845 T.M.T. Day-Logue of Thustundra Drae-Tayroh

Injustice.

Before I turned twelve, that was just a word. Now that I'm fourteen and have experienced it firsthand, it has true meaning. It's not just a word or a principle. Injustice is a living, breathing creature from the deeps, a creature that should never be invited into your life, no matter how bad things get. It's raw evil in a living being, destroying the world one immortal at a time. Injustice goes around, leaching into the bones of those who will accept it, tearing down all sense of right and wrong, making the infected believe that everything done to put you into a position of power is the thing to do, allowing you to commit crimes without a conscious.

How do I know so much about injustice?

I'm the victim of injustice, one of the few who survive. I've been captured, beaten, whipped, branded, and sent to a place that's not quite the halls of Death but I could see it from there. I've been through is called the unthinkable and done what has been the impossible for centuries. I've survived injustice, and I now fight it with every spare moment and cell of my body. So far my efforts have been successful- maltreatment and the threat of becoming a thrall are now almost completely obliterated, with only one or two small armies that dare resist. With me being the most powerful creature on the planet, it's not hard to gain control.

My story is now being recorded so that others may know what I've been through, to persuade them to help eliminate the threats that have stalked our angry world since the days when Mistral was torn into four pieces and scattered throughout Winter's halls.

It's odd, being able to do things by personal choice and preference. If I had tried anything of my own will eleven months ago, I would've been severely punished- perhaps even killed. I have not been able to make up my mind on my own in so long, I almost forgot what it's like.

It feels great. But there was a time, not long ago, when I was not free to do as I pleased…

Thustundra Drae

I headed toward my hut quickly. I had to be fast, or risk getting yelled at by Ma and Da, both of whom were tense with worry. There was a rumor of a Steldyk army amassing to attack our small village, and everything necessary for survival needed to be packed and loaded in the wagons by that night. Ma and Da were frantic, running around giving orders to us kids and packing as much food as they could, preparing for the move to the center of Rain Range, the mountain chain on our planet of Uklurklay in which my family and friends made a humble home.

As I scurried through the village toward my hut, I received stares from the others in the village. This was nothing new for me, but could still be disconcerting at times.

I am different from the other Strsrilts. My body shape is the same as those of my race: long, slender arms, legs, and waist, a long, pointed tail mainly used for balance, and pointed, triangular ears set on top of a cat-like face. In ways, I am immortal- I can't be killed by old age, but everything else that's deadly can finish me off.

A normal Strsrilt has dark, mottled brown fur, short, dull claws, tan spots, and is about six feet tall when they are fully grown.

I have an elegant blue coat, long, sharp claws, no spots, and was five-eleven at that time, even though I was only partly grown.

All female Strsrilt have hair growing from the tops of their heads. The color matches that of their fur, and the hair only grows out to their shoulders before it stops.

Mine is black, was grown all the way down to my waist at the time, and still getting longer.

But the most startling difference was- and still is- my eyes. A normal Strsrilt has hazel or light green eyes. My irises are deep, swirling midnight pools, set in a startlingly deep emerald green meadow where others have plain white skies. And if another creature is to look me in the eyes, they would very likely lose their train of thought. I've been told that my eyes had a very hypnotic effect on others. And I had actually managed to hypnotize my brother once, making him believe that he was my thrall. But that is a story for another time.

At twelve, I was the youngest Strsrilt in the village, and had never known harsh times or ill fortune. All of the others had. Their eyes reflected this, determined and willing to do whatever was necessary to survive. But my eyes never reflected anything except gentle goodwill and a young, tender playfulness.

And so the sudden move and the Steldyk attack was a momentous event for me. It was a change, a thing for me to fear and respect. My eyes became midnight pools of awe. But, later in my life when I reflected back on this time, I would wish that nothing had ever changed, or that I would have had a harsher upbringing. It would have better prepared me for what was to come.

* * * * *

Strelluef

The group halted as the leader raised his hand. His black glove was hard to see in the inky blackness, but the white cloth he held was impossible to miss.

"Quietly, now," he whispered. "Remember, sneak attack, kill all. Be very careful and try not to damage the surrounding area. We came here for the rich farmland and for revenge on the Strsrilt for the theft of it." I nodded with the rest of the group.

We quietly slipped our weapons, mainly long stilettos, with the occasional sword, out of our sheaths and advanced on the village as one, making no more sound than bugs on a leaf.

* * * * *

Thustundra Drae

I woke with a violent start. I heard the sounds of metal striking metal and the soft thump of a sword hitting a body. Strsrilt males were shouting their rarely used war cries, the females were screaming in terror, and I could smell the heavy, intoxicating scent of iron-rich blood in the air.

I heard a distinct voice above the frightening clamor, but I couldn't make out the words. The Strsrilt, whoever it was, shouted again, and this time I could faintly make out "Run, Thustundra, run!" The voice sounded like my Da's.

Obedient to a fault, I jumped out of bed and ran. I tore through the small log hut, blasted through the back door, and started off through the forest. I heard another shout and a curse, this one angry, then the loud creak of a wagon following me. It came closer, and I panicked.

Forcing my legs to go faster, I gave a long, twisting chase in the darkness through the trees and dense shrubbery, but in the end it did no good. I tripped on a rock and sprawled out on the ground. The creaking sound stopped nearby, and I heard footsteps walking toward me.

Something grabbed me from behind, and I screamed. A voice, as smooth as the cloth imported from Rihdvendr, sounded in my ear.

"Well, well, well, aren't you a pretty one?" it purred. "You're different from the others. I like you. You can be my little pet." He gave a laugh that bristled with cruelty and malicious intent. Whoever it was positively reeked of wickedness, an evil that could not be compared to anyone or anything else. The Steldyk stroked my silky blue ears with a sharp claw. Trembling, I tried to pull away, but he wouldn't let me.

I looked up into his face. He was no different from the average Steldyk; long, lean body, jagged claws and long pointed ears, short black fur, yellow eyes. But his face was twisted into a horrifyingly evil smile, with several pointed teeth making it even crueler. When he saw me look up his smile became even more contorted.

"Hello, honey. My, my, what a pretty little thrall you are." He tapped my nose teasingly with the tip of his claw.

I fainted from sheer terror.