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Dimar: Lost Waters
(you can order a paperback copy or ebook here)

Special Thanks to:
Clay Dreslough, Ian Smith, David 'Tae' Baxter, Eugene Arenhaus and Paul aka 'Draco'. :)

Table of Contents

Intro
Prolog

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33

Glossary
Dimar terms
Arrallin terms

Map

 

  Lost Waters - Chapter 4

     Luuko held his position above the ranks with difficulty. The Wind was extremely unstable this day, which made holding the fire line even more difficult. The last storm had taken out half of the third rank alone, and the worst of the fire season hadn't even begun. Whispering a silent prayer, he stretched his wings out and signaled his partner to rise. Five seasons of experience had taught him that when the leaves of the low lying trees suddenly flipped up, that a fire geyser was about to blow, and this one was dangerously close to the barryd.
     The geyser opened with violent force, spewing flames well past the top of the highest trees, which themselves burst out in brilliant yellow green flame. Luuko felt the matriarch's order, and watched five young ones sweep in to douse the trees. Ah, the bravery of youth. If only I still had that speed and energy, he commented wryly to his partner. Tewi was struggling to maintain her position in the front line of the rank, to keep those flames from drifting toward the firebreaks around the barryd, but still managed to wiggle her ears with amusement.
     Luuko maintained his position with considerably more ease, even though Tewi was five heads taller than he. His knowledge of the Wind, and having to learn to cope with the difficulty of his size had brought him quickly to the top of his flight class. He resisted the urge to whuffle with pride at the thought, for fear that it would distract Tewi. Pride leads to fireburns he reminded himself. He'd get a branding from the matriarch if he lorded it over any of his rankmates; that kind of foolishness wasn't tolerated at Telka Barryd, and it was a good thing. The neighboring barryd, Mulkol, was riddled with fire control problems because of the extreme youth of their wings, and the lack of restraint their patriarch had over their carousing. Luuko knew from experience that they were fierce in the territorial dances. He shot a glance at the tear in his right wing, and the long white scar that ran the length of his firescaled side. He'd carry that mark for the rest of the season, thanks to the dancers of Mulkol.
     Luuko turned back to his work, eddying the Wind, encouraging it toward the flames to push them back. With the two thousand other Dimar stationed all around the barryd, together they were able to generate a formidable barrier to push the fires away as they started. The younger Dimar flew fire patrols, dousing the brush as it ignited with either foam or The Water.
     Luuko watched the five fliers that had been dispatched to save the tree near the fire geyser. Four had foam lita carry bags, and one had a set of three on her back with the Water, and was marked with the banners of the honor guard. He watched as they slowly compressed the lita sacks, dispensing the foam over the seared branches, extinguishing them. The honor guard poured the Water sparingly near the trunk, rejuvenating it somewhat, so that it would not go into shock. That tree will live to see many more seasons Luuko rumbled approvingly, broadcasting to the honor guard's distant mind.
     As the fire geyser died down, Luuko and his partner dropped back into the tighter formation of his rank, and relaxed, eddied by the strength and support of his rankmates. Three more hours, and he could enjoy a short swim in the Water, and a long sleep on his favorite spire in the barryd. Some Dimar hated this season, but Luuko found it invigorating. He looked forward to taking his shift again in another thirteen hours. Ah, Wind. You and I are good friends. I enjoy your company, and your support he whispered lovingly into the buffeting energy that surrounded him, with respect and reverence. I'll never find a mate that understands me as well as you do he chuckled wryly, careful that Tewi would not hear him. His ramblings about the Wind had brought him trouble as a youth, and he had carefully lead everyone to believe that his worship of the Wind had been just a phase.
     As if to answer him, the Wind suddenly changed. Luuko shot a concerned look out across the forest, to see what the problem was. At the same time, he strained to contact the matriarch. Something's wrong, Great Mother! I'm not sure what it is... Her answer was troubled. I felt it too, Child. I have not felt anything like it...LOOK! She broadcast the image to all the ranks a flaming star, tumbling down in the far south sky.
     With the power that only a matriarch could wield, she summoned all the resting ranks, and they poured forth from every passage in the barryd, filling the sky with the gleaming sinuous bodies of over a hundred thousand Dimar. Quickly, they formed into their respective ranks, taking positions in the Line, awaiting orders. The combined force of all the ranks nearly knocked over the trees around the barryd, and pushed the encroaching fires back four hundred feet.
     Luuko listened to the Matriarch organize the ranks absently as he strained to hear a faint cry for help from the south. He hoped the young Ekal Barryd had not been hit by the meteor, but was troubled that the cry he had heard was not familiar to him.
     Rank Tinar One go to investigate with Rank Tinar Four. Luuko wondered why the matriarch would send his firefighting rank, half spent from their watch to go investigate, but was relieved to see that the Fourth rank would be accompanying them. Upon further consideration, he realized that it was wise to keep the freshest wings near the barryd, and to send the more experienced fliers out to Ekal.
     Swinging his wings slightly to generate more resistance from the Wind, he rose with his rank to take his place behind the leader. Liur raised his tail in a signal for the assembled Dimar to move out, and in an instant, they were speeding along to the southwest toward a pillar of white smoke that had begun to billow up from behind the southern mountain range.
They passed low over Ekal, bellowing and broadcasting greetings to the tiny rank that defended the seedling barryd plant as it grew into a true barryd city like Telka. Luuko saw the pride in their faces as Liur heralded them with the traditional greeting accorded to a full barryd, and felt a momentary pang of remorse for not choosing to follow the new barryd seed when it flew from the blossom spire of Telka four cycles ago. There would be other seeds, and other chances to lead a new barryd to glory, he mused, as they passed over the mountains.
What greeted Luuko's eyes was like nothing he had ever seen before. A typical meteor furrow had cut a swath through the forest jungle below, but where a stone should have been, a twisted boxy metal tree-like structure lay half buried in the rich soil. Trees around the thing burst into flame, parched from the long dry season. Swarming out of it were creatures, the likes of which Luuko had never seen. He recoiled they were mindless! He felt Liur's horror as he broadcast the images back to the matriarch, and suffused himself in the support of the mind-contact of his rank. They circled the gash in the ground, watching for any form of threatening movement from the creatures that had scattered themselves around the silver tree-thing from which they had come.
With instinctive grace, Luuko followed Liur in close as he gave the order to douse the fires that had started. Bolstered by the support of the Great Mother, and by Rank Four, they made short work of the blazes that were starting all around the twisted metal wreck. The ship had been lucky to crash in a stream bed, and the vegetation to either side of it was well fortified against the heat.
Three creatures in particular caught his eye, and the entire rank descended. These creatures had minds! Relief swept through the rank as Liur examined the three, feeling the rich resonation of their thoughts. The matriarch looked on through Liur's eyes, carefully examining the small four legged minds that huddled on the ground. Greet them, you foolish morraks! the matriarch commanded, suppressing the fear Liur and Luuko both felt.
Luuko was the first to act, as fear gave way to curiosity. Tentatively, he reached out with his mind, and recoiled as he felt the pain of the golden haired mind. His Dimar sympathy soon took hold of him, and with Liur, they quelled her pain enough for her to speak intelligently. Her...it is an egg layer, isn't it? he questioned Liur, who was picking over the memories as the little creature recalled exactly what had just happened to them. Luuko turned his attention to another of the minds, realizing that this one was in much better condition, and had been listening with rapt attention to their exchange with the golden haired mind.
Luuko regarded the healthier creature, noting with approval that this little one was much more like a proper Dimar. It's silky brown fur was flecked with white spots, and it had a long, graceful tail. All in all, it looked very much like a Dimar in the growing season, except that it lacked the strong wings and graceful neck of his kind. It's round face peered up at him, pivoting wide pointed ears in his direction. It held it's narrow muzzle open, displaying rows of white meat-eating teeth.
Carefully, he touched it's mind. ...me! Don't eat me! Don't eat me! it was repeating again and again, and he sensed that it was poised to spring and attack.
I won't eat you, friend. I won't eat you. Luuko flooded his mind with reassurances, showing him that Dimar prefer fish and plants to land-dwellers in a series of visual images. It was a bit of a fib, as Dimar would eat just about anything, but he did prefer fish to land-dwellers himself. He felt the mind relax, and begin to regard him with curiosity and wonder.
What exactly are you? Luuko queried, edging closer to the little one to catch a whiff of him.
I'm an Arrallakeeni a beta furry to the humans. The mind responded matter-of-factly as it stumbled forward to touch noses with Luuko. Luuko resisted the urge to pull back, realizing that this was a form of greeting for the Arrallakeeni, and that it gave him comfort. The creature smelled musty, like a typical land-dweller, but it's command of the talents of mind-speaking were impressive.
Greetings, Arrallakeeni. I am Luuko, of the Dimar of Telka Barryd. I offer friendship. He continued to monitor Liur's progress with the strange looking female mind, learning that these creatures came from beyond the sun seeking refuge from tyrannical forces. To Luuko's surprise, the Arrallakeeni was also listening in on the exchange, and echoed agreement to the statements and images of the female mind, adding his own images of his home, and the human tyrants, and then finally of a larger jet black beast.
With that image, the Arrallakeeni sprang up, and on all fours sprinted off into the crowd of mindless ones amassed behind them, beckoning desperately for Luuko to follow. We have to find the Arrallin we have to find Rakal! He is the only hope for the Arrallakeeni he is our only Hive leader. We must keep him safe!
Luuko started into the crowd, threading his way past the mindless humans as they tended their wounded, toward a knot of the furry creatures, who, obviously were bent on keeping this Arrallin safe as well. They fluffed out their fur coats and growled, showing sharp fangs. They ranged from speckled ones like the Arrallakeeni mind, to mottled calicos, browns, blacks, stripes, painted patterns, all with swishing angry tails, bright eyes and dangerous looking teeth. They clumped together around an unseen object, blending into one giant knot of fur and fury. Luuko put his ears forward and lowered his head in greeting, hoping that his fire-scales would protect him from any misunderstandings with those sharp fanged ones. The Arrallakeeni barked out some kind of command, and Luuko discreetly listened in on his thoughts to find out just exactly what he was telling them.
To his shock and amazement, the little Arrallakeeni was giving them a clear picture of his barryd, including details that Luuko had not included in his introduction. The little morrak had read into his mind for more details! Luuko swished his tail with aggravation. It was in very poor form to break into someone's thoughts, punishable by a month in the muck-room, but perhaps the little one hadn't known that. Luuko chuckled at his own foolishness. Of course the little one didn't know that. He's not Dimar. Perhaps where they come from, it's a well accepted practice to sneak into the minds of others. However, with all these mindless ones, I can't see how he'd manage it. He must be quite a talent to have prying abilities with no one to practice with. Well, I'll return the favor while he's getting those blank-minds to let down their guard.
Discreetly, Luuko pried further into the memories of the Arrallakeeni, learning that they, a bit like the Dimar, had a patriarchal and matriarchal structure, and that they were protecting their leader, Rakal, right now. He was one of very few patriarchs left, so they needed to protect him. Why protect him? Why not just choose another from the ranks? His curiosity lead him to delve further, and again, he suffered a shock. Only the Leaders can breed! How terrible! He withdrew quietly as he realized that the Arrallakeeni was becoming aware of his indiscretion. He could feel that the Arrallakeeni was not angry at his prying, and Luuko was greatly relieved. He wondered if the humans were also part of the Hive in the Arrallakeeni's pictures. The Arrallakeeni heard his query, and filled his mind with images in explanation, all while encouraging the defensive knot of other Arrallakeeni to let down their guard.
Luuko relayed his findings to the matriarch, who, also in very poor form, had been listening in on his exchange with the little mind without telling him. These humans seem to be quite a muddled bunch, Great Mother. Here, one group has nearly killed the leaders of the Arrallakeeni hives, and yet this bunch of humans with them fights like fire-born to save them. We'll have to be careful about them, and about this patriarch of which they speak. The Great Mother was strangely silent for a while, and absently answered him with an affirmative. Luuko wondered how she'd react to these alien visitors.
     Slowly, the mindless ones disengaged from one another, melting back into individuals, and moving away from one extremely large member of the knot. Luuko knew immediately that this was the patriarch in the Arrallakeeni's images, and could sense his personal strength, even if his mind lacked the rich color and resonance of a Dimar. His deep violet eyes matched the blooms of the barryd, and with a confident and piercing gaze he sized up Luuko. He rose onto his hind legs, muscles rippling beneath his lustrous jet-black coat, and the Arrallakeeni all had their eyes on him. Truly, this was their great leader, Luuko mused, feeling the pride from the little Arrallakeeni mind that had guided him here. The Arrallin raised a front leg, extending his clawed fingers, and then retracting them, turning his palm toward the sky. In low, guttural tones, he spoke, but the noise meant nothing to Luuko. Desperately, Luuko tried to get even a glimmer of resonance from the patriarch's mind, but it was flat and toneless. He had no idea what the Leader was saying, and just waited.
     The little Arrallakeeni was kind enough to intercede. I, Tarrin, shall interpret, Luuko. Rakal Arralla, of Hive Yenzenti greets you, Luuko of the Dimar of Telka Barryd. The Rakal requests permission to settle on your home world, and to build in peace and communion with your Dimar kindred a new future for his people.
     Luuko, in the Dimar spoken tongue answered with a formal greeting, echoing the meaning to Tarrin, explaining in his best formal speech that his request would be heard by their Leader, the matriarch, and by all the leaders of the barryds and an answer would be forthcoming. In an aside to Tarrin, he apologized at not being able to give an immediate answer on the question of residency, and hoped that this would not be considered an insult. The laughter in Tarrin's thoughts reassured him that his answer had been more than adequate, and that his worries were a bit foolish, but understandable.
     It's not often that a completely alien race dumps itself on your back doorstep, Luuko. You're doing quite well in dealing with this, all things considered. Luuko was surprised at how quickly he had become accustomed to Tarrin's voice in his mind. Already, Tarrin felt like an old friend.
     The black-coated patriarch spoke again, gesturing to the motionless form of a human on the ground. Her foreleg was bloody, and the covering on her side was rent, exposing deep wounds along her side. Luuko turned back to Tarrin, awaiting the translation.
     This is Tara, leader of the humans pledged to help us rebuild our world and our people. She is in dire need of medical help can you assist us in reviving her? Tarrin's mind was filled with worry for the human, and his fondness for her and her people was genuine.
     Luuko mused, regarding the ugly, hairless female with a bit of contempt. He scoffed privately at Tarrin's concern, but consulted the matriarch anyway.
     Great Mother, these people have wounded with them. Can we take them to the Water?
     The matriarch's rich mind-voice filled his ears. That is a good question, Child. However, it is risky to expose our treasure to them we must mislead them at this time, until we know they can be trusted. If only they had more minds among them. The matriarch's voice was tired, and Luuko realized that she had been both monitoring the fireline and all the minds of the Ranks here during the firestorm. She dispatched the entire honor guard to meet them, and echoed the order to the ranks to keep them informed. She also cautioned all Dimar against allowing the alien minds to learn of the Water, or of the Seeds, until she knew more about these visitors.

The Tomb of the Unknown Editor: Thank you for all those pages of GREAT edits. I suck for losing your email. <:|   Dimar: Lost Waters is a public domain work of modern science fiction by Dee Dreslough. Please feel free to be inspired by it, draw pictures, write stories based on it, even republish the work as a whole...it belongs to everyone! www.Dimar.org