of the pori, motioning them to continue running and to get on top of the building he came from. Quickly, he pulled his double voulge out, attempting to slash across the face of the first daekoiz he met. Unsuccessful, he began backpedalling while he pulled out his two pistols, firing them off as quickly as he could. This startled the creature enough to force it back on its smaller hind legs. Mik took this opportunity to thrust at its plated underbelly, staggering it backwards into the other daekoiz. Both tumbled into the crater and let out terrible shrieks as they burned alive.
By the time Alhicj and the other two pori had climbed down and caught up to Mik, he had been watching the magma slowly rise up the vent. Alhicj saw it too, and was alarmed. “It is time to leave. Most if not all of the auxiliary vents are full of cooled magma, and the daekoiz falling in seem to have stirred the chamber.”
“How long do we have? Also what were those things?”
“I am untrained to make that assessment. Come, I will explain.”
“Where are we even going?” Mik was confused, but complied nonetheless. He trusted Alhicj. Mostly.
The pori responded first by pointing at a lone ray of light poking through the mountain that surrounded Tcir dul Caerta. “That shaft of light is likely why we—pori—have not yet died in this main chamber. We must climb.”
“How are Poria at climbing?” Mik was fairly adept at climbing, but this angle would be rough, hanging nearly upside-down at certain spots before reaching the exit.
The three pori were in the process of melting the plates on their hands, which now looked more like the amorphous hands of a Kettlah. “We can make our own ladders in the wall.” And almost sensing his apprehension, continued. “You will be fine.”
As the magma began to audibly bubble and hiss with the dissolution of the daekoiz, another pair emerged from the ground. Now sprinting, Mik demanded answers from Alhicj, who was the only pori keeping pace with his pace.
“Have to know now – what are those things?”
“Daekoiz live around volcanic ven—”
“Alhicj! The research journal must be delivered!” The third pori was falling behind, as Mik looked he was noticeably dimmer, the volcano’s magma had not responded well within his body.
“Do not worry!” Alhicj produced the journal in the hand he had not removed plates from before quickly returning it back amongst his garments. Turning and running again with Mik, he continued. “Daekoiz can hibernate for hundreds of years, keeping their rock plates tight to their body to retain heat, and open them again when they are awake. Like Poria, they consume molten material to survive, but they cannot touch it. The insides of their bodies are much tougher than the outsides, which is why they prefer smaller pori, who they can eat whole.” As they reached the side of the mountain, the two remaining pori had fully molten hands and feet, thrusting them into the side of the mountain much like how Mik would climb a glacier with ice picks and pointed boots in Pale Shores. Well, if he wore boots.
“Don’t you have any sort of defense against them?” Mik now climbed in their indentations along the wall. They were right, this was no problem at all for him. Still, he kept his head turned, watching for the Daekoiz to follow them up the wall.
“Not particularly, other than pori gifted with some of Porrair’s more explosive talents. This is one of many reasons Poria no longer live this close to volcanos.”
“You don’t? What’s the difference between Tcir dul Caerta and modern Poria cities?”
“Several hundred meters, lava refinement factories, and buildings built to withstand creatures of such size. In addition, daekoiz do not normally travel outside of volcanoes. They live in dormant or barely-active volcanoes, and are forced to flee when it is nearing eruption, so their presence in pre-modern Poria cities was used as an early indication of an impending eruption.”
“So you don’t have anything to kill them?”
“It is hard to kill them. As a species we are generally opposed to unnecessary violence generally, so we have not developed any weaponry for this scenario. You need not look behind you to see if they follow. If a daekoiz wanted to chase us, they would likely burrow through the side of the mountain, run up the much easier outer-slope, and burrow back in where we are.”
“Great.” Mik instead looked up at the hole in the side of the mountain, which was now close, but not close enough to soothe his anxiety. “I just have to worry about a giant monster digging through a mountain I’m climbing from the inside and eating me.”
“You will be fine, as you are not made of molten material. They likely would be unable to detect your presence through rock as you do not exude enough heat.” Alhicj looked down at Mik past the other pori and then back up. “We are not far now, we must climb only a couple minutes more.”
Just as predicted, within a few minutes they were climbing from the mountain, and after a few minutes more they were near the top, looking over the mountain at their camp on the other side. With no pirates in sight, and Astran beginning to disappear over the horizon behind them, the now-trio began their journey back to their ships. It would be an hour’s journey. Just as long as they had taken from the ships to camp, but this time they could walk faster without that equipment, which made up for the increased distance.
Shortly after most of the light from Zisdhalilci faded, the two pori went into their ship, disabled the electricity and Mik got on his. Shortly after detaching the metal cable, that too was returned to the research vessel, and Alhicj came out carrying something small. He motioned for Mik to come to the railing of his ship. Once there, the pori tossed the small item with a good amount of force just over Mik’s head, where with a jump and outstretched arms he was able to grab the item. The familiar jingle of Lott in a pouch greeted Mik as his hands closed around the coins, and he walked back to the railing.
“So now we’re even?”
“No. You saved me again and we are paying you for it, so I still owe you from last time.”
“Help me look for The Resistance then. We’ll be even.”
“Unfortunately for you, I have to return to our research institute immediately with this data. When I can contact you, your ship will have a beacon. I remember your frequency quite well.” With that, Alhicj bode farewell and returned to the ship, which took off rather quickly.