best selling author, sci-fantasy

The Twins of Embrellon – III

Chapter 3

Embrellon was unique. In all the worlds that Whitlaw had visited, he had never seen a world that had no seismic, tectonic, or volcanic activity. There were two continents, and several large islands, and the planet was eighty percent ocean. In the scans that his crew had completed, they found several pescoid species, both fresh water and salt water. The salinity factor of Embrellon’s oceans was one fifth of Earth’s oceans. The major mineral deposits were tanzite, a crystalline substance in abundance, it was opaque with purple veins running through it, and faron, a metallic ore that was black, but when refined looked like dull silver. It never tarnished, and in its purified state was too soft to make objects of use from. The Vela had found that if they added powdered tanzite to the molten, purified faron, that it would become hard enough to use as metal. They had learned that by adding different amounts of tanzite to the metal, they could control the hardness, flexibleness, and usefulness to the metal. Most of the items made had to be cast, or, as in the case of weapons, forged. The Vela were master metal smiths.
There were forests, prairies, savannahs, and several mountain ranges. There were large outcroppings of salt, and dense jungles. The largest of the mountains ranges rose up to a height ten thousand meters, and even the Skree couldn’t fly over those parts of the mountain ranges. In the northern part of the largest of the two continents there were glaciers, tundra, and vast snow fields. In the valleys of the northern mountain ranges is where the Free Skree lived. Their homeland was rarely visited by the Guardians, and then only if they were asked to come there and no one but the Free Skree knew where their homeland was. It was the most highly kept secret on the planet.
The second continent was southeast of the larger continent and was only about one third of the size. The Skree never went there and had warned the Vela, and the Guardians that it was unwise to visit the continent. No one knew why, and with the Marn threat, no one had ever explored the southern continent. There southern pole was mostly ice and in most places was at least a kilometer thick. The southern ice shelf was occasionally visited by the Velan fishing ships, and the fish they brought back were always packed in ice. There were several species of eel-like fish, both fresh and salt water, several species of shark-like fish but none of the species were large enough to cause harm to someone swimming in the seas or vast lakes. There were several large species of mollusks and bivalves, and at least three species of the largest snails ever seen. One of the snail species was carnivorous, and would eat anything that swam in the water. They were at least three meters high and six meters long, and they had a mouth that resembled a great white shark. One of the bivalves grew to two meters long and one-meter thick, and like an oyster, produced a crystal about the size of fist. They would disgorge the crystals, and begin forming a new one. The process took about seven years.
The land animals were unique. There was one that resembled an earth Auroch, and was the main source of meat for Skree and Velan alike. The peoples of Embrellon, at the insistence of the Skree, had begun to refer to themselves as Brellon, and most of the people with the exception of the Vatar, had started using the term. The Auroch came in several different sizes, they had been bred by the Vela for use as beasts of burden, large enough to pull several large blocks of tanzite at one time, a medium size for use as draft animals and food. Their skins when tanned and cured made the finest leather’s that Whitlaw had ever seen. There was another animal that was the size of a draft horse, had antlers like a caribou, and stood three meters at the withers. It was used for food as well as a source of milk, and in some cases, they were trained to be ridden. They also could be used as draft. Another beast they had was something similar to a sheep, it produced a wool that could be spun into thread and cloth, and was as soft as silk. It had horns that spiraled upwards, and when hollowed out properly, were used for signal horns, and could be used to drink out of, and to make water tight containers. The most useful animal was called the Creetan. It was about one and a half meters tall at the shoulder, had spiraling horns that curved around and under its ears, similar to a big horn sheep from earth, it had paws like a wolf, a short tail, its fur was spotted like a leopard, or solid yellow, it had large eyes, it had great night vision, and its face was similar to a fox. This animal was used to help herd aurochs and other beasts, as well as used to guard the entrances to the Brellon caves. It didn’t bark or howl, but had a roar like a tiger. They were faithful companions to the Brellon and were never known to attack Brellon or Skree.
The Skree were the most unique of all sentient beings that Whitlaw had ever encountered. They were telepathic, they could fly, their night vision was better than an owl’s, and they were huge. They stood two meters at the shoulder, they looked like a lion except for their coloring. With the exception of Lantana’s Bond-Mate, they were dark brown with black stripes, they had black manes, and horns like an Ibex. The male’s horns were about two meters long but curved back from their head and came around and beside the neck. The female’s horns were about half the length. Both sexes had manes, their necks were longer than a lion’s more like a horse in proportion, they had a tail that was at least one meter in length, and from nose to the tip of the tail average about five meters. They had claws that were retractable and when extended were about ten centimeters long. Their wings were at least five meters long and were covered with feather’s. Their wings were placed in such a way as made their bodies able to carry a saddle and rider, and not affect their ability to fly. They could fly close to five-hundred kilometers without needing to land and rest, and their bones were so hard that it was almost impossible to break their bones once they reached adult hood. About two years. They didn’t have blood, their veins were filled with a purple ochre and they had a natural healing ability that surpassed anything Whitlaw had ever seen. The only thing he had seen that could actually harm them was a pulse rifle or phase pistol. And even that was difficult. They had a natural armor that was hard to penetrate.
They had no natural enemies, and the only thing that could harm them was another Skree, and that rarely happened. They were sentient beings with moral laws of their own. It was against their beliefs to harm a Brellon, or any other humanoid with the exception of the Marn. They were as close as you could get to their only natural enemy. Their society was made up in prides. Usually ten pairs of adults, and any offspring they had. They were basically grown at two years, and fully matured at seven.
The Brellon developed at a normal humanoid rate. They reached maturity at sixteen, and were then able to choose to attempt bonding, or to go into any of the various Craft halls, Mining, Herdsmen, Fishing, or Farming. The Velan refugees had developed agriculture, what was unusual about Embrellon was because of the high concentrations of tanzite, scans to show life forms were faulty, no known scanning process could penetrate or reveal what tanzite hid. Anyone who had scanned the planet, saw only the herd beasts, and the Vela didn’t farm row crops, they had a highly developed farming system that utilized hydroponics, and other means of farming that kept the foods they grew hidden.
The grain sources were abundant. They grew naturally, and in a large variety. Similar to wheat, oats, rice, rye, and wild rice. They harvested the tubers, and greens, and several varieties of berries and nuts. The planet produced all they needed.
Society was divided into groups based on what they did. Farmers, craftsmen, sailors, Guardians. They didn’t use money; the barter system was how trade was done. There were no precious metals, just Faron, and any metallic needs were made from it. The Guardians weapons were made from a faron/tanzite alloy, and the same alloy in different composites was used for cooking vessels. There was a good clay source and they made pottery, cups, and plates from the clay.
The forests had varieties of hardwoods and softwoods, but there was no extensive building done in wood. Besides fuel for fire and for forges, its only other use was to build the trader’s carts that they lived in and travelled to peddle their wares.
As with any society, there was people who didn’t want to work, and on Embrellon, there was no place for people who didn’t work. Most of the people who didn’t want to earn a living for themselves lived as nomads, and would attack the trader caravans and the Guardians were responsible for maintaining law and order as well as repelling Marn attacks.
The people who didn’t want to be part of the society, when caught, were sent to an island between the main continent and the smaller southern continent. There were no trees on the island and no way to build a ship, it was complete exile for those sent there. The Guardians would take them there and drop them with food, water, and a decent spear and knife. They were left alone and no one went there, not even the fishing fleets.

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