Author Topic: Part 8: Leavetakings  (Read 6032 times)

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Offline Daen

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Part 8: Leavetakings
« on: June 10, 2022, 05:44:38 AM »
Breaking the news to the rest of the grove had been difficult. Not the news of the war of course—that was still a secret. The Chancellor had a public statement planned for this evening, to let the country know what was going on.

No, it was the fact that he was leaving Even if Moss was insular and asocial, it was still a jarring experience and would be for any treqar society. The feelings of sadness and confusion from Rane alone had been crushing to him. Jora, Daplan, his father, and many others were quick to offer their help with getting him ready, pouring sympathy into the network in great intensity. Even the mercenary-thinking Tressa was genuinely kind for once.

A great many black-shelled qars had arrived by now, and had roughly begun to dig him out. They didn't care about his comfort or privacy in the slightest, and it showed in their stoic way of doing things.

Moss had observed lesser trees catapulting their seeds a great distance by design. They couldn't consider what they were doing, and operated only on instinct, being nonsentient. Moss felt akin to one of those seeds, being launched from grove Praska into Core-only-knew what adventures or perils were out there.

The Sergeant was still chatting through the radio, directing his qars' actions, and receiving updates from them. It was bark-breaking work, in some cases literally, but they didn't send any signals of complaint or distress that he could detect. Vaguely, Moss reflected on how grateful he should be that he couldn't feel pain in the same way they could. Right now his furthest roots were being severed from his body, to lighten him for the journey. Up above, leaves and branches were being lopped off, by pairs of qars working team-saws. He estimated that when they were done, he would be about seventy percent of his current weight.

The hollow underneath had been cleaned out. There were a few unhatched eggs below which certainly wouldn't survive the trip. He gave one each to Rane and his father, and the rest to Jora. When the Sergeant ordered the rest of his qars removed, he protested. "They're staying with me," he insisted firmly.

"You'll be provided with qars when you get to your destination."

"My qars are already familiar with making—” Moss paused, suddenly aware that he wasn't in a private conversation anymore. "With my work. It could take several seasons to train new ones. Does it make sense to do that?"

The 'given the urgency of my task' was unvoiced, but the Sergeant got the message all the same. Grumbling, he assented, and Grace and the others climbed up into the secondary hollow above. It was more of a knothole really, from when a climbing mammal had lived up there a few years back. She'd had her litter of young and they'd all left without doing serious damage. Moss had restrained his qars at the time (this was before Grace had hatched), simply because he was curious as to what the sensation would be like.

Finally, the better part of a day later, it was time. He was able to send out one last farewell, along with as much encouragement as he could muster, before the military qars cut off his last root connection to grove Praska. Suddenly the whole network went dark, and he was alone.

Or nearly alone. He had started growing a secondary vine inside the knothole, both to feed his qars and to get updates from them. Already they clustered around it, sapping some of the nutrient liquid he created for them. He'd loaded up on as much water as possible, slightly off-setting all the weight he'd recently lost, and parceled it out to them as well.

He was vaguely aware of ropes being attached to his upper remaining branches. They were extended out a good distance, and then attached to some of the wild trees nearby. But why? The soldier qars winched the ropes together and began pulling on them.

Then the whole world twisted sideways! Having removed the majority of his roots, the military qars worked in unison to heft him upwards and to the side, prone against the ground. Without the majority of his oscilli, Moss could only feel the change, as if water had suddenly started flowing uphill, or qars suddenly took root. He tamped down on his terror as much as possible, despite the fact that he was all alone and could feel whatever he wanted to. He was no longer connected to the soil!

As they got underway, Moss couldn't help but pray to the Core for the strength to survive this.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 01:35:07 AM by Daen »