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Tasca trained his teledars on the massive, slow moving creature unaware of the fast approaching danger.  “You’re correct, Sergeant and until now I thought they were.  Apparently enough zanchets must have fled into the spines and somehow established a viable population.” He let the teledars dangle about his neck.  “If one of these things can roam this far into the desert, what’s to stop more of them from doing the same?  Be thankful it didn’t detect our scent.  Killing it would make our encounter with the stalkers seem like a spring shower.”


“The damned thing has six legs,” Maseru said, allowing his curiosity to roam free for a brief moment, unchecked by the possible consequences of the unfolding events.


“If memory serves, Sergeant only the males do.  Females have four legs and are just as dangerous if not more so than the males.”


“If I had my way I wouldn’t want to meet either, Colonel.”  Maseru continued to watch the creature amble towards the descending creatures.  “It doesn’t see them.  In a way feel sorry for it.”


“If you could see what a zanchet is capable of you wouldn’t, Sergeant.  I remember hearing stories from the Scavs that a zanchet had killed a small pod of stalkers.


“That I’d like to see.  I take it hunts at night, Colonel?”


“Yes it does.  They’re nocturnal hunters, but as to why this one left the safety of the spines, I don’t know?  It just doesn’t track.”  Annoyed, Tasca turned his head to one side and spat.  This was a development he hadn’t anticipated and didn’t want.  He was aware of a possible encounter with the waraiiths and was prepared for this contingency, but the zanchet was another matter entirely, one that could have dire consequences if either man failed to realize the level of danger it presented.


“Maybe it left the spines to prey on Scavs and their animals,” Maseru said, his teledars focused on the massive blue creature.


“If you’re referring to the dwors it’s a good a reason as any, Sergeant.  Should your rationale prove true, it’ll be a long, brutal day for the Scavs.  They told me that once a zanchet locks onto a scent trail it’s relentless, that the only way to stop it is to kill it.” Tasca had seen what a zanchet could do once it locked onto a scent trail.  The graphic memory of Scavs being torn apart had left a lasting impression he was unable to suppress.


Maseru lowered his teledars and turned to face Tasca, the light from the full moon bathing his face with an eerie gray-white glow.  “The damned thing has to be at least three meters tall at the shoulder.”


“I hear you, Sergeant.”  Tasca brought the teledars to his eyes.  “I think it’s time to make a strategic withdrawal from our current position while the waraiiths are locked on the zanchet.”


“I agree, sir.  The last thing we want is another fire fight.”  Tasca and Maseru had no desire to fight either creature; each realizing the less attention they drew to themselves the harder it would be for the Kingdom to track them.


Tasca understood the stark truth of the encounter between the creatures.  If the waraiiths found the zanchet a difficult kill, they could return to the outcropping seeking easier prey.  “Sergeant, take your stim and attach it to your utility belt, but don’t use it until I tell you.  Double check that your pulse rifle is armed and secured to your rucksack, then attach two pulse charges next to the stim.”

Author Notes

4 Comments for “THE SNOW KINGDOM”


Another good chapter, Ray. Not much action, but a lot of trouble brewig. (” If the waraiiths found the zanchet a difficult kill, they could return to the outcropping seeking easier prey.” – foreshadowing?)

No nits this time. Well done. Looking forward to the next chapter.

Raymond Tobaygo


Good morning, Dave

Sorry for the delay.

Thanks for the read and input as they are appreciated.

Take care and stay safe,


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