Chrylos and Catya were in the Great Temple when the Guardians returned carrying the bodies of the dead, and they brought Joktar and Junta into the temple with great reverence. He had served for sixty years, as a Guardian, Ranger, Elder, and head of the Great Council. Upon receiving the news, Joktar and Junta’s mates, Auria and Levan, fell dead, leaving all of Embrellon in mourning. No one expected this, and now it would fall to Jatar’s mate to take the lead of the Seers. Catya was devastated, and she was shaking, her nightmare was becoming real, and all she wanted to do was hide. Chrylos tried to comfort her and assure her that no one would let Tygos take her, she was blood of their blood, a Guardian, a Brellon, and that meant that no one, Brellon or Skree, would let her be taken, they would die to protect her, and all she could see in her mind was that Tygos would destroy them all, to the last being, to take her.
Jatar knew they had one day to do something, and it had to be now. He knew that they were protected from Marn scans, the actual location of their bases were hidden. What to do with Catya and how to keep her safe until they could develop a better defense against the Marn blasters was foremost in his mind. He decided to send her and Chrylos to Tambar, and that they would be best hidden in the home of the unlinked. That decided, he informed them to pack and to go with Tambar. Chrylos was stunned, and taken aback, he wanted to fight, protect his people, lead his base against Tygos, but Jatar told him that he must protect Catya at all costs. Tambar agreed. That ended the discussion. They would leave at dark, and when they had all their gear packed, they tried to rest, but rest wouldn’t come for either of them. It was a dark day for all of them, and it looked like it would be dark for a long time. Going with Tambar made sense to Catya, the Marn had never found their homeland, and she hoped that while they were there, they could find some way to defend themselves against the Marn weapons. If they could, they could end this war with Tygos, and they would all be safe. Jatar sent messages to the archives, he wanted them to start looking through the records, there had to be some way to defend against those blasters.
It was a strange place to be for Catya and Chrylos. They had always communicated with Gryton and Zala on the link, but with Tambar’s revelation, and after a long meeting among the Skree, they decided to only use the link when flying, during battles, or to communicate over distances. The Skree were talking to them and it was very strange to hear them speak. They spoke as easily as the Brellon did, and their actual voices sounded like them on the link, except there was a thinly veiled growl in their speech. Now, for the Brellon, was the time to get many questions answered that they couldn’t ask on the link. They learned of Skree history, and social structure, and why they lived in prides instead of communities as a society, and many more things as well. They learned that the Skree were capable of choosing the color of their young, and that after the Great Exodus, they decided to use only the tawny color until such a time as they saw it safe for them to have the other colorings among them again. When the Guardian Skree had brought forth the four markings once again, the other Skree decided it was time to do the same, and in their homeland for the first time in millennia, there were Skree of all colors amongst the Free Skree. Only Brellons referred to them as unlinked, the Skree themselves said that a Skree was either free, or bonded, not linked or unlinked. Catya made note of this, she also sent that message to the Seers to tell all Brellons, that that was how the Skree preferred to be referred to.
It was unsettling at first for the Brellons to hear the Skree speak to them. They could speak to anyone, bonded or not, and that was new for them. Catya asked Tambar why the Skree had chosen not to speak with the Brellon except on the link for so long? Tambar told her that during the Great Exodus, there were no Brellon to speak to, and the Skree became accustomed to speaking to each other mind to mind, so the necessity of having to speak became pointless.
Catya asked Tambar many questions about the Skree, and what they knew of the time before the Exodus, and he told her they knew little of that time other than they were bonded with Brellons in the past. Beyond that, they knew what the Guardians knew. They had learned as much as the Guardians from the ancient Archives, and what was there, was the only records they knew of that existed of the time before the Exodus. She asked him why he had chosen to actually speak to her before the Great Council, and he told her that the Skree had decided it was time to speak to them and that the best place to do that would be before the Great Council, that way it would be told to all Brellon that the Skree could and did speak and no one would doubt it.
They were given quarters, well, that is if you can call it quarters, it was more or less a cave formed from tanzite, it was basically a place to sleep. Skree had no need for toilet facilities, baths, or a way to cook. They ate their meat raw, and when they brought down an animal, it was always done by the pride, and they shared the meat, it was usually finished the same day, and Skree only fed every four or five days. Brellon needs were different. They would use the cave until they could make better quarters, with a way to bathe, as well as a way to cook, until then, it would be cooking over an open fire, and thankfully their gear contained a complete Ranger outfit, so they had cooking gear, and all the basics to cook their own food, and they would be able to hunt, and preserve meat for themselves. The Skree were as interested in learning how Brellon lived as they were about the Skree.
It was clear to Chrylos that they were safe for now and that making good quarters for them, learning what they could, sharing with the Skree all they knew and constantly drilling, would fill their time here, and would take their minds off what they knew was going on in the rest of their world. He asked Tambar to take him and Gryton to hunt. They flew a great distance before Tambar told them they could land and prepare to hunt. Tambar didn’t know how Guardians hunted, and he was curious to see how they did it. He was amazed at how efficient Chrylos and Gryton hunted together. They were on the ground, not flying, and tracking a large aurochs and Tambar noted how silently they moved in the forest. Then he saw how they took the aurochs and was impressed. Gryton had crouched and then pounced on the back of the aurochs and sank his teeth into his neck, immobilizing the creature, and Chrylos stabbed it through the heart in one movement. They had dispatched the aurochs in seconds, and then they set about skinning it and preparing the meat to be transported back. Chrylos gave Gryton the beasts heart to eat, raw and fresh, and then they packed the meat into the hide, brought the horns and once loaded up, were ready to head home. Tambar told Chrylos to be perfectly still, they were being watched, and one wrong move would get Chrylos killed. Out of the forest walked one of the Skree that lived a solitary life, away from the others, and he was watching them, and eyeing the aurochs that was loaded onto Gryton.
He walked up to them and spoke to Tambar. His name was Ravan, he was and he had watched them come into the valley from his den. He told them they were welcome to hunt on these grounds, but as this was his home, he wanted part of the aurochs as a way of showing good faith on their part. Tambar told him that his pride had hunted this valley for many years, and not once had they ever been approached by Ravan, or asked for an offering. Ravan said that he had no issue with the pride hunting here, they only came once or twice a month, and they always consumed their kill before leaving. But this was a Brellon, and he was riding a Skree, and he didn’t allow any Brellon to take game in his territory. He asked why a Skree would be the slave to a Brellon, seeing the saddle and the meat packed on Gryton. Gryton stepped forward, with a menacing growl, told Ravan he wasn’t a slave, he was a Guardian, bonded with the Brellon, and that the others like them, were engaged in a war with the Marn, and were trying to protect the whole planet from them, and that included him.
Ravan didn’t know what to say, he had never heard of a Skree being bonded to a Brellon before, but when he checked the link, he was surprised to find the mind of Chrylos was able to touch his. After this, Chrylos offered him all he wanted of their hunt, he took only what he needed to feed himself, and then he departed. Chrylos was silent as they flew back, and once they were on the ground, he and Gryton got the meat into their cave, and then he took the saddle and armor off Gryton and told Catya to do the same. He then told them that unless they needed to hunt, or were called back to the fight, it would be best if Zala and Gryton looked like the rest of the Skree.
During their time asking questions of the Skree, Tambar told Chrylos that their history told them that the Skree had always lived here, and that when the ancient Brellon found their way into the valley, there was a bloody battle between them. As the war ravaged on and both sides had lost many people, that a young Brellon woman named Zatara had pushed both sides for peace, and she had made her way into the hatching ground unseen and when a young female hatched, named Jesala, white with black stripes, she bonded to Zatara, and the first bonding took place. Life was precious to both sides, and the war had to stop. Zatara, the first Seer, announced that they could find peace through bonding Brellon and Skree, and living together in peace. That was how the Companions came to be. It was incredible to Chrylos, that just as Zatara had ended the war between Brellon and Skree, Catya was now the instrument to bring peace between Embrellon and Marn.
The Skree homeland was in the north, it was a large area surrounded by mountains, high enough that they were always covered in snow, and the pass that led into the homeland was hidden from sight, if you didn’t know it was there it was next to impossible to find the entrance. The Brellon had built a tunnel that passed through the mountain to help keep out unwanted visitors. Not since the time of the companions, had Brellon entered into the homeland. Most Guardians had never tried to find the homeland because passing over the mountains was next to impossible, the Brellon would pass out or die from the altitude, and it was difficult for most Skree as well. They would come through the tunnel, a full kilometer in length, and there was no trail leading to the tunnel, it was in a cliff, above the snow line, and very few Skree left the Valley. The Skree that had left, had become bonded and knowledge of the tunnel had faded from memory.