Table of Contents
Lost Waters - Chapter 33
Luuko barely noticed Olitar as she left
the formation. The seed was so eager to grow, it took all his concentration
to keep it from sprouting right there in the air. He kept coaxing it to
focus on flying, but it was like trying to argue with a newly hatched
child. It didn't communicate in words, but what it wanted was clear.
Down Down Down Down
Up Up Up Up, Luuko would answer, keeping
Down Food Down Food
Up Up Up Up Luuko would answer in the
He grunted, swearing he'd never have any
part in shelling children. He just didn't have the temperament for it.
He could see the landing site below, and thankfully, when Olitar returned,
the Wind had picked up considerably. The giant pod drifted down on a strong
course toward the rich soil in the clearing. It would take hours to completely
bury the pod, allowing it to root, and after the long flight on a still
tender wing, Luuko wondered how they'd manage.
Just over the site, Luuko changed his tune.
The pod was ecstatic, leaving Luuko with a warm feeling inside.
Down Down Down Down Down
Yes. Down. Slowly Down. Food Down. Slowly
Down he answered. Its relief and his were mingled. He wasn't sure who
Tawny yellow light flooded the clearing.
It was fully morning now. He couldn't hear Olitar or the others, but he
could feel they were there helping him. He was in a kind of guide-stupor,
so close to the energetic pod.
It hit the ground in the south part of the
clearing, bouncing lightly as it released the sail. Crackling sparks emanated
from it, as tender white shoots burst forth from the pod's underside,
greedily churning the soil. Luuko scratched at his sides with his hindlegs.
They itched terribly, probably from the water treatment's final work.
He dug around the landing spot, instinctively knowing how to avoid the
ropy white shoots that the pod was putting down. Kicking up soil to cover
the pod, he felt more rested and happy than he had the whole trip. It
was finally happening! This pod, my pod, my barryd, is finally safe in
Happy. The pod answered. Or had he said
it? Luuko wasn't sure.
He felt the cold soil with a paw, wondering
how the tiny pod would fare putting down this many roots so close to the
freezing season. He'd be sure to cover it well, perhaps even grow a shelter
seedling around it so it wouldn't be totally dormant during the cold season.
They would be fine.
With the pod thoroughly coated with a hand's
depth of soil, Luuko sat back on his dirt-encrusted haunches to survey
his work and scan his new home.
The first face, and she was beaming from
scaly ear to scaly ear, he saw as he became aware of his surroundings,
was Olitar. She trilled a high approving tune.
Behind him, he could see Mason, Malik, Genar,
Torula, Sebam, and the others in the guiding party. They were all excitedly
talking between each other but they stopped and just trilled when he looked
As the wind picked up, his eyes focused on something else quite amazing.
Hanging from every tree where silks of various barryds. He padded toward
one tree and sniffed experimentally. It emanated an unfamiliar scent.
Olitar pointed toward the pod, but didn't approach it. He felt something
bumping his pod! It registered as a tickle on his hindquarters, causing
him to kick out his hindfoot.
He galloped back to the pod, inspecting
it's exterior. Silently, he crept along the base of the mound, stalking
whatever it was that was thumping against the other side. Defensive rage
welled inside of him.
"How dare you touch the growing barryd!
It needs to root undisturbed." He had never felt this way about anything.
Rounding the edge of the mound, he leapt forward, roaring, landing on
all fours to face the invader.
Tara glared at him, arms crossed. "You might be the new Leader for
this Barryd, bub, but I'm the headmaster. This is my seed too, and you
darn well better welcome me in." She poked him in the nose, but couldn't
keep up the angry bit for long.
"TARA! You're alive!" Joyously,
he scooped her up in his muddy arms, spinning around on his tail.
"Uck!" was all Tara could manage.
"Hey, don’t get me all dirty. I've brought guests." She nodded
over her shoulder.
Luuko dropped to his hindlegs, and eyed those assembled.
He blinked, and gently set her down in the
soil. A conglomeration of Leaders like he had never seen were arranged,
silkless, around the seed. V's of Dimar, marked with different silks,
streamed in from all directions bearing packages of gear, food, structures
and all manner of supplies he had expected to go without.
"Thank you!" Luuko bowed to the
large white Dimar he only knew from rumors and history lessons. It was
Elakolul, one of the wisest and strongest of the farming Barryd leaders.
"We are here to help you, E…?"
The white one tilted his head curiously. "What is your designation
for this city?"
Luuko looked at Tara, and back at Olitar,
who only shrugged. They'd been so busy planning, they had no time for
a name. Mahrmar. Everyone has forgotten her, but I have not. Her ways
are part of this Barryd now. Luuko whuffled wistfully. His mother's true
name had been Sida. Sida had been a talented and fiery dancer and Tinar
fighter in her youth. She'd passed her skills to him, showing him secrets
of the Wind. Sida taught him the wonders of the Barryds and the Plan.
She had prepared him well for this day, even if she never could have predicted
"Esida." Luuko sat up proudly.
Tara nodded her approval, and patted him on a muddy shoulder. She tied
the mudstained blanket of winestained green and white that had been her
wrap to one of his horns as an impromptu silk, and stood back to admire
"Leader Esida, of Barryd Esida. Please
welcome your new charges." Elakolul motioned to the guide group.
Luuko tilted his head curiously as they
came forward, and fell to all fours as the realization hit him. I am Leader!
I have to accept Olitar, Mason, and the others into the Barryd, or they'll
be homeless. Freia and Karti have already released them from Mulkol and
Telka to take residence with him! I am Esida first, the founding resident
of the new Barryd. He stared down at his muddy paws in disbelief. This
was more than he'd hoped for even in his wildest dreams!
Olitar came forward, lowering her scaled
head down to his forepaws. Gently, he touched the base of his chin to
her forehead, chiming the traditional song to join her to the pod. He
closed his eyes as her essence mingled with the pod, and him. When he
opened his eyes she glowed with a blue light. Luuko's hatred for the Mulkol
melted away as she became part of the Barryd. She was like Tara – resourceful,
understanding, loving, altruistic. At the same time, she was fierce, competitive,
proud. A powerful contradiction, but dedicated to her purpose.
One by one, the guide party mingled with
the pod, welcomed by Luuko through the same ceremonious greeting, incorporating
their skills, views and preferences into his own understanding.
Finally, he came to Tara. Welcome Lady Tara!
Child but not a Child you are. Come to me. He chimed out the traditional
But she declined, "I am a member of
Esida Barryd, and it will know me over time. You know me well enough by
now, Luuko." He could feel her relief at being free from a constant
influx of Barryd feedback – free to be just a human again, and he nodded
Leaders, working in the mud like muck-room
conscripts, assembled shelters and prepared food, dancing and singing
long into the night. Reeling from the confusion and labor of his day,
all Luuko could do was lie across the Pod mound and hum, watching his
new home appear around him.
Happy. He thought, imagining the years to
come. There was no more pod voice. It was only his. He was Esida, and
his people would guard Dimar.