Dimar.org  

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 14

     The refreshing tingling of the Water in the central pool awakened him, as the war healer and two Dimar that had carried him in let him go over the softly glowing green pool beneath the southern Spire of Telka. He fell in with a splash. The active cells quickly went to work on him as he let himself sink, patching the remaining membranes of his left wing, forcing the muscles to release their contraction that had pulled the shattered bones across one another and through his punctured skin. A healer leapt off a ledge above and dove smoothly into the water, drifting down to where he lay at the bottom of the pool to oversee the setting of the spar bones and to numb his pain. The healing process was excruciating at first, but, as Luuko knew from many visits to this very pool, the pain would soon subside and the glowing tingle of newly generated tissue would replace it. His wing would be more sensitive for quite a time, but eventually, his awareness would adapt.
      He sighed, letting out a torrent of bubbles, and let his tail drift lazily from side to side as the active cells made their final repairs to the work started by Tara back on the tree. Well, at least I get to come home and enjoy my usual swim in the Water, regardless of the shame of my defeat. Comforted by the familiarities of home, he lapsed into a deep, dreamless sleep as the Water swirled around him.
     
      The sunlight filtered down through the murky green Water, forcing Luuko to open his eyes. Spreading his wings, he gently rose, calling the Wind to carry him through the thick liquid to the surface. He blinked against the sunlight, and turned to question the healer on duty. How long was I under, honorable barrydmate?
      Four days, Luuko. Quite a while, but no record, I'm afraid. Your colony 'mates have been asking for you, but the Great Mother would still not let them near the healing pools. The healer sounded irritated.
      She still does not trust them to respect the Water? Why did she bother to take them in, then. Luuko dragged himself onto the wooden overhanging root that served as the side of the pool and shook the water out of his underfur. He hopped into the air above the main pool to check his reflection, and to his dismay, each injury was marked by glaringly greenish-white scales. He had a ring around his tail, and a double ring around his neck, as well as a long band running off his left wing and into the membrane. He might have the nila for some cosmetic healing, but that would mean another day lost in the pools. I always either have nila, or time, but never both. Frustrated by both his injuries and the enigmatic decision of the Great Mother not to allow the colonists into the Water, he growled. There were still a half dozen other Dimar in the pool completing their healing. Despite cosmetic setbacks, he had been lucky. With nila from the next Mirrai festival, he could always come back to have the scars erased later, and have his older scars tended as well.
      She'll eventually have to let them use the Water. They suffered severe losses, and many deaths occurred because the litas just don't have the capacity that a full pool does. The healer's mental tone was troubled. Luuko caught an image of humans and betas laying outside the barryd, suffering through a long slow healing process outside of the pools. For many of them, death would be preferable at this point to the treatment we can offer with the litas.
      Did you see this colonist in the healing rooms, 'mate? Luuko projected a clear image of Rakal, nervously preening a wing as the healer recalled.
      No...he was not among those I worked on, or in the rooms to the south. You should take to the air and see if he's in the residence halls. Those who survived the battle unscathed were moved immediately into their new quarters and are now training to fight the last of the fires before the rainy season starts. The healer flashed pictures of the long, leaf-lined vine-beds that had been set up in some of the smaller unoccupied residence rooms. They are an industrious lot, the colonists. Especially the furred ones. They pour over the barryd and poke their muzzles into every open door. It can be...frustrating.
      Arrallakeeni love new things, 'mate. If our world was not considered highly advanced by them, they would not be so curious. They are in awe of us, and want to learn as much as they can. It is more an honor. When you can teach your healing arts to them, you may feel differently. Luuko tried to help him see the Arrallakeeni as people, and not as the flat, animalistic images the healer had projected with his complaint.
      The healer just shrugged, and continued filling litas for the injured.
      Luuko took to the air again, and rose through the southern spire to land at the residence levels. He could tell from the musty smell that there were Arrallakeeni all over this level, but he was still too tired to reach out to find Tarrin and ask about Rakal. He ambled down the hall, poking his head into each room to find an appropriate Arrallakeeni to ask. The floors of every residence room were strewn with litas, cooking implements, seeds, shelter seedlings, and equipment from both the colony and Telka itself, and hundreds of furred bodies piled through the wreckage, exploring each item in turn, discussing back and forth in a cross between excited Arrallin and English speech.
      "Excuse me. Where is Rakal?" He strode into one room that still had enough space for him to stand comfortably. A white faced Arrallakeeni with brown speckles poked up from a jumble of papers and drawings, and pointed out the door and up toward the central spire. Before he could even offer his thanks, the little face disappeared into the pile of notes, purring absently as it worked.
      He strode off, rumbling happily that the new residents were making such an industrious effort to learn about the barryd. Trotting to stretch his still-sore muscles, he made a running leap off the residence hall platform and rose smoothly toward the firewatch platform. Relieved, he could make out the familiar forms of Tara, Tarrin, Rakal and the Great Mother and her acolytes all resting in the shade of the blossom spire. Calling out a warm greeting to them, he swept in to land.
      "We are going to have the ceremony, and that's final. All honor and grace to you, Great Mother." Tara's brows were furrowed with consternation. Luuko warbled with concern - they had all looked so comfortable from above. He called to Tarrin to find out what the problem was.
      Seems the Great Mother doesn't want us to perform a common and celebrated post-battle ritual that we have. Says any celebration of Mulkai tradition in this barryd is forbidden. She's being pretty tough about it, too. Tarrin sounded annoyed more than concerned, leading Luuko to conclude that this was another of the Great Mother's attempts to test the resolve of the two colony Leaders. Telka did not have a formal ban on the celebration of Mulkai teachings, they just chose not to reward particularly warlike actions to discourage in-fighting among the youngsters of the barryd.
      "You will do no such thing beneath the sheltering branches of Telka, Leaders Tara and Rakal. It would cause pain to the spirit of the gentle Telkai. It would be an insult to our traditions of non-violence." The Leader's English was flawless - she had been practicing! Luuko flashed her a greeting, suffused in appreciation of her language skills.
      Tara countered angrily. "HA! If what I saw out there is an example of your non-violent nature, I'd love to see what your war-mongers are like." Tara turned and openly glared at the massive purple female. The Leader just hissed. Tara was not impressed, and continued. "Your people fight well, and you defended us at great cost to your own lives. That should be rewarded - not as an act of a military appreciation, but of appreciation for the bravery and fearlessness you all showed for our sake. I'll hold it at the site of the colony when the fires die down, but I will hold it. Discussion closed." Grinning to Rakal, she muttered, "Upidstay uzzyfay-izzardlay."
      The Leader's eyes narrowed, and Luuko could sense her fury at being unable to understand their jokes. Tarrin caught her feelings clearly too, and moved back a pace.
      Rakal half-smiled back, but seemed lost in his own problems, unwilling to speak. His tail swept along the ground under his branch-bench, pushing along the dry leaves that lay scattered around the platform.
      Tara rose stiffly, refusing to look at the Great Mother as she walked toward the edge of the platform toward Luuko. "I've got a colony to look after. Thank you for the lovely talk." She kept her eyes focused on the distance, and her back to the Leader. "Luuko, it's good to see you again. Want to come and get the grand tour of our new quarters?"
      Luuko warbled happily - he had not lost face in the eyes of the Leaders of the colony, despite the fact that Tara had had to save him from the Mulkol female. She looked genuinely glad to see him. "Sounds fun. It would be an honor, Leader Tara." He dipped his shoulder, letting her climb aboard.
      The Great Mother's rebuke almost caused him to lose his concentration as he lifted them both into the air. Do NOT let yourself be seduced by the alien colony, Luuko. They are far from true barrydmates, these Leaders. Her hostility was tinged with desperation. Luuko was puzzled, and looked forward to seeing why the colonists were causing her so much insecurity. Without answering, he flew north as Tara instructed.
      They cruised along slowly in the clear air, conversing as they skimmed in and out of the canopies and smaller spires that comprised the roof of the barryd.
      "Thanks for taking me off that platform, Luuko. I mean no offense, but I wanted to punch your Great Mother right in her fuzz-covered nose for a while there. She's a mother, all right." Tara patted Luuko on the neck with one hand, keeping hold of his mane with the other.
      Luuko struggled to understand Tara's colloquialisms. "She's a mother, yes. Is she more of a mother because she disagrees with you? Why are you both so..."
      Luuko struggled for the right words, but Tara completed the sentence with a laugh. "Argumentative? Impossible to deal with? Uncompromising? Stubborn?"
      "Yes. But I mean that in a good way." Luuko wiggled his ears and rumbled amusedly.
      "It's just that I know she has no reason to keep us from giving our awards of valor. She's just doing that to see if she can get my goat. Tarrin researched the feasibility with five different acolytes before we proposed the whole party in the first place." Tara slammed her free hand onto her thigh, but retained a comfortable grip on Luuko's mane.
      "Get your goat? You have many goats still. Give her one." He wiggled his ears again, hoping his joke would amuse the distressed Leader.
      "I wish it was that easy, guy. I really do. She could have the whole darned herd if she'd just lighten up. Oh...there - see that platform with all the betas on it? That's the top level of the main complex. Down below," she hesitated sadly, "are the healing rooms. We took some heavy losses, I'm afraid, and the Water is working slowly, if at all."
      Staying level, Luuko made a neat landing on the crowded platform, disheartened by the eerie cries of the mourning Arrallakeeni on every level. "How many did we lose?" he whuffled to an Arrallakeeni he recognized from the colony building team who was wailing with the others. He paused and went nose to nose with Luuko.
      Tara slid off his back onto the springy wood, "Out of 764 colonists, we now have 520. Most of those lost were either in the south field, trying to preserve the fuel reserves, which blew, killing the lot of them, or they were in hovercars or along the north and west faces doing ground patrols. These fires are unnaturally fast and explosive."
      "Did the Mulkol kill many?" Luuko wasn't sure if he wanted to know the answer.
      "Heheheh...not as many as they'd have liked. And they took no prisoners, we can proudly say, thanks to the excellent counter attack you and our forces together were able to make. They weren't expecting such resistance from us, I'd wager. Firefighting, we're not so good at. War, now THAT is where we excel." Tara smiled up at Luuko smugly.
      "What did you use to repel them? What were those stars I remember?" Luuko looked around cautiously. It was obvious that the colonists were from a strong Mulkai tradition, and such open pride in Mulkai arts was discouraged. Mulkai skills were something to be learned because they were required only. They were not a celebrated art.
      "Our water cannons aren't water cannons at all, Luuko. They were originally meant to serve as multipurpose-purpose high-powered propelling systems, for drilling, or for pumping water, but mostly they were meant for combat. We take whatever we can't use, melt it down to plasma with a superheater, and blast it at whatever comes our way. It's not as good as a dedicated plasma weapons system like our plasma rifles, but they'll do in a pinch, and they convert quickly from one use to another. Because we had only been using them for water, the Mulkol had no way of knowing that they were actually weapons. We sure surprised them!" Tara grinned widely up at Rakal. He shuddered, remembering her face as she had found him on the canopy top. She was Mu.
      "Tara, I have a question." he proceeded slowly, not sure how to breach the subject with her. He followed her down the hallway past large chambers lined with supplies, or cots and personal belongings of both Arrallakeeni and humans together.
      "Mmm?" She turned into a more formally appointed room with a small stained glass mural on the inside wall. "This is my place. Not bad, eh? I only have to share it with three other people and one Dimar." She flopped down on her woven vine-cot, that had been hastily coaxed to grow out of the barryd wall. The smoky, half charred remains of her morrak slippers were tucked neatly under the cot, much as they had been at the colony.
      "Are you Mu? Do you love war?" Luuko nervously preened at his injured right wing with his broad, flat tongue.
      "Me? Naw... I have been trained since I was young to fight, and I do enjoy the thinking part of a battle, but death has never set well with me, and injuries bother me even more." Tara amended, "Not injuries to me - that I'm fine with. But injuries to the people in my command. Those are the most disturbing. Most of our folks aren't fighters. I'm one of the few, but they'll do whatever it takes to see this mission through."
      "You enjoyed killing the Mulkol female that was defeating me?" Luuko used a curious tone, not an accusing one. He did not want her to be defensive about things. It was much harder reaching a non-Talent once their walls went up than it was mind-speaking to another Dimar or colony Talent.
      "Yeah. I did enjoy that. She was going to kill you, a member of my team, and in such a gruesome way! I enjoyed removing her from the gene pool." Tara chuckled. "Humans will fight like mad dogs to save their own, and I haven't shied away from a battle yet. It must be some weird parental instinct in me. Everyone in the colony is one of my own."
      Pride welled up in Luuko. She considered him a member of the colony! He remembered the Great Mother's rebuke, and wondered if the two barryds would ever form one cohesive whole, as Rakal and Tara's groups had. He would encourage them to work together, and perhaps, one day his two families would finally consider themselves one.

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