.The World We Come Back To.
.The New World. *p.1
Characters; Abraul'a, Nevos'et, Neyahta'a

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X'ysahtu was beauty in life; the extra stroke of colour that added harmony to the overall canvas. Full of lush plantlife,
brightly glowing spirits, and forests that extended further than most of Abraul'a's Ytyua'h had ever had a chance to explore.
There was comfort in that, somehow. Like the world wasn't just confined to the things they knew and saw, and the threat of
the Treeko'ra wasn't the only black cloud in the forest. But it was also troubling.  For all it's beauty and faraway mysteries,
X'ysahtu didn't hold the same cheery brightness it once had. The shadows were tainted by loss, by the worry and questions
over what had happened to Mibarau'et.

Gone, but not taken by the Treeko'ra, yet the Spirits insisted there were no other threats... Nothing except what lay beyond
the Measu'aa.

Abraul'a spent those first few days after his disappearance watching the shifting ash; clinging to some hope that they had
been mistaken. That he hadn't died, and was only lost and struggling to get back to them.

More days passed; he didn't return, and the brightness of X'ysahtu would never look quite the same to Abraul'a.

~~

Nevos'et didn't hunt as extensibly as he used to. Ever since the loss of his leg (and Usa--no, he wouldn't think of her, not
right now, please not right now-) he had found his desire for adventure lacking. Whenever asked he would tell the others it
wasn't enjoyable to hunt when he couldn't run as fast or as far as he once could. Handicapped by three legs and a
crystallized stump of a former appendage, Nevos'et was no longer what he used to be. No longer complete.

He was broken, physically, and perhaps mentally too. But he'd smile at the others, brush away their concern, and act as if
nothing had happened. Grief? Sure, he dealt with that. He pushed it down as far as it would go, until that hollow ache in his
chest was nothing much an faraway echo. And he slipped into a mask that was all too easy to wear.

He'd never be the same hunter he was; but, Nevos'et wouldn't be useless either.

They asked him to join their hunting parties. He smiled; forced at first, but gradually, it appeared real enough in his
reflection.  They stopped asking everyday how he was after that.

~~

Neyahta'a liked to watch the interactions of her Ytyua'h. Liked to see how they got along, or shied away from each other.
When she was younger she found Tabrosu'et to be an interesting study. The only arrogant member of their tribe, yet he
called for such loyalty in Kelaun'et  even when he was busy insulting and riling up their other Xa'htus and E'sahs. She asked
the Spirits about it one day while perched on a sunning rock; her oily body turned blissfully warm by the heat.

"Ji'la nuy kasnee s'oa Tabrosu'et?" ("What is wrong with Tabrosu'et?") She queried in their tongue, the words smooth and
comforting to her at all times. Not like the other language they had been taught which always sounded gritty and unnatural
to her ears.

The Spirits had been silent at first. This surprised her, piqued her curiosity.  She repeated the question, pressing for an
answer that they were apparently unwilling to give.

Still their answer was silence, and Neyahta'a let it drop away until several weeks later when Tabrosu'et and Kelaun'et were
killed.

She asked again.

And the first Spirit said;  "Tabrosu'et kai'm klo'kahur sa'u."  ("Tabrosu'et was inexperienced.")

The next said; "Yenas'e suto m'ii osau'r. Tabrosu'et kai'm a'stua."  ("Did not bond with Spirit. Tabrosu'et was dying.")

She stopped asking after that, her thoughts turning reflective as she thought over what she had seen of her walking bone
xa'htu. Had everything he had done been because of an inability to relate to them, a sickness? The questions were harsh
and heavy. The answers were oily and slicker than her own body.

~~

It was midday, and Abraul'a was in the company of Yienn'et when the world went wrong. When the glorious greens of
X'ysahtu turned into a blurred smear of colours, sounds, and tumbling vertigo. She felt her paws falling through the ground
as her body fell, as the world went away. She remembers calling out for Yienn'et in shock, but the words were muffled and
scattered even to her own ears.

Everything was shifting, molding, and wrong-- so wrong--

And then the ground was under her feet again; warm, shifting grains. And gravity was suddenly there -- Abraul'a fell forward
with such force that her jaws snapped painfully together as she hit the sand. The force of the landing sent her senses
spiralling out of reach, and the pale hues of a sandy beach were whisked away by encroaching darkness.

~~

Nevos'et had been within the Ark'tou, enjoying a moment of solitary peace after having woken from a troubled sleep. He was
glad the others weren't nearby; he was certain he had cried out this time. Yelled out something that could have been a cry
for help as he revisited that day; that moment when he could do nothing but watch, horrorified, as the Treeko'ra--- He shook
his head fiercely, pushing away the memories.

He didn't want to remember. Not when he was sleeping, and especially, not when he was awake. He just, he couldn't--

His thoughts came to an abrupt, chilling, halt as his paws gave up their hold on a tree that was suddenly just not there
anymore. As the world of X'ysahtu bled away in a noisy flurry of sights, sounds, and disrupted senses.

The world righted itself what seemed like hours later; soft grass was beneath his feet, and he was surrounded by lush trees.

But they were wrong. Their bark was too pale, the leaves the shade found in the A'stua Forest, and the smell was thick with
something Nevos'et couldn't rightly identify. It was a forest, but it wasn't one he had ever been to.

He looked around, purple eyes searching, but seeing nothing familiar in an expanse of unknown trees and bladed grass.
There were no spirits here.

"Xa'htu! E'sah!" He called out, his voice echoing strangely through the environment.

No one was there to answer.

~~

She'd been near the others when the world went haywire, when X'ysahtu stopped making any sense to her and the hysteria
of the unknown settled into her mind. She flailed against the sensation of falling, her oil body dripping and swirling as she
tried to grip at something -- anything -- and then she landed with a splatter of dark matter on rocks of all things. Hard,
jagged, rocks that dug into her body like they wanted to be a part of her innards.

She gasped at the pain it caused, reflexively tossing her weight backwards and sliding away from the harmful greeting. So
disoriented she hadn't heard the roaring rush of the water, hadn't noticed the damp sensation the rocks were slick with ---
she fell back into the raging river before she even realized it was there, the water pulling her under and sending her form
into a state of duress.

"
Ney'et! Nyt'e twa'a!!"  She barely speaks the words before she's consumed by the gurgling rush of the tide; her body heavy
in the water as blackness spread down the waterway.