Moth Ch. 019byellynei©
Copyright of Nanna Marker 2010.
Kokata was searching. He had probably carried the idea longer, but in the end it was Lei who had spoken the suggestion. So here he was, searching the forest as swiftly as his legs would move him. He needed to find a healer.
He wasn't panicked. They didn't need one yet. There was still plenty time to find one. Kokata's body felt light. Happy as he was it was almost as if his legs needed nothing but air to keep him afloat. Lei had said she felt pregnant.
It was too soon to tell really and it was probably just a feeling, or wishful thinking. But just the happy look she had had on her face at the thought of carrying his child, was enough to make Kokata euphoric.
His Lei had at first suggested they head out in opposite directions, to faster cover a larger area. But, in the end, she hadn't objected to staying behind in the safety of their new home while he headed out.
While Kokata was searching, his Lei was nesting. He had promised to be gone less than six days, whether he found anything or not.
"Land, Keme," yelled Zoa, repeating the 'time to land' motion at him, but the young man ignored her. "Land, dammit. The guys need some time to breathe."
"If they can't keep up then they can fly back," yelled back Keme.
"Batshit, Keme," yelled Zoa. "If you keep driving us like this none of us will be in a state to fight when we get there. Not even you."
Keme looked back over his shoulder at the pack of couriers who were following him. They looked exhausted. Keme gritted his teeth but slowed down and made the 'time to land' signal.
As soon as they landed, most the couriers slumped to the ground. Zoa remained on her feet and freed her bow from its sheath. Someone had to be prepared in case a predatory beast should come by.
Keme seated, but pulled his sword and kept a watchful eye.
Not long after he had stormed out of Evelin's home and had flown off toward his family, Zoa had caught up to him. The flat-breasted westerner was fast. She had convinced him to return to the courier center to get help.
Having a clear memory of how unbelievably fast and strong the black spider was, Keme had allowed himself to be persuaded.
The seer Evelin had said that if Zoa was there, she would save them all. But, if Zoa should fall in combat with the monster then she, technically speaking, wouldn't be 'there' to save his family.
The master task manager had listened closely to everything he and Zoa had told him of the seer Evelin's prophecy. He had been sufficiently sympathetic to ignore Keme's panic-based lack of adherence to protocol.
A less kind man could have shoved Keme into an underground prison-cell for months for less than half the insults Keme spewed at him in his urgency.
Instead, the master task manager had allowed them to bring any courier they could find, as long as they were willing.
The only couriers in the center had been those assigned to sanitary duties, but they had all been willing. Twelve young, winged, termite-men and -women. Not the deadliest couriers Keme could wish for, but at least they were all armed, and some of them had some clue how to use their weapons.
Lei was restless. This was the sixth night since Black had left in search of a healer. She was part looking forward to seeing him any moment and part terrified by the mere thought of him not showing up. She missed him achingly.
His first night away she had spent making a crib for their future first child. She knew that no matter how sure she felt, she couldn't know that she was pregnant. But, even if she weren't yet, she would be eventually, so a crib was a good thing to have.
While making a crib, her mind had been buzzing with thoughts of what a baby, and later a toddler, would need. Not knowing what the child would be really offered a lot to consider. She couldn't very well make baby-clothing before it was born. She couldn't pull a fullsuit that would fit a butterfly or a moth larvae onto a termite or spider baby. Of course, if it was a spider-baby, she wouldn't need to worry about clothes at all. Black had explained that cold didn't bother nor harm him.
A spider-baby. Lei would love to have a spider-baby. Although that would give a lot of worries later. For such a child, finding a mate would be nearly impossible. As it had been for Black.
If they should beget a spider. Lei would seek out a seer. Somewhere in the world there was someone for everyone, if only she could find the right seer to point in the right direction, then everything could work out like it had for her and Black.
The second night without Black, Lei had built a primitive weave and had started making small blankets out of the bulk of unthreaded silk he had left her. But working with his silk had made her aching for him too heavy to carry, and she had abandoned that task.
Bow-making had been a far more soothing occupation. She already had one good bow, but having a couple of spares would do no harm. There was no point in making bows to trade away, though. She and Black were rich. In the big trunk she had built, full-balls of perfect spider silk were piling up.
The next time she approached people, she would be more open and honest. She would explain how the thread had been made not to be taken for a thief. Maybe, after being told about Black, people would actually be able to face him without fear.
She didn't see a future with her and Black living amongst others. Even if people should learn not to think of him as a monster, they'd refer to him and her as crossfuckers. And they were. Lei had learned that difference in appearance was no obstacle to happiness, but that didn't mean the rest of the world had achieved enlightenment.
The third, fourth, and fifth night. Lei had felt utterly lonely and had cast herself into one task after the other more to pass time than to get work done.
This sixth night, she was almost too restless to get anything done at all.
What if he didn't come back?
What if someone had seen him before he had them? He could be dead and murdered.
Lei moved her hand to her mouth. Suddenly the far of thought seemed so real. Black had told her people had shot at him when he had been younger and less careful. He had even shown her a scar from where an arrow had burrowed.
Lei closed her eyes and started sobbing.
"What are you crying about?" asked a smooth voice from behind her.
"Black," shrieked Lei and spun.
If she hadn't been so happy to see him, she would have scolded him for sneaking up on her. Instead she jumped him and stole his air with her lips.
Intellectual property of Nanna Marker.