Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 111,439,808 Issue: 182 | 17th day of Running, Y7
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Savak: The Search - Part Seven

by zephandolf


The sky grew dimmer as Savak sat, paced, and napped on his narrow shelf. He was beginning to wonder how long they would be left in the pit. Yawning, Savak felt something fall on his back. Turning around, he spotted the end of a vine dangling right in front of him. Looking up, he saw that annoying little Chia that had ridden him down the chasm last night climbing down the vine. When the Chia reached him, he looked Savak over for a moment, huffed, then set to work tying the vine around the Lupe. Savak didn't move, realizing that he was being lifted from the chasm. He didn't try to strike up a conversation either, assuming that the Chia didn't speak a word of the common tongue.

     Once the vine was secure, the Chia once more mounted Savak. A Moment later, Savak was hauled up the chasm. With help from a pair of Techos, Savak hauled himself over the ledge, and when the vine was removed, the Techos and a Kougra escorted Savak back to the village through the jungle.

     Once again, a crowd had gathered under the tree where the cages were still hanging. Savak was escorted to the base of the tree, and the Kougra remained with him as a guard. A few moments later, Kaylee was escorted over and was made to sit next to him.

     "This is it," she said. "We're finished, I can tell."

     Savak ignored her, his attention drawn to the Chia with the staff, who was walking down a path the crowd made for him. When he approached the Lupes, he was about to speak when another voice rose above his own.


     Everyone turned in the direction of the voice, and Savak's ears twitched nervously as he realized who it was.

     Having discarded his mask and the other native accessories, Lukas stood at the head of a group of Kougras and Lupes who had apparently turned against the village and joined with Lukas. As soon as he had everyone's attention, the Kougra continued. "Let them go," he said. "Let them leave the island in peace."

     "What this?" the Chia demanded, shaking his staff. "Me no let go! Them dangerous!"

     "Let them go," Lukas repeated. "I don't want to fight if I don't have to."

     The Lupes and Kougras behind him gathered on either side of him, tense in their movements. Savak could clearly tell that they meant business. He wondered if the Chia leader would give in. Unfortunately, the Chia wasn't about to stand down.

     "You want fight?" the Chia called, raising his staff. "You have fight!"

     The natives and Lukas's hastily gathered force came together in a clash of claws, fur, and bamboo masks. As the fighters met, Savak thought he had an opportunity to get the cages down. But before he could move, his guard pinned him down, hissing something in his ear. Savak struggled with him, and managed to roll over onto his back. The moment he saw the Kougra's fierce snarl, he swung out, hitting his guard hard in the jaw and knocking him off.

     Once he was free of his guard, Savak bounded for the tree, jumping among their branches. He soon found where the vines holding the cages had been tied off, and started untying the first one he reached. When he had set that one down, he started on the next when he heard a growl. Savak ducked just in time as his guard swiped at him. He took the opportunity and rammed himself into the Kougra's gut, sending him falling to the ground. Then he heard a crash. Looking down from the tree, Savak saw his guard running off, short of breath, but alright. There was nothing where he landed that would make that kind of crashing sound, so what had crashed?

     Turning back to the vines, he stiffened in horror as he saw that each of them had been severed by the Kougra's attack!

     Jumping from the tree, Savak stared despairingly at the masses of bamboo poles that used to be cages. Some of the vines were still hanging on the branches they had been swung over, but the others had fallen and were lying in a heap over the cages they were tied to. The one cage he had set down was now open and Gerthen, skirting the battle nearby, ran to meet Savak.

     "What happened up there?" he asked. "I saw the Kougra chase after you."

     "He tried to hit me, but he cut the vines instead," Savak said, moving to the nearest heap. Inside, Heysha was trying to push her way out of the debris.

     "Savak!" she exclaimed when she saw him. Her expression of relief turned to a mocking smirk. "Could you let me down a little harder next time?"

     Savak smiled as he and Gerthen helped Heysha get out of her cage. Once she was free, Savak saw Kosek approaching with Lilia. Lilia was limping slightly, but she seemed alright. Then he noticed something seemed missing.

     "Where's Kaylee and Jessie?" he asked. Kosek, who was about to ask something himself, stopped in his tracks and looked around. When no one gave him an answer, Savak grew tense. "We can't let Kaylee get away!" he said. "Not now. Go find her. Kosek, come with me, we need to find Jessie."

     The pack broke as went their separate ways as Savak and Kosek moved to the last cage. Peering inside, he saw Jessie lying on her side. She wasn't moving.

     "Oh no," Kosek said.

     "Jessie!" Savak exclaimed. He started moving some debris out of the way, and with Kosek's help, they pulled her out of the wreck. Once she was clear, they set her down and Savak leaned over her. "Jessie, wake up," he said silently, nudging her motionless body. She didn't respond.

     "She's still breathing," Kosek observed. "Maybe she was knocked out when the cage…"

     "Savak! Help!" Heysha called, cutting Kosek off. Savak looked up, but he couldn't see her. He wanted to find her, but he didn't want to leave his mother behind. Kosek made the decision for him.

     "Go!" he said. "I'll watch Jessie."

     Savak nodded gratefully to Kosek before bounding off. The battle still raged in the village, but it was not nearly as active as it was at the start. Many fighters on both sides had either fled or were lying unmoving around the village. The rest were either fighting in groups out in the open, or were fighting one-on-one in isolated corners of the village. With a few close scrapes, Savak managed to weave his way through the village as he tried to find Heysha.

     Then he spotted her, crouched next to a tree, gripping her head with her paws. As Savak drew closer, he saw a Lupess nearby, the shadow Lupess that had eluded Savak since the start of the battle. Her eyes were glowing, winced slightly as she struggled to concentrate. She was trying to take Heysha's mind!

     "No!" Savak said, dashing for the Lupes. His progress was cut short when he was knocked off his feet by a Techo. When the Techo jumped at him again, Savak snatched him in mid-jump, gripping him tightly by his waste. "Leave me alone!" he snarled, flinging the Techo away. Before he could turn to Heysha, he spotted Lilia dashing across the battlefield. He watched in surprise as the island Lupess bawled directly into Kaylee, knocking her over and breaking her concentration. The two Lupes locked in battle, snarling and biting. While the Lupess was fighting Lilia, Savak went to Heysha's side, nudging her. "Are you alright?" he asked.

     "I…I think I'll be alright," Heysha said. "It was horrible! Her voice was in my head! I did my best to keep it out…Then it all stopped."

     Savak nodded. "Just rest, for now," Savak said as he looked to Kaylee and Lilia. The two Lupes had stopped fighting and were facing each other, fur sticking out in all directions, each panting heavily. It was what Savak expected, except for the expression on Kaylee's face. It was more a look of shock and surprise than anger. She even took a step back, almost as if she was nervous.

     "Lilia!" Savak said. "Take her!"

     "S…Savak…" Lilia stammered, a tone of fear on her voice. "Her eyes...She…she's my…"

     A growl nearby distracted Lilia and Kaylee. Savak's fur stood on end as a spectral image appeared next to Kaylee. The Shadow Lupess jumped back, suddenly, and met the gaze of the Ghost Lupe. The ghost was snarling at the shadow Lupess, his eyes glowing even brighter than Savak remembered. Even as he watched, both figures disappeared suddenly, leaving nothing behind but Kaylee's scent of fear.

     "No!" Savak exclaimed, running to the spot where Kaylee once stood. It was far too late. She was gone, and there was nothing he could do about it. Angrily, he sat down, looking to Lilia. When he saw her sadness, his anger faded. "What's the matter?" he asked. "What happened?"

     For a moment, Lilia didn't respond. Then she looked up at Savak. "It's those eyes," she said. "I can never forget those eyes. She's not the color I remember, but…but that shadow Lupess…she's my mother!"

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 Five
» Savak: The Search - Part Six
» Savak: The Search - Part Eight

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