Kriigata’s swift body sprinted south through the underbrush, of fern and prickly briar crunching underheel with every step. Taking each obstacle in stride, she vaulted over a downed trunk, as if sitting in the air, pushing off with her hands to accelerate on her return to earth. Breathing came calmly into her body through the nose with a salty tang, testiment to the closeness of the ocean to the East. As the greenery past, Kriigata recollected on the memories she’d gained.
Me, a sailor? Pff. So that’s where I learned my letters and language. No wonder Verth though I was a trash-talker...
Her heartlight was steady, hips shifting as she bounced on the balls of her feet across a series of boulders in an attempt to confuse the homing missile silently gaining ground. Through the flash of passing coastal foliage Kriigata caught the glimpse of orange keeping pace off to the left. The image disappeared temporarily as she ran through a loosely populated bamboo grove.
“Kroxen,” Kriigata chuckled in coarse skakdi and pumped her arms harder, feeling the air break against her body in exhilaration. Waiting like a fikou for victims to float by while living in the grotto had its security, but security wasn’t what Kriigata craved. The hot, musty air and cool sea breeze. The rapid exhertion of energy in a trial of destiny. The freedom to remember her past. Here, in the wild regions of the island, she could feed her cravings freely. Kriigata had left the Northern Grotto for now, along with those memories she would never record.
A feral roar rent the speeding wind as the Muaka gained lead, cut into Kriigata’s path, and pounced in a single action smoother than the ocean on a windless day. Kriigata lept into the air as the cat’s haunches tensed, her body twisting and stretching outwards to avoid the savage claws flashing past. A palm tree reoriented Kriigata’s direction as she flagpoled around its trunk, landing in a handstand that flowed into a roll. Then she was off, rigging knife gripped tightly in hand. Unabated, the Rahi gave pursuit. Birds burst from shrubs and low-lying branches in raucous protestation. Kriigata could feel the cold burn of her thighs as they reached a tipping point. Now or nilch, She thought, and threw her blade. The knife sunk deep into the heartwood of an upcoming palm as a boost up, and with a quick leap Kriigata climbed into the branches in a blur of blue and rustling fronds. Perched on top of the slowly bending plant, Kriigata unslung and readied her next form of attack. The wood hilt locked together quickly, the valves rotating into the mechansim for the blade with a puff of air and a dull *click*. Things were about to get... Messy, Kriigata noted with a wicked glint of sunshine on sharpened steel.
Down on the ground the Muaka stopped and growled, its teeth bared at her quarry’s defiance of fate. Two could play this game. Standing on her rear-legs, she gripped the palm with her forepaws and flexed, shattering the trunk in a blast of splinters and dense debris.
The Muaka let loose one more call of challenge as Kriigata fell into view, a dark spot against the yellow sun. Then they began the final dance. Kriigata skipped around the first blows. They were wild, uncontrolled, and easily outpaced.
“Is this the best you’ve got?” Kriigata jeered and swung her scythe, but her enemy bat it aside like one would a fly. These were the final throws in a dice game of fate. Kriigata figured she had a loaded game. Each moment dragged past, seconds feeling like minutes, minutes like hours. Kriigata felt the first gash giddily, taking the thin cut across her brow as she returned the favor, valves cocking back in a hiss of releasing tension as the scythe-blade laid flat against the stave. The wound bit deeply into the metallic skin of her feline foe and sprayed outwards in an arc of silver. Her bliss was short lived when the claws finally found their mark across her chest. Kriigata tried to dodge, but her body disobied and endured for a mere moment of time.
“Raxvit kur*,” Kriigata swore in skakdi as she instinvely gripped the wound, letting the cononants fuel her pain into the momentum to rise from her knees. Light cuts, Kriigata thought with menace, Only scratches. Sensing an opportunity, the Muaka lunged forwards, teeth glinting in her maw. Kriigata lept, rolling off the rahi’s back as the muaka’s mouth snapped around an after image. She landed on a knee and let her scythe reap behind, stave stopping against her back. Kriigata spun to access the damage and return her face to the fray, noting the silver trace of a countdown timer across the Muaka’s left haunch.
“But that’s not enough, is it,” She said, feeling the excitement of bloodlust pound through her veins as she bared her tattooed teeth with savagery and breathed through the pain. Smoothly shifting the grip on her weapon to a reverse position, her knees sunk in preparation for the final blow. There was a pause as the two creatures stared deep into each other’s eyes. Breath came heavily from both, the supply of air battled for by their lungs. It was end game.
Kriigata’s nostrils flared beneath the flat-contours of her kanohi. Concentrating on the flow of energy within, she felt the coiled power in her kakama as an explosion waiting to be unleashed, and with a single tap she rocketed forwards with its aid, yellow eyes leaving a hazy trail of light in the air of the darkening jungle.
Year 2, day 37 Of My Keeping
Killing a muaka cub was greater fun than anticipated. Nothing like innocents put to slaughter. Unfortunately, I lost the pelt when the mother gave chase, but the memories I will write later.
The fight between the mother and I was longer than I’d hoped. In hindsight, I expected too much of myself and used too many tecnhiques I don’t have a mastery of. I took the mildest injuries, but may have a scar or two to add to the collection. “All battles are learning experiences,” Sucogu would say. He was a proud figure. I first met him, and cherished him, as something paternal. Now I know he is nothing more than mortal. Mortals are nothing more than bags of disease and death. We rot as we walk. I know this. Each time I endure, the truth is more plain.
To think how fast relationships dwindle and despair makes me wear the smile. In one moment we are happy in our sweetness; then we find the maggot in our fruit. How decrepit and decietful is our destiny. Before my time with him (see entries year 1, day 251 omk through 350 omk), my life is hazy; smoke clouds the better part of the image. All I hear is buzzing, buzzing, bu
“Oh just shut up and DIE already!” Kriigata yelled with her head raised in annoyance as the yowls of her victim reached the apex of its insideous grating. As if on cue the rahi flopped to the ground and lay still, exposing the barren gash running across the length of its belly. Her ruminations on paper paused for the time being, Kriigata walked to her travel bag and rummaged for a bamboo flask, which she quickly filled to the brim with some of the still flowing ink of shimmering silver hue.
“There. Enough to last through distractions,” Kriigata muttered and returned to her tome, the air filling with the sound a sun-washed shank scraping against papyrus sheets and the occasional muttering of one determined to put everything she could think into print.
zzing and all around is a dark presense and a clack of pincers. I remember emotions: fear and terror are prominant, but there is a feeling of deep comfort when my memories are blackest. Why, when life is darkest, am I comforted? A summer’s day holds more warmth than what shadows may steal from my thighs, so is reality than the illusion? What constitutes my reality when compared to the dead beast I lean on? Reality exists as tangible entities. Is the shadow cast upon my face by a mask tangible? Am I myself a shadow cast by something greater? Sucogu couldn’t teach that. For all his lecturing, for all his paternal love, for all of it; he missed the most important point: we are all shadows of what who we could be.