The suns were setting earlier by a few minutes every night. The elders were quiet about it, but we – being the youngest and most stubborn – were loud and challenging. It was a strangeness we could not accept. We had so little play time out in the open anyway, it felt as if the gods were punishing us. To mark our defiance, we turned the suns’ setting into a competition of courage: How long could we put off running for the safety of lights? I was always faster than Kel. But this night we had left it almost too late for either of us. The last light was waning faster than the spring Nemok moon, and there was only so much time and no more. Kel had started his dash across the red gravel before me, but I knew he was no match. I would always beat him.
– Faster Kel!…ha ha ha
Our faces gleaming with sweat and adrenaline, pushing each other with the threat of nightfall. We thought it so much fun.
– Beat you there, beat you there, beat you all to the Malling Mare!…ha ha ha
Home. Our Ma scolding us, her voice rich and decorated with Dahkso heritage.
– In, in. what is wrong with you! That you run with no worries! Nomads!
Dark, laden with passion.
Ma came from a long line of Dahkso Travellers, peoples at once revered and scorned. Muta-Ma had decided to leave the tribe when her shoulders had buckled under the strain of Ma in her belly. Not long after Ma was born, Muta-Ma challenged the path by herself. One morning, still dangerously close to night, she left her tribe with Ma swaddled against her chest, and walked.
She came upon the Land Standers without knowledge or courtesy, and had been confronted by its inhabitants in like fashion. Because she was handsome or because my Puta-Pa had an affection for the wild or sympathy for the tiny hand that clutched at her breast, Muta-Ma was finally accepted as part of his house.
But it was never forgotten that she was a Dahkso Traveller and had strength beyond theirs. That she had chosen to leave her known life testified to a power that was more than flesh and bone, a power that whispered the myth of the Malling Mare.
– T Meeson