Torn Asunder

Torn Asunder

—A series of five short stories on the dangers of living in The Blade. Compiled and translated by an unknown Omneuttian from variations of oral traditions.


Class: Sociology
Wc: 819


Aut: Unknown
Dt: 423 A.T.
Ogn: Visage

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A pup and shani were leaving the city for pup’s first experience in the Wild. Across the lowlands from the remnant’s land the pair found themselves in the nearest woodland, in the territory of a broiska, and shani bade pup to crouch and be quiet. Shani could hear the animal climbing trees in the distance. “Broiska only eat big bugs,” said pup. “That is true,” said Shani, “but when it sees us on its land it will think we are taking its land, and follow us as we run away. Then our land will be its land.” “I am larger than bugs!” said pup and stood, moving by their original bearing. Pup screamed when the broiska pounced from above. “Shani! Why didn’t you stop me?” Shani lay flat in the foliage until the broiska had left and returned to the village. The remnant couldn’t afford to deal with a broiska.

A pup and shani overlook a valley, watching the horzab trek down from the highlands at the start of the warm season. “The horzab look docile with their fur coming apart but they will hurt you,” said shani. “But we need the fur to make fabric for clothes and other supplies. How do we get it?” said pup. “A smart shani will wait for the horzab to finish shedding, and wait for the pack to leave the area.” “That could take days! Even a week. What do we do until then?” complained pup. “We could return on the next day with more shani, but we will not. We will wait.” Pup was not satisfied to wait and demanded more explanation. “There are two reasons that smart shani waits: if one horzab is killed for fur, that is less fur for next year. I said earlier they are not docile. If we kill one for fur, others will attack, shani can die. Horzab are not easy targets.” But pup would not wait, and shani would not stop them. By the next day, there was one less mouth to feed.

A pup and shani sat on a cliff’s edge above their Remnant’s land, midway through their climb to the highlands. Pup cocked her head and said, “All those wild animals you teach me about are not so dangerous from up here. They are so small.” “It is perception,” said shani. “Not reality. You may think yourself safe on this cliff, but there is danger always. If you look around, you’ll see that we are not alone in hunting horzab.” “Not alone?” said pup. On cue, a brolyk hopped down near them from further up the cliff and squawked. Pup tried to turn around and stand to face the bird, but one foot found only air in her haste. The brolyk ran past Shani and followed pup down, gliding down to an easy meal.

A pup and shani walked through their village, finding themselves at the tallest building. Still under construction, pup noticed holes in the ground around some of the stilts that the dwelling rested on. “There!” gasped pup. “There is something in the holes.” “It could be a group of hinalik.” “Haralik?” asked pup. “No, hinalik. They burrow,” shani crouched down near one of the holes. “Like this.” “So they’re not haralik? I deal with those in the forests; they jump out of trees on me and eat at my ears.” “No, but they are related.” Pup crawled into one of the burrows with much effort as he was slightly too large. After some thought for pup’s safety, shani grabbed him by the legs and pulled. Pup was clawing inside the tunnel, trying to dig his way in and chase out the hinalik. The animals fled through the existing tunnels, and such vibration loosened the packed ground. Several tunnels gave in, and shani let go of pup. Every building falls down eventually.

A pup and shani look over the remnant’s fields of crops, walking along the river around the field. “I must learn to dive,” said pup. “I like to eat fish.” “Most your age already know how to catch fish. You will learn, but not today.” “Why not?” pup asked shani. “We have a task at hand, and I see a taruciil in the distance. The water is not safe for you.” “You’re wrong,” shouted pup as he dove deep into the water. Several seconds later he pulled himself back to the surface. “I can teach myself, how am I doing?” asked pup. He was not doing well. “We do not have time for this, swim to me on the bank, here.” Shani was not pleased. Pup swam away from shani, still struggling to tread water. Shani saw the taruciil was within meters of pup, but would not reach pup in time. The taruciil grabbed pup by an ankle, pulling and spinning deeper until the water was still. Shani still had to look through the crops for hinalik burrows.