The Teristaque Chronicles Part 1
- Kal's Fall
Kal has always been considered too "fragile" to participate in the village activities. Her lithe stature links her to her father and distances her from everyone else. He left the village to fight in the Teristaque Wars and never returned. She meets Sarge, a strange star species of the human race who seems to know the secret of the patch from her father's uniform. Kal has always known she is different than her fellow villagers, and finally she may be closer to finding out why.
- 1 To Be Read list
Teristaques swarmed the village. They shoved families out of their multi-story homes, and they were corralling them up in the town square. There was a mechanical beast hovering over the village as black as the Teristaque’s skin.
Villagers who didn’t comply were kicked, punched, and knocked into submission. The scene was chaotic, and families huddled together. Children wailed in fear. Kal’s mom tried to comfort Kal with a hug, but Kal pushed her mom away and stood to wait for the Teristaques to speak.
One member of the crowd panicked and broke free. The Teristaque soldiers yelled orders to halt. The man, with brilliant green skin and orange hair typical of her tribe, continued to run. A fireball spewed forth from the Teristaque club, and her forest brother dropped to the ground and smoldering mess.READ MORE
Once the Teristaques had rounded up the remaining villagers, the soldiers formed a circle around them. Some villagers prayed to the Sky Father and others to the Forest Mother. Children whimpered; mothers and fathers comforted their families. Most of the young and able-bodied stood with grim, blank expressions.
A Teristaque with much more adornment and many tattoos walked toward the crowd. The soldiers made way for him and looked as if they treated him with reverence. He was probably their leader. He stopped at the front of the crowd and lifted the face of a quivering forest sister with deep blue hair.
“So beautiful,” the leader began. “I don’t like destroying things of beauty.”
A dagger ejected from his forearm, and he stabbed her through the heart. Kal understood for the first time why her father chose to fight. Two of the Teristaque soldiers dragged the body away. The leader turned back to the crowd.
“But I will destroy anything beautiful, and every last one of you unless you tell me where you are hiding the fugitive,” the leader barked.
The village elder with long silver hair and green skin faded by the daylight, Kan’Uj’Tar, came forward. “There is no one else in the village aside from those you see,” Kan said to the creature before him.
“That is a lie. And you know what? I hate it when Nigs lie.”
There was no direct translation for the word Nig, but Sarge had said Nig was a term star species used for people from Kal’s planet. Her home star system was named Nigramoto after the first human to explore it. In his world, the star species who first made it to a system got to name it. The people living on her planet were named Nigramotoians, but the term got shortened to Nig.
When Kal had asked him why the forest people didn’t get to name their own planets, Sarge had laughed, “You clearly don’t know a lick about how the universe works.”
The word Nig rolled off the Teristaque’s tongue with hatred. It had to be more than just a term to identify the people living on this planet. Kal wondered if there were other connotations of the word Nig that she didn’t know about.
“I’m not lying. You may search the village if you’d like,” Kan said humbly.
“Trust me, we will, but I’d rather not waste the time. I’d rather have you tell me where he is.”
“I cannot produce what we are not hiding.”
“That’s too bad.” The leader’s dagger extended into a sword. He brought it high towards the sky and with one swoop, the elder’s head popped off. The body of the elder crashed to the grass, staining it purple with blood. As the entire village began to panic, the soldiers pointed their fire clubs.
“Calm down! Calm down!” the leader bellowed. He lifted his sword and grabbed a small child, not yet old enough to lift stones. “No one else needs to die. I merely want you to produce the prisoner.”
Kal thought about the stone Sarge gave her. Could he have known about the impending Teristaque attack? Did he intend for Kal to bribe her way out of it? Kal had grown up on stories of the legendary greed of the Teristaque. Their nobles dined in large, luxurious towers. They would throw their bones from the top and watch the lower classes fight each other for the scraps. They were ruthless and greedy, and Kal had something valuable. She stepped forward. “I can help.”
Kal’s mother yelled, “No! Kal, don’t!”
“A brave one,” the leader said and let the child go. Squealing in terror, the child ran back to his mother. The leader walked a circle around Kal. His gaping black eyes drank in her form. “I like bravery. Tell me, where is the prisoner?”
“I need to go to my house,” Kal said. She knew the leader would not believe a mere villager would have such a valuable stone, and decided she needed to show it to him.
“To get me the prisoner?” asked the leader.
“I have something at my home! It will help you!”
“Show me,” the leader’s voice lightened, but it was still a growl by comparison to the villagers. The leader nodded, and two soldiers grabbed Kal, dragging her towards her home.
Her mom screamed, “Kal, no!”
A soldier hit her mother with the butt of his fire club. Kal winced when she saw her in pain. She almost cried out, and she wanted to save her mom, but knew she had to be strong. She let the soldiers drag her away and left her mother heaving in the grass.COLLAPSE