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The Myth of the Man Eater
The greatest of the Lonuliko chiefs lived in the village of Liagher and was called Leh Toah Vu.
Liagher was on the eastern tip of the crescent-shaped southern continent of Hekjate of the planet Jungaia, fourth satellite of Vulcan. The Lonuliko were a race of amphibious chameleons descended from hominids. They had black slimy skin with gold circles in their most calm state and resembled bloated geckos.
Too old to accompany the hunters who scoured the forest or the seas for their meat supply, Chief Leh Toah sat in the middle of the village, under his favorite tree, fanning himself with a large green leaf. He sat with his muscular hind legs folded underneath and his left front arm extended straight down to the ground. His bulbous eyes gave him an almost three hundred and sixty degree view.
"That's very good Kuzma," the chief said, directing his voice over his right shoulder. It was aimed at a small stumpy tree.
"Unless you are imitating a Husker?" he said to the tree.
The tree began to draw its branches in and take the shape of a hominoid. Lonuliko wore no clothes. The skin changed from gray-brown to yellow and black. Large fat circles of gold covered the figures' jet black body from slimy head to slimy toe. The males stood erect on muscular bowed back legs with webbed feet and only three suckered digits and a thumb - the females needed only two digits and a thumb. The male Lonuliko moved silently and sat beside the chief.
The chief kept fanning himself with the leaf.
The Lonuliko had the ability to change body shape, and could mimic any hominoid and some larger creatures that roamed the forests, but not a small insect or a large beast. Inflating and decreasing mass had its limits. When in their natural form, their skin color reflected their emotions.
The young amphibian shifted uncomfortably, and a long red tongue darted out and licked his eyes. The gold circles were fluctuating rapidly.
Chief Leh Toah had been expecting the young chameleons arrival, since news of the sighting of the Royal Sofian aqua-planer from one of his scouts.
"You wish to avenge your brother's death?"
"It is my sworn oath." Kuzma said grimly.
The chief stopped fanning himself and began hunting in a sack at his side. He brought out three objects and lay them in front of the Kuzma.
"To defeat this enemy you will need the counsel of three." He gestured towards the sky, before continuing. "You must go to the other world. The myths tell of the three who must be found. Another must come here from afar and do the same."
Chief Leh Toah picked up a pearl-glass orb and started to speak,
" To get to.....", but he was quickly interrupted.
"I have no need for any counsel!" Kuzma spat. "I go now!"
The chief looked across at the young chameleon. It was only tradition and custom which brought him to Liagher to ask the chiefs permission to kill one of another race.
"And if I refused you?" He said to the young warrior.
"I would go anyway." Kuzma replied stubbornly. His jaw stuck up defiantly at the sun stroked sky.
"Even if I told you many had come before you with this same request and failed." The Chief said sadly, rolling the orb over in his three sucker-like fingers. "The finest warriors, the deadliest assassins, all failed. Your own brother, master of camouflage, leader of the hunt, twice your size and three times as strong, broken like a twig in a storm...." the chief trailed off, sensing his companions unease.
Mikuzma went even brighter yellow and he shuffled uncomfortably back and forth at the mention of his brothers death, folding and unfolding his back legs.
"There is always a way." Kuzma said through tight lips.
"Yes! There is a way." the Chief seized upon this. "First the Ganimiin should be consulted. They can see the future. In fact many different futures. They may be able to see which of your futures achieves your goal. Next, seek the counsel of Thrad, the Aelion warlord in the south of Sorez. He is at war with the Sofian Duchy who harbor criminals and philanderers, including the one you covet. He will help get you to the city of Jubilee and then find the starcrafts." Leh Toah turned beaming to fully face the younger chameleon.
"Bah! I have no need of such counsel." Kuzma spat again wiping the grin off the old chief's face. "By that time, she would be gone. Entrenched in her fortress." He stretched his back legs, warming them up, before sitting back down again. Kuzma, proud young warrior, looked out to the caramel colored bay.
"I go now. With or without your blessing."
He tensed as if ready to leap. His skin began to change color, the yellow circles fading and spreading into the matt black.
"She will know you are coming." The chief said sadly.
Kuzma's thin red tongue shot out and stroked his chin, a sign of a Lonuliko thinking. "I will take that into account." he said.
"Then if I cannot convince you otherwise," Leh Toah said sighing ".... you have my permission Kuzma Motaga, second son of Thagjara and Indwin Motaga of the western Taigam tribe." The chief leant over and ran his finger between the other Lonulikos domelike eyes marking him with his sign.
Then he was gone in blink of the eye! Only the flapping frond of a large leafed plant betrayed his landing in the jungle before all trace of him disappeared, blended into the red and green of the trees.
The chief looked down at the three objects in front of him. One was the globe, another was a small shell. The third was a club-axe, a present to the Lonuliko from the Aelions after the Chief had rescued the Aelion King from a water-pirate. He ran his sticky fingers along its short wooden handle and cold metal head. It was more ceremonial than a functional weapon. It's bearer could ask any favor of the Aelion. There was some writing on the blade. It was in Aelinine, the predominant language of the Aelio, natives of the continent of Sorez and close allies of Lonuliko. It read "Greatest is the courage shown when the danger faced is not unknown."
The chief picked up the axe and weighed it in his hand. He tongue stuck out and ran over his lips and chin. He wondered. No-one would listen to the myths anymore. The younger tribal chiefs hummed and haahed and humored him because of his position. The young warriors were too headstrong and impatient to traipse halfway across the world. Who could he get to go? A femeleon perhaps?
Two green Lunoliko came running on their hind legs to interrupt the Chief's thought pattern.
"What is it?" He said rising onto his hind legs momentarily before sitting back down.
"Your nephew, Chief." One of the green chameleon gulped. "A gray mauler has taken him. He was hunting for sea-skimmers with us."
The Chief stretched his legs again and his tongue snapped back into his mouth. He readied himself to go.
"Lead me to the place." He said.
But the two Lonuliko chameleons flushed a bright blue.
"Cheif Mannanilo has sent his best men, including his sons to search for your nephew, Nilliki," One of them said. "If anyone can find him, they will."
"Yes," The Chief agreed nodding , "but I should go to Anadria, my sister."
Again the chameleons hesitated, casting glances at each other.
"Your sister Anadria is not here. She has gone to Sorez on business. Word has been dispatched." The shorter of the two said as he sat as all Lonuliko with his back folded but front ones extended.
"So, it seems I am not needed." The Chief said after a pause.
The two chameleons looked at each other.
"We were just told to inform you..." The first said and then after another lengthy pause he added, flushing violet ".....chief!."
Cheif Leh Toah waved a long thin arm at the nervous duo, dismissing them and they trotted away, glad to be not held responsible for his nephews attack by the fearsome sea creature. He suddenly realized he had been holding the axe the whole time, probably even waved it at them and contributing to their nervous behavior.
The chief's long blue tongue lapped at his chin and then wiped his eyes. So many of his kinsmen had died. Yet he could get no-one to listen to him. Chief of Chiefs, just a worthless title. Once he been one of the most respected on all Jungaia. Now he was the oldest. He was too slow for the hunt, too old to climb the trees that bore the fruits. Leh Toah looked down at the three objects in front of him. Who would go? Who could he trust?
The old chief swept up the other two objects and was about to put them back in the sack when the globe began to glow. He turned it over and it pulsed brightly. At the same time, the inscription on the blade of the club-axe began to fluoresce. "Greatest is the courage shown when the danger faced is not unknown."
When the two nervous chameleons returned with the unhappy news that the gray mauler had been found and killed, but that the chief's nephew was dead, eaten by the great beast of the ocean, all they found was the sack and the leaf.
Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus should we do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World.