There was no sound to alert the victim of his fate, no warning that behind him lurked a beast. Perhaps if he had turned, he would have seen his shadow or the bright blue glow emitted from his gaze, but he did not. Instead, he had simply kept walking, entirely naive about the dangers of the desert.
That was the problem with the modern folk - they ignored the tales told by the Natives of the Desert. To them, the beasts of the desert rather were ancient myth rather than empirical fact; any creature that they could not find was one that simply did not exist. Nothing could change their pitiful world view, one where Science had destroyed all shreds of Magic better than the mystic Gasha ever could. There was nothing strange left in their worlds, nothing curious... every creature had an origin and a name, and anything without explanation was simply a figment of one's imagination or an illusion of a twig. Little did they know that the most dangerous creatures were simply intelligent enough to know to hide.
This person, in particular, was one of the believers of Man's dominance over nature. They had introduced a special crop to this desert, one that could surivive on the barren landscape. He did not realize the consequences it would bring; just like the discovery of drought resistant crops, this crop would simply purge the desert of its few remaining resources. Once, this had been a place teeming with life - still a desert, yes, but one full of various critters and strange plants. All of this changed when the Natives decided to improve the landscape rather than adapt to it. Now, with the exception of several cacti on an oasis hill and the occasional traveller, this place was dead. It seemed nothing could survive on this barren landscape for too long.
That was, of course, except for the other creature out on that night, the hunter quietly stalking his prey. He flicked out his tongue, tasting the night. He could sense his prey's obliviousness; this both pleased and upset him. It was not often that a human wandered into his desert, but when they did, he enjoyed a bit of excitement. Regardless, food was food, and it was becoming more and more sparce.
Once, his kind had roamed the land. They had been at the top of the environment - even Man had feared their wrath. They had been the natural hunters, ones with no predators that preyed on them. Sadly, those times changed when the desert did. Somehow, this specimen had survived, but he was the last. Had he thought about these things, he would have realized that his survival was irrelevant, since there were no females left to bear his young, but he never considered this. To him, survival was key, and he took every day as it came. He did not even remember the kinder desert anymore, or even any of his kind.
He lowered his long ears, no longer needing to carefully listen to his victim's steps. Baring his teeth, he tensed his tail, readying to strike. A single leap and it would be over, but this leap was the most important of the hunt. A good, clean death was the beast's desire. He had no love of gruesome or torturous things.
A cloud passed over the moon, darkening the night. This irked the beast; the darker the night, the more likely he was to be spotted from the glow of his eyes. Thankfully, the faint glow of the man's lantern kept him hidden. Another superstition the man had ignored - artificial light had no place in his night.
The lantern flickered. Where there had stood a man now lay a corpse, its warm blood trickling onto the unforgiving sand. The light was blue.
The zebolion were a species well adapted to the environment in which they thrived, at least before the great changes that occured. This is due to unique adaptations that made them perfectly fit for their harsh environment.
One day, this section will include pictures of all of the adaptations mentioned. For now, simply enjoy the list.
This desert is that of the zebolion. They were the first mammals to reach this land, and, had the river of Fate passed the way she had originally planned, they would have died with the desert's end. In essence, perhaps they did; the desert, though, is greater than it had ever been before. Once, it had been teeming with cacti and lizards and critters, but now it stood bare. The only zebolion left – the last of their kind, who shall from now on be known as Zeb – is an oddity; had his typical prey not changed from small creatures to humans, he too would not survive.
The extinction, though caused by Man, was not done so on purpose. Man had periodically hunted zebolions for their bone and pelts, but this had always been a passive event done only for the validity of a new chief. However, the modern man came; mortified at the lifestyle of the Natives, they introduced crops that they thought would be stable. It worked well for a while, yes, but, sadly, drought-resistant crops had to be irrigated as well. The industry boomed, but so did the water use, until quite suddenly the oasis lake became a dry water bed. Even the water deep under the sand and stone was used, until no drops remained.
Much life was lost, not only that of these beasts. The rabbits were the first, followed by their predators. The zebolions lingered longer than most, but their frail forms, starved from lack of flesh, were easily hunted by the Natives. It was not long before there was only one left.
An odd thing happened when the beasts disappeared – after them their remains soon followed. Great robes worn by Native chiefs now turned to sand as bone tools turned to dust. An entire species was lost – their legacy soon forgotten. Only the legends remain.
Few have ever met Zeb and lived, and even fewer remember the encounter. Normally, this zebolion secludes himself from society, hiding from humanity, and attacks when found (or hungry), but he has enough of a heart to rescue those unfortunate souls that find themselves lost within the harsh desert he calls home. After all, too many bodies would pollute his haven.
The Natives say the zebolions had always been the protectors of their Desert, but they know that the last one is not. He is vengeful; the positive spirits that had preserved the relics had now fled, leaving only the negative remnants of starvation thriving. These spirits, according to the Native legend, follow Zeb, forcing him to be more brutish than his species had ever been. The only way to stop him was to appease these spirits, but how? If one is the last of a species, the species cannot remain.
When they sing of him, it is in infamy. They fear his blue, saying that nothing good could ever follow. The legends warn to never travel at night. Once the sun is down, the night is his, so even in the villages the Natives stay in their huts. Outside they always leave a tribute, often a rodent or a hare, in an enclosure for him to take if he so pleases. When morning comes, they are often still there, but on random nights all of the creatures will mysteriously disappear.
There are some tales of redemption, but they are few. Some call this selection luck or attribute it to some higher power, but others say that Zeb can taste innocence and grace. Regardless, any person who encounters this creature and survives is considered blessed, even sacred by some. If this zebolion is an agent of their gods' vengeance, would this not mean that those he spares have an important role?
Others tell tales of getting lost and lying down to sleep, only to awaken at a different area near the village. Though less impressive than the previous group, they too are considered full of good will. After all, Zeb could have enjoyed an easy meal, but instead he brings them to their homes.
Some would argue that Zeb has a heart, but others point to his typical demeanor. He kills the majority of those he meets rather than save them; perhaps he was simply not hungry when he met the others? Regardless, for over a century the people have been terrorized, and a sour aftertaste will remain.
One day, this will be rewritten to sound like an actual legend.
In this chapter, the zebolion lurks through one of the villages, consuming the tribute left for him. He is considering attacking a family, but knows that it would be pointless. Characterizes him as resentful.
Upon leaving the village, the zebolion notices an odd thing lying in the sand. Upon closer inspection, he realizes that it is a bottle with something odd inside (the Wind of Nimorika). He lifts it with his tongue and carries it in his mouth it to his lair.
As he hunts the following evening, the zebolion catches the taste of another hunter in his desert. Upon confrontation, he realizes that it is another, much larger, beast (444440). The two fight and the zebolion loses. However, 444440 chooses to spare him, so that the zebolion will help him in his quest.
Although the zebolion does not agree with 44's political stance entirely, he follows him around due to honor. However, he cannot quite deny that he dislikes modern society. He also gives 444440 the bottle with the Wind of Nimorika.
The zebolion continues getting rid of 44's political enemies and realizes that 44 is working for the Squid. He becomes hesitant, but continues being loyal. He meets some of the Squid Infiltration and doesn't entirely believe that replacing one intelligent species trying to dominate the environment with another will be too effective.
Zeb sees another zebolion and finds hope for his species, even though it is tame and not a hunter like him. He also realizes that 444440 has already known of its existance but was hiding it from him. He chooses to fight 444440 and is victorious, but takes a huge injury.
Other pets that the zebolion encounters will go here. This will include 444440, the Wind, Squid, and the mysterious other Bori.
Adoptables go here once Olly makes them.
The zebolion returns to the desert, weakened by his injury. Much has changed, for the worse. For one, there is a collosal squid there trying to take over. He fights a squid and wins, thus freeing the desert from the Squid Infiltration and protecting the human population.
The Natives come out to celebrate the zebolion, meanwhile also moving their villages away from his home as an honor. They are at a truce, with him as their protector. He is content.
However, the zebolion realizes that his injury has festered, and the new ones from the Squid have not helped. He decides to leave the desert in hopes of finding a female of his species. He feels somehow that he cannot be the last, despite never sensing another like him. Many say he disappeared that day, never to return.
The new legend that the Natives tell. It is far kinder to the zebolion than the old one, thanking him for everything that he has done. They point to some unnaturally bright stars in the night, claiming that he is watching over them from there.
We had been warned not to search for him. They said we'd die. Likely not from the zebolion himself, but from the harsh desert climate. The three of us just wanted one bit of proof that he existed. We stayed in the desert for two weeks, living off the resources we had packed, but we found nothing, only the nine stars the natives described to us. Would that be proof enough?
On the last day, it took awhile to pack. We finished around the evening, and as it got darker we loaded up and headed off, back home. I sat in the back seat, hoping to catch some sleep, and as we pulled away, I thought I saw it. Two blue lights, like eyes, sitting against the sunset. I watched them as they watched us leave, until finally they turned and went into the opposite direction.
I believe, to this very day, that I was looking into the eyes of the last zebolion.
While walking in the desert storm, I quickly glance up from beneith my veil and see an eerie blue light from over yonder. I contemplate going over, and decide that it would be best for me to get out of this storm. I chase the blue light until... RUUUUUUUN!
The stars of the zebolion do indeed watch over humanity, protecting it. He had not stopped the Squid Infiltration, but he had damaged it enough for it to be brought to an end by others. He is in peace knowing that he improved the world and overcame his own demons.
The zebolion finds a pretty spot, lies down, and lets out his last breath.
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