Sunday, March 6, 2016

11: What the lizard saw

Kurga landed in a heap, getting the wind knocked out of him and sucking in a mouthful of sand in trying to retrieve it.  Large paws pulled him upright and brushed him off, putting the rifle back into his hands.  “You look more or less intact,” Amis kept his voice down.

“I could have handled jumping myself,” Kurga sputtered.

“I’ve no doubt.  And I’m sorry we missed the peculiar joys of trying to find each other in the dark, maybeit another time.  Can you walk?”

“My head is pounding.”

“Will it affect your feet?”

“I don’t think so.” 

Amis hoisted him up one handed and practically carried him along till he found his stride.  They ascended the nearest dune, the wind energetically trying to undress him, then down the other side into some relief.  Across the trough, plunging up to their knees with almost every step in the shifting sand.  And up again.  Wind.  Trough.  Slough.  Climb.  ‘Captain Rayjay couldn’t have dropped us closer?’ Kurga groused in his own head.  Wind.  Trough.  Slough.  Climb.  Amisbhake roughly forced him to the ground at the next crest.  The indignity of the treatment was overcome by his relief to finally stop running.  Several weeks on a boat had done nothing for his conditioning.  Amisbhake pulled something from his bag and released what appeared to be a salamander.  It scurried over the top of the crest and was gone.  Amis then lit up a flat sort of lamp.
“What is that?  Klust!  It can see in the dark?  You’re looking through the lizard’s eyes?”

“In a manner of speaking.  It’s a legionary spytool.  The “lizard” is artificial and yes, it can see in the dark.”

“There!” Kurga pointed at the screen.  “That’s Ch’loi, gods, she reads that book whatever she’s doing, doesn’t she?  But what is that next to her?”

“That,” Amis whispered, “I’m afraid, is what she came here for.”

“What she… but what is it?”

“Her own kind.”

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