Phraint Behavior

"We were traveling across the Southern Aegon* -- perhaps ten of us in all. An off-planet merchant** had hired our company to assist the efforts of jade phraint tribes in suppressing the blue Atavistics of the southern cataholds.*** The sound of their war-song carried for miles -- an eerie threnody that put our nerves on edge as we made our way across the humid boglands. Many jades had begun to flee before their blue cousins, sprinting across the surface of the bogwater with the long, mechanically precise strides that characterize their race. Their passage was noiseless save for the startled buzzes of those axe-flies and phosphorescent wisps that took flight in their wake. Within moments a party of Atavistic pursuers was upon us, brandishing their polymer swords and screeching unintelligible profanities. In short order they advanced in an erratic pattern like men pretending to be intoxicated. Several of our number were killed outright and then dragged swiftly into the blue-black throng to be eviscerated for trophies. It was then that I fled into the darkness, and I feel no shame for it."  CLARL THE HOUNDSMAN 
"For a time we allowed Sminn to live among us, and all was well. But as the phraint began to mature into its adult state it became less and less predictable. Its fits of hunger would render it sullen and strange. Livestock would disappear during the night. At times my sister would hear odd clickings outside her chambers, sometimes accompanied by furtive scratching. Sminn said he could taste her 'vapors' and that they were causing him some anxiety. When the creature finally attempted to drag her off, all our old sentimentality toward Sminn was forgotten. Several blows from my father's cudgel cracked a sizable hole in the thing's brain-case, from which a pale yellow fluid leaked. For a span we watched Sminn twitch there on the grasses, his mandibles still scratching out a meaningless smear of human-like sounds before his body gave way."  TAM TUTHIL OF THE MISTY TERRITORIES

*Aegon: A term much like "Taiga" in the sense that it describes a particular type of wilderness terrain -- essentially, the Aegon is a humid and boggy woodland with areas of dense overgrowth.
**Weggish of Chandelume
*** Cataholds: Subterranean phraint communities. Each catahold is dedicated to the preservation of particular genetic qualties, giving rise to the weird array of phraint forms.


  1. What a great send-up of the Yearling.


  2. Thanks, Robert. Yes, kind of like The Yearling by way of Jack Vance.