For the month of October we have a new character showcase.  Please warmly welcome the infamous trio as they finally make their debut on the forum! :thudstonk  :RedclawTerrified  The character showcase topic for this month can be found here.

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Also keep in mind that the forum fanfiction awards will be opening up after the appreciated member voting has been completed.  If you are interested in participating then please submit the stories of yours you would like to nominate to me by PM.  Details can be found here.

Preview of a short story

DarkHououmon

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The young alimon bowed her head. She closed her eyes as the large claw was placed against her shoulder. She ignored the sharp sting as the claw was dragged along the skin, creating a small red mark.
A while ago, I wrote a short story (no name yet) that took place before the events of my alimon story (which is still in the works). This short story, which ended up being 24 pages in length, focuses on Blackhole's past.

I decided to post the first scene, which is the first two pages and a quarter of the story itself.


sss


   “Your new name is Blackhole.”

   The alimon reopened her eyes and stared up at the adult who stood before her. Her head only reached to about the middle of his neck. She stood up from her seated position and kept her head low. She would not move until he said so.

   She could feel everyone's eyes on her. She could feel the eyes of her proud mother and father, the leaders of the pack, as she was given the honor of her permanent name. This was a right of passage. For the first time, she truly felt like she was an adult. She wanted to assert her new rights. She had earned them. If only all members of the pack shared this quality.

   The alimon who stood before her had gone silent. She waited quietly for him to continue. The ritual was not yet done. She had to wait for one more thing.

   The choosing.

   “I have spent many sun days and moon days watching you. It is hard to believe how rambunctious you used to be. Now look at you.” The alimon smiled wildly. “You have grown up to be a fine example of what an alimon should be.”

   It took a while for Blackhole to stop the warm swelling of pride in her chest. She did not want to let herself get too worked up. She knew what happened to alimons who took too much pride in what they do. She simply bowed her head in respect.

   “Based on what I have seen, I know exactly where you will be placed.”

   “What have you chosen, Browndwarf?” Blackhole asked in a silent and respectful tone.

   She tilted her head slightly up and looked at the alimon. The mentor of her pack, Browndwarf, truly lived up to his name. He was among the shortest of the pack and with scales and tall neck feathers almost the same color. Even his stripes were faded, and only a little bit of his belly was light-colored.

   This reminded her of herself in some ways. Her stripes, despite being lighter than most, were not as noticeable as others due to her scales being so dark brown, they almost blended in. Her grey underside, however, was easily noticeable.

   “You will be assigned to Icane's pack.” Browndwarf stated.

   At this, there were many whispers and murmurs.

   This reaction did not evade Blackhole. Her eyes widened and she wondered if Browndwarf knew what he was doing. To be assigned to another pack meant she would have to break off loyalties with her birth one. It was a hard decision to make and it was only ever suggested if there was something to gain from it. But she did not know if she could say goodbye to her home. She wondered why Browndwarf would do this.

   She knew the rules of being assigned to another pack. She was not to speak about her life here. She was not to tell the names of anyone. She would not be allowed to come back except with permission and an escort. Her life would begin anew. That was such the way of her people. There was nothing she could do about it.

   “I know you are shocked.” Browndwarf said. He looked down at her, his expression soft with sympathy. “But you should be proud. Icane's pack is highly esteemed. You will learn much there.”

   Blackhole knew the best thing to do was to keep quiet and let him finish. But her curiosity was getting the best of her. “What is my assignment?”

   Browndwarf pulled his head back. He turned his head and glanced at the alimons in the immediate area. He gave a proud smile as he looked back down at Blackhole. His voice was somewhat booming, loud enough to let everyone hear him. “You will go there to study to be a seer.”

   “A seer?”

   “Yes.”

   “Why?”

   Browndwarf smiled at her. “I know you may not think you are qualified for such a role.” He lowered his head and moved it close to her. “But I have seen what you can do. You are more than capable. You just need to hone your skills in.”

   Blackhole lowered her head and thought about this. A seer? That was one of the most honorable positions in a pack. But it also entailed so much responsbility. Would she be able to pull it off?

   The next words froze her and silenced the small room.

   “You will also be learning the human tongue.”

   Blackhole could feel her mouth drop open. She let this information sink in. Not many alimons knew that language. It was difficult to learn. The fact that she had been assigned to learn it meant that Browndwarf had far more plans for her than he had initially implied.

   Things had been getting rocky with their human neighbors as of late. She had recalled a recent dispute which left one human without a leg and an alimon without an eye. That had just been one of many. She was thankful that her pack had not gotten caught up in such a mess so far.

   The humans were hunters like them. This meant they were in constant coflict for resources. Her people often occupied areas too hostile for humans. But sometimes, they seem to find their way over into their territory. Communication was important. By learning their language, she would become a bridge, and her status would be ranked higher than most other alimons.

   It was a huge responsibility. She understood that Browndwarf had a lot of belief in her. But perhaps he was thinking too deeply in this? What made her qualified for this?

   “You will help aid Icane and his pack negotiate with the humans. They are in need of a new translator.”

   “But I thought that...” Blackhole did not get a chance to finish.

   “Yes, they do have one. Rootwater will be your teacher.” Browndwarf affirmed as he tapped his foot against the ground. “But she was nearly injured in her last meeting. Icane wants a second translator in case something were to happen to her.”

   Blackhole felt her stomach churn at those words. Her previous excitement for her assignment was replaced with trepidation and fear. She did not want to put her life on the line for a pack that she held no personal alliance with. She did not mind going there to learn, but if that learning put her at risk of being hurt...

   Although she managed to regain some control of herself, the cold, stinging feeling continued to plague her. She reminded herself that risk of attack was present for all translators, a fact that she had nearly forgotten about. Even if she was not to replace Rootwater, she would still need to face possible danger.

   She looked back at her parents. Where once they looked so proud and happy, now they had some hint of fear in their eyes. They were still smiling. They did not make a move to protest. She could tell that they were proud of her. They were just thinking about this with more caution.

   The other pack members were less fearful. They did not cheer, but their smiles were broader than her parents'. If they were allowed to speak, she knew full well that they would be showering her with congratulations and wishing her the best of luck.

   She tried not to laugh. Luck... She would need a lot more than just luck for this.

   “Do you accept?” Browndwarf asked.

   She looked up at him. She remained silent as she thought about this. What should she say? She had some uncertainties about this. If it had just been a relocation to be a seer, she would more likely have said yes. Despite missing her family, working with the esteemed Icane was an honor she did not dare foil up.

   But having to face humans in potential life and death situations? To be placed in such potential hostility? She was not sure if she could willingly say yes to that too quickly. She was aware of how dangerous humans could be. She did not mind occasional contact with them, like for trading and negotiation purposes. But she was not prepared to be thrown in a situation where hostile humans may be common.

   Their technological levels were similar to theirs. Only humans were a bit more cowardly. They used guns. The thought made her feel sick in disgust. But she was not a fool. She was aware of the danger level of guns. A human could shoot her down from a distance if they aimed well enough. No one would know until it was too late, unless they were lucky enough to get their smell.

   She did not want to offend her mentor. She had no desire to make the pack think less of her. Not with such an honorable, though dangerous, position. Instead of rejecting or accepting, she opted for the more neutral of choices.

   “May I think about this?” Blackhole kept her head low. “This is a lot to take in.”

   Browndwarf nodded his head slowly. “Yes you may.” He gave her an understanding smile. “I did not expect you to agree so quickly. You may have one sun day and one moon day to make up your mind.” He turned to the side, a signal that the meeting was over. “You may return to your parents now.”

   Blackhole did not say another word as she returned to her parents' side. She tried to ignore the confused and slightly disappointed expressions her packmates were giving her. She tried not to pay heed to her parents' own worried expressions. She simply sat down next to them, her head lowered. Her mind would not stop swimming with thoughts.

   She had a lot to think about.