Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: \(^,^)/ Doin' the happy dance cuz finished w/ work!
| | Re: Catz Miaow
Her youth had been lost to her, veiled in the mist of ancient times. Terror, flight, imminent death, and a desperate race for survival dominated her earliest memories. Whenever her people had tried to regroup, with progressively fewer relatives and comrades each time, they had been forced to scatter, in order to save their lives.
Once a princess, now a fugitive, she had feared the cycle of combat and escape might never end. As time passed, however, her increasing experience had matched her physical growth, and Arakkane finally took pride in her ability to easily evade, outmaneuver, or overpower any threat.
Unfortunately, her own personal safety meant nothing, once it had dawned on her that she was the last remaining survivor of her kind. At first, she had rejected her nagging suspicions. She’d returned, at great personal danger, to their previous habitats, but the homes were broken, empty shells. She travelled across land, sea, air, and even space, in search of evidence that would contradict the impending extinction of her species, but in the end was forced to accept the bitter truth.
The finality of this realization had enraged her. For the next few decades, pitiless death had followed in her wake, and her reckless violence had put her at risk of discovery – and her own annihilation. Eventually, however, reason had prevailed, and she remembered something that gave her a faint hope.... A tenuous hope, to be sure, but enough to stop her destructive rampage.
From the very last reunion she’d had with members of her own species, she had come away with a gift, which had seemed insignificant enough at the time. Suddenly, though, the possibility overwhelmed her that she might just hold the key to her species’ survival after all, in the small, forgotten sac of fertilized eggs she’d tucked safely away under her armored exoskeleton.
All that remained now was to focus her considerable intelligence on hiding herself and planning for the future. How could she best take advantage of this last opportunity to ensure the continuation of her kind? With that question uppermost in her mind, Arakkane immediately and literally went to ground, concealing all traces of her location. For the next few years, she had stayed hidden, plotting carefully to ensure that the bloodline would continue.
When she finally emerged, she fed ravenously, wiping out several nearby villages in the process, and then put her plan into action. Travelling quickly among many worlds, she deposited her precious fertilized ova, one by one, into the most promising young specimens of all the most powerful species she could find. Wrenching against her inherently protective nature, she’d left each new life alone to incubate while its host reached full maturity, and she had moved on to the next species, the next world.
The predatory instincts of her spawn, once triggered by anger or fear, would take control of whatever personality had previously existed in its host, and the individual resulting from this combination of species would fight for ascendancy in its family, clan, tribe, and nation. Their prolonged lives, extended by the beneficial effects of the venom coursing through their veins, would allow her children the time needed to become the masters of whichever worlds they occupied.
At long last, after more than a century of traveling, the final ovum had been tenderly sealed into its living incubator. With nowhere to go for the time being, Arakkane remained in the vicinity, her greedy black eyes observing its developmental stages from afar. The creature stood on two legs, which left the arms free, but had no tail for improved balance. Its sight and sense of touch was much more limited than many of the others, but its intelligence, once fully matured and assimilated into her genetic patterns, might very well rival or even surpass her own. Like her species, this one seemed to have a strong sense of loyalty to its clan, which she found touching.
Despite her affection for the creature, she did not allow herself to take too much pride in it, for it had no armor, no venom, and no offensive characteristics such as talons, fangs, or horns. With the survival of her species at stake, she could not afford to be partial to this one. She did, however, indulge in a hope that this specimen would prove worthy of having been chosen.
Once this final pupa had matured, merged successfully with its host, and begun its battle for power, she had retraced her journey from the beginning, harvesting the surviving adult offspring whom she had reluctantly abandoned so long ago. She had brought them here, to this deserted moon of rock and sand, to complete her plan.
It was unfortunate that the siblings would be unable to tolerate one another’s competition. They would each be driven to dominate their environment, and having grown up separately, and outside of her maternal influence, they would not recognize any family obligations. She had known this from the start, and it was the only part of the plan that had given her pause. When, however, she contemplated the superior power, deadly intelligence, and single-minded determination sure to reside in the victor’s DNA, her regret lessened. She might have only two children, Arakkane mused, but her grandchildren would be legion, and invincible besides.
Desiring both a female and a male heir, she separated the genders. In two cavernous holes in the bedrock, she gently arranged all the cocoon-like traveling cases, spun meticulously out of her own intricate webbing. The only access to each cave was through a narrow tunnel, and both tunnels met in a forked path which she herself guarded. The two survivors must not meet until their lust for violence had been sated, and she would take no chances that one of them might accidentally make its way into the other’s chamber.
She watched over the elongated cocoons patiently, waiting for her children to awaken.
The female victor emerged first. Her host’s ability to spray poison and spit long trails of swiftly-congealing saliva was a perfect complement to her own inherited instinct to use venom and webbing, so the two species had combined seamlessly. She had defeated the others efficiently, while sustaining very little damage herself.
Her jointed, glossy black limbs, similar in design to Arakkane’s own furry brown ones, skittered quickly up the passageway until her feathery antennae sensed the older female’s presence. Her body froze, antennae and sensitive tongue quivering, until the mother signaled that it was permissible to approach. The young one advanced with renewed confidence, but remained deferential.
Arakkane’s glittering, obsidian eyes looked her over, as the ambient light in the larger tunnel revealed the features of the slightly smaller female. Smooth, iridescently green armor covered her body, and could be released at will to reveal sturdy wings that gave the gift of flight. Multi-faceted eyes, optionally shielded by brilliant, blue metallic lids, saw in all directions. The offspring from this one would be beautiful as well as deadly, Arakkane mused complacently. When a mate was chosen and given the honor of nurturing her daughter’s babies, he would feel no pain, only numbing sleep, as they absorbed his nutrients and grew. Satisfied, she tapped sharply on the rock, and the other female came to her side and lowered to a resting position.
Down the other tunnel, the roars of anger, grunts of pain, and whimpers of fear continued. Blending with smashing rocks and crunching bone, they harmonized into the music of violence, each note vibrating the fine hairs covering Arakkane’s body. Puffs of dust gusted up towards them, escaping the conflict below. Hours passed, and still the females waited.
After a time, they noticed that the battle cries had muted. Muttered curses preceded the whisper of stealthy, slithering scales over sand. A tense silence fell, and Arakkane found she was holding her breath. Soft voices drifted up the tunnel. Although it was an uneasy exchange of clicks and whistles on one side, and alternating guttural and musical tones on the other, she was shocked to hear the unmistakable sound of conversation.
Curiosity piqued, she rose from her station guarding the cavern’s opening, and stepped closer. The young female released a short burst of nervous, chittering sounds, but the mother reached back with one long limb and stroked her shining armor. Reassured, the young one subsided. Arakkane crept down the passageway with the stealthy grace of a panther observing potential prey, and paused as the space widened out and the floor angled downwards.
Before her, in mutually wary battle stances, crouched the last two of her male children. She didn’t spare a glance for the other bodies littered across the floor of the cave, but kept her gaze on the two bipedal survivors. The one angled towards her had a vaguely reptilian form, with an armored head, horned triceps, and poisonous-looking fangs. A serpentine tail whipped back and forth restlessly, clearing random paths over the sandy ground. Its lower legs, however, were thin, bony, and jointed much like her own, which meant they were probably extremely fast, agile, and powerful. Claws like curved knives extended from its forearms, extending its reach. As she watched, the fighter shifted his feet and emitted a string of vigorous clicking sounds, accompanied by several differently-pitched, sharp whistles. The two opponents began to circle each other cautiously.
The other warrior, Arakkane was pleasantly surprised to discover, was the youngest of her offspring, the pupa whom she’d watched grow into maturity. His stance was strong, she noted approvingly, and his eyes flicked around the room, assessing. Her presence at the top of the sloped path was noted and discarded as an irrelevant detail. Somehow, he appeared to know that none of them would intervene on behalf of any other, which rendered potential hostage-taking pointless.
The relatively weak body, while lean and muscular, still lacked any natural weapons or defensive mechanisms. One hand did, however, wield a sharp, lengthy fang, still bloody at the root where it had been wrenched out of a fallen enemy’s jaw. His other arm was shoved into a large, flat, bony piece of armor plating, which had apparently been cracked away from the hide of an owner who could no longer protest its theft. A collar of bones, ripped whole long ago from the ribcage of a defeated foe, circled and protected his throat. Two more matching sets, bleached with age, wrapped around his hips, proclaiming a bloodthirsty disregard for the lives of any who opposed him. Skins from other former victims, now tattered after the recent fighting, still clung to his body.
He glared at his adversary and shouted menacingly through a matted beard. Arakkane noticed a variety of sharpened teeth woven like beads into the facial hair, and decided the ornamentation was intended to intimidate. She wondered at his shiny scalp, so unlike the clumps of stringy, head-fur she’d observed on most of his species. Perhaps it had distracted him when fighting, and he’d removed it. When he next spoke, the sounds were oddly musical, although the pitch rose and the volume increased throughout his speech. By the time he finished his challenge, he had assumed a threatening posture, the long tooth thrust forward at arm’s length before him.
Without warning, the reptilian warrior swished its tail once through the dust and sprang high into the air, propelled by its insect-like hind legs. The human darted across the space, faster than Arakkane could see, and something flew back through the air, striking the jumper with a solid “thunk.” Soon, clouds of sandy debris filled the cave again, hiding the combatants once more. Despite the choking dust, she remained stationary, the coarse, spiny hairs clustered over her brittle-looking limbs trembling eagerly as she watched blindly for the battle’s conclusion.
A metallic screech suddenly pierced the air, and was cut off just as abruptly. The end of the fight was signaled by the clattering of nerveless limbs collapsing to the cave floor in a final, lifeless sprawl. A sharp snap echoed from the walls, and then all was silent, save the uneven, heavy pant of the victor.
The female held back her breath, waiting to witness the outcome of her planning. Her spherical, jet-black eyes rolled in anticipation, and a bead of venom gathered at the tip of her left fang. Without the battle to stir it up, the roiling, grey dust which had blocked her view began to settle, and gradually, the air in the cave cleared.
Exultation filled her as she beheld her spawn, bloody, bruised, and gloriously alive. He grasped a long, crooked staff which she had not seen before, and then she realized with admiration that it was a trophy – the already stiffening leg of her other son.
Her fangs chattering with excitement, Arakkane envisioned the strategy and cunning of this one, multiplied by the thousands of offspring he would sire. Each single mating, accompanied by a dose of the venom saturating his body, would thoroughly fertilize and anesthetize any female, activating immediate maturation of dozens, if not hundreds, of ova. The resulting zygotes would incubate in their unconscious host until its resources had been exhausted. The pupae would then find their way to other individual hosts, reaching full development within a decade or two. Some species would have found the process mind-numbingly slow. The queen, however had patience on her side.
For a moment, she savored the taste of victory. Her children, leading an army of her grandchildren, some gifted with his intelligence and innovation, others inheriting the female’s physical prowess and beauty – such a combination would all but guarantee their success. In the end, their family would have the most powerful force in all recorded time, and they would go forth and wreak destruction upon the worlds that had despised her people.
Then she brought herself resolutely back to the present. First, they must leave this lifeless moon, and find a suitable home world for each of her two heirs and their respective descendants. Then the process could begin.
The male before her stirred, straightening his posture and eyeing her watchfully. She chittered at him, and his eyes widened, obviously not having expected to hear her voice, or her authority, within his mind. Then understanding dawned, his face cleared, and he bowed respectfully.
She gazed fondly at him for a moment, then turned and moved out of the cave. She beckoned to him with a long, spindly arm. Obediently, he followed, glancing quickly at his sister as he strode out of the passageway. Together, the three of them made their way out of the death-soaked bedrock, and faced their future.
*** THE END ***
(Apologies to the Greek mythical figure Arachne, who became a spider after angering the Goddess Athena.)
Wrote it for an AC contest - it won!
*does happy dance & trips over feet*
Here's the pic I chose from the theme options given for the contest (Wrote the story based on the pic) Link to top of this thread
Last edited by ZonieCatz; 03-17-2012 at 10:43 PM.