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Savak: The Search - Part Five


by zephandolf

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The two Lupes traveled in silence until midday. The salty scent of the ocean merged with the jungle scents as the ravine finally opened up. Savak relaxed somewhat as the canopy overhead opened to let in the sunlight. The world around him was less crowded with trees this close to the shore. It was still not the plains, but it wasn't thick jungle either.

     Savak perched himself on a boulder, looking over all the brush and ferns that lined the bottom of the ravine. What he saw made him smile.

     "There's the shoreline," he said. "We're almost there, Heysha."

     "Good," the Lupess replied, rounding Savak's boulder. "Then maybe we can get a bite to eat."

     Savak smiled again. "They should have food there, if I know Gerthen. He wouldn't let us show up without a meal to give us. Come on, we should get there any minute now!"

     Moving at a swifter pace, both Lupes followed the side of the ravine until it flattened out onto a sandy beach. Here, Savak lifted his nose, searching the air currents.

     "Huh, that's odd," he said. "I don't smell anything."

     "Maybe they didn't go down to the beach," Heysha suggested.

     "Maybe. Let's go inland then, see what we can find."

     They padded up the beach back into the jungle. After a little searching, Savak finally caught the scent of a Lupe. It was very stale, and he couldn't tell who's it was. But it was a Lupe, nonetheless. They followed the scent, which led deeper into the jungle. The further they went, the stronger the scent became. Then Savak began to grow suspicious. A number of other scents began to mingle with the Lupe scent he smelled. He couldn't quite place it, really, until Heysha piped up.

     "Lukas?"

     "What?" Savak asked, turning around. "Where?"

     "He…I smelled him, right here." She prodded the ground where she stood. Savak sniffed the spot. It was along the trail he had been following. It was one of the scents he had detected with the Lupe scent.

     "A Lupe scent," Savak mumbled to himself. "And Kougra…And I think that's Techo…" The fur along his spine rose as he recognized a fourth scent. "Chia? Natives!"

     "What?" Heysha asked just as Savak bounded off along the trail. She called after him, "Savak, wait!"

     Savak ignored her. Something was wrong. He couldn't be sure, but he felt that his pack was in danger, if natives were wandering in large groups like this. And if Lukas was with them, it was probably a safe bet that he and Heysha had been tracking his captors all this time. Then another scent reached him. Blood. Savak started running harder. Now he knew something was wrong.

     He broke into a clearing, stopping dead in his tracks. A yellow Lupe was on his side on the other side of the clearing.

     "Kosek!" Savak gasped, running to his side. He was covered in scratches from nose to tail, and there was a large gash on his flank. "Kosek, what happened?"

     Weakly, the yellow Lupe lifted his head. His voice was strained as he uttered a single word, "K…Kougras…" then laid his head down again.

     "Kougras?" Savak stood straight again, looking around. He scented the air, trying to catch any fresh scents.

     "Savak!" Heysha bounded into the clearing and padded over to the white Lupe. "Savak, he's hurt! We have to get him to a hospital!"

     Savak shook his head. "How are we going to move him?" He looked to Heysha. "He'll be fine for now. Those scratches aren't life threatening." He looked at the gash on Kosek's flank. "Looks like the bleeding has already stopped. There's not much else we can do for him."

     Heysha looked from Savak to Kosek, then back again. "Well," she finally said. "I'm going to see if I can get some water."

     "Don't wander too far," Savak called after the Lupess as she disappeared into the jungle. "I don't want to have to rescue you again."

     When she left, Savak took a moment to search the rest of the clearing. There was clearly a struggle here. The ground was scuffed everywhere. The scent of Lupes and Kougras was everywhere, along with a few scents he didn't recognize at all. There was the occasional speck of blood, but not enough to make Savak think anyone was killed. This brought great relief to the Lupe. The pack was still alive. Maybe they would assemble here tonight, if their attackers didn't capture them.

     After sweeping the clearing, Savak returned to Kosek. The yellow Lupe stirred slightly, trying to raise his head. "Lilia?" he mumbled. "Lilia, where are you?"

     "She's not here, Kosek," Savak said, sitting where the Lupe could see him. "Neither is the rest of the pack."

     Kosek shifted himself into an upright position. "They took her?"

     Savak shrugged. "I suppose so. Just one thing, though: Who are 'they'?"

     Kosek sighed. "Island natives, I suppose," he said. "Kougras, Chias, Techos…they all wore bamboo masks, and I couldn't tell one from the other. We were badly outnumbered. They struck without warning, or provocation. I don't know what got into them. In the middle of the fight, I lost track of Lilia…A Kougra attacked me, driving me out into the jungle. He gave me that gash on my flank before I managed to chase him off. The fight took a lot out of me. I managed to limp back to the clearing, only to find that it was empty. Gerthen, Jessie, Lilia…they're all gone. I don't know what happened to them."

     Savak nodded slowly as Kosek finished his story. "Don't worry," he said. "We'll find them. It will just take a little time. If I can track their scent here, I can track it almost anywhere."

     Kosek stiffened as he looked at something behind Savak. "You may not have to," he said.

     Slowly, Savak followed Kosek's gaze to find, standing on the other side of the clearing a large group of natives, just as Kosek had described them. Kougras, Chias, Techos, and a few Lupes. They all were wearing bamboo masks. You couldn't easily tell one from the other aside from their fur and skin color.

     Before Savak could do or say anything, the natives surrounded them. Kosek picked himself up, unsteady with his injured flank, and stood by Savak. Savak just remained where he was, trying to sight a leader among the natives.

     Then one, a red Kougra, stepped out of the group, walking over to stand directly in front of Savak. They stood there for a moment, eyeing each other, until the Kougra reached up and lifted his mask. Savak gasped when he recognized the apologetic look he saw on the Kougra's face.

     "Lukas!" Savak gasped.

     "I'm sorry, Savak," the Kougra said, throwing a punch that rendered the Lupe unconscious.

     * * *

     "Savak," said a soothing voice. "Savak, what are you doing here?"

     Savak opened his eyes to find himself in a world of clouds. He had been here before, but not for some time. It was Jearii's sanctum, the place where he had first come to know about the power of the medallions. Rising to his paws, Savak turned to see the light faerie standing over him.

     "What am I doing here?" Savak asked. "What do you mean? Don't you control how and when I visit this place?"

     Jearii shook her head. "No, not all the time. How you first came to this place is proof enough of that. I didn't even know you were coming then, just as I didn't know now. But something must be wrong if you're here."

     Savak nodded. "I suppose there is. But I don't know if its related to my mission or not."

     "Oh? What do you mean?" Jearii asked.

     "The…the island natives have captured my pack," Savak said. "Or, at least I think they have. They've captured me anyway. But…why is Lukas with them?"

     "Who's Lukas?" Jearii asked.

     "He's a friend of mine," Savak said. "He helped me find my pack before. It's not like him to kidnap people though. I don't understand it."

     Jearii shrugged, sighing. "Well, I suppose you will have to figure this out on your own," she said. "But before you go, I do have one thing to tell you." She reached for the medallion around Savak's neck. "Through this, I can feel the presence of the Medallion of Submission. I felt it when Kaylee attacked you, and I can feel it now. Kaylee is close, Savak. Find her."

     * * *

     Savak awoke with a start, bumping his head on a bamboo rod just above him. He quickly realized that night had fallen over the jungle. The moon overhead was beginning to wane, and the starlight was brilliant. Looking around, Savak soon found that he was in a small cage made of vine and bamboo rods, suspended high in the air from a tree by even more vines. Looking down from his dangling prison, Savak could clearly see a small village, illuminated by torchlight, and filled with a number of natives. As he watched them, Savak began to wonder exactly what they had in mind to do with him.

     "Savak? Savak! You're awake!"

     Savak looked out the side of his cage to see another dangling next to his. Inside sat Jessie, who was looking both relieved and worried.

     "Jessie!" Savak exclaimed. "What are…The natives brought you here?"

     "Yes they did," Jessie said. "All of us. I'm fine, and so are Gerthen and Lilia."

     "What about Kosek and Heysha?" Savak asked.

     "Heysha is well, I'm told," Jessie said. "Kosek is wounded though."

     "Yeah, I know." Savak sighed. "Jessie, what's going on?"

     Jessie shook her head. "I don't know," she admitted. "None of us do. Lilia says there is very little knowledge about the natives."

     "I know exactly what's going on," said a melancholy voice behind Savak. Savak turned around to see, in another cage dangling from the tree, the very shadow Lupess that was the very focus of his quest.

     Kaylee!

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Savak: The Search - Part One
» Savak: The Search - Part Two
» Savak: The Search - Part Three
» Savak: The Search - Part Four
» Savak: The Search - Part Six
» Savak: The Search - Part Seven
» Savak: The Search - Part Eight



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