Chapter Sixteen

VALOUR

As Methiyal climbed down from the Karapoti tree, a large noisy party of his fellow Kern gathered around him, pleased to have their friend back (and a great excuse to hold a feast)! Raising both hands, he warned them with a gentle but firm voice to keep back. Puzzled, the crowd stood quietly, allowing Methiyal to speak.

“Don’t come near me,” said Methiyal, his voice tinged with sadness. A terrible thing has taken place, of which I must warn you before I depart.”

Selial, his very best friend, stepped from the crowd. “Come, my friend; let us join in the great hall as is proper, there we will discuss this matter as friends should.”

Tears welled up in Methiyal’s eyes as he looked across at Selial and the others. Knowing he would never again see them or the hall of his beloved Gnarl crushed his tiny heart “I could wish for nothing better, but it is impossible.” Turning so they could see his neck, he warned them. “I must leave quickly least this befall us all.”

The Silth on Methiyal’s neck was still quite small and hard to see. But the eyes of the Kern are sharp, and they could soon make out its form. No one spoke, which was proper.

“I have been to a terrible place with a son of man named Melkaz. I fear that place was the Tear in the Sky.” The crowd gasped in disbelief.” I know not where he is, but you must avoid him and the world of men at all costs.”

Mezalhath, a teacher of the protocols, was so stunned by what Methiyal had said that he improperly broke the silence.”But why would you do such a terrible thing?”

“The story is long, but I must go. Just stay away from the world of men.” His sense of grief was so overpowering that Methiyal had to leave before he broke down.” Turning his back on everything he loved, he scaled the Karapoti tree and climbed onto the back of the Shrike. While he had been speaking, she had transferred the glowing items from her mouth to the uppermost branches of the tree. Methiyal’s eyes were so filled with tears that he failed to notice them. With a trembling voice, he asked the Shrike to take him back to the portal. As she soared into the air, Methiyal peered down longingly at his beloved Gnarl. As it faded into the distance he set his face like flint, bracing himself for the bleak and terrible future, he knew lay ahead.

When they arrived at the gate, Methiyal received yet another shock; the gate was closed, completely blocking the portal. Never in the history of the worlds had this happened. Fortunately, there were seven gates to the World of Men, but the next one was a long way of, even by Shrike. Methiyal’s terror of infecting his world was so great that he impatiently urged the Shrike on to the next gate. When they arrived, he discovered it too was shut, as was the next gate, and the next, until after three long days, he had exhausted all the gates.

When they finally arrived at the last gate, they were both weary and had no option but to rest up for the night. Methiyal tucked himself into the depths of her wattle, yet despite its comfort, he didn’t manage to sleep a wink. He knew his knowledge of the Silth was fading and was terrified that he would soon forget its existence entirely. He was trapped, and the thought of the great danger he posed to all that he loved made sleep impossible. He spent the night wrestling with his mind as he sought a way to deliver his world from the terrible threat of the Silth.  The dreadful answer came to him just before daybreak. At first, he rejected it out of hand, and frantically sought another way to solve his terrible dilemma. However, by the time the sun rose, he knew it was the only option he had. To do otherwise would destroy everything he so dearly loved.

With the sun streaming down on them, the Shrike wriggled with pleasure as Methiyal gave her a gentle massage. Knowing this was the last time he would ever feel his worlds sun on his back, or smell the beautiful fragrant air of its forests, filled Methiyal with a crushing sadness. It was with a heavy heart that he climbed onto the Shrikes back.

The Shrike was overjoyed when he asked her to polch back to the Stovall Gnarl. Eager to get underway she leapt into the air with Methiyal seated on her back. The brave little Kern drank in the beauty of the world he so loved as they swiftly gained altitude. All too soon the air temperature plummeted, forcing Methiyal to take one last look, before retreating into the warmth of her wattle. It took them nearly half an hour to reach the edge of space, and it was the shortest half hour of Methiyal’s life.

Surrounded by the blackness of space, the Shrike folded her magnificent wings and dived towards the pristine world below. Deep inside her wattle, Methiyal’s eyes filled with tears, as all the wonderful events of his life rushed through his mind. Rapidly gaining speed, the Shrikes scales glowed with intense heat, and a massive trail of sparks streamed behind her. The Shrike was having the time of her life until she felt Melkaz moving from the sanctuary of her wattle. There was nothing she could do, as to flare her wings at such terrific speeds would have ripped them from her body. The Shrike was a massive fireball as Methiyal thrust himself out from the safety of her wattle. The fervent heat instantly vaporized both Methiyal and the hideous Silth, leaving not so much as a trace of either of them. When the Shrike finally made it back to the Karapoti tree, it was with a broken heart.

 Death had visited the world of the Kern. Only she would ever know what truly happened to Methiyal.

But God was watching.

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