A K'Chain Che'malle drone


And now he found himself looking down upon a drone, a K'Chain Che'Malle unlike any he had ever seen before.  No taller than a grown male human, thin-limbed, with a mass of tentacles instead of fingers at the ends of those arms.  The broad head bulged behind the eyes, and at the base of the skull.  The slash of a mouth was that of a lizard's, lined in multiple rows of fine, sharp fangs.  The colour of the two large, oversized eyes was a soft brown.

He watched it twitch for a time, knowing the creature was simply exploring the extent of its transformation, unfurling its ungainly limbs, turning its head from side to side in rapid flickers as it caught new and strange flavours.  He saw then its growing agitation, its fear.

The smell of unknown invaders.  The drone was able to gather, enclose and then discard the information that belonged to feral orthen and grishol; and this permitted it to isolate the location of the invaders.  Alive, yes.  Distant, discordant sounds, multiple breaths, soft feet on the floor, fingers brushing mechanisms.

The flavours the drone had once fed to Ve'Gath were now turned upon itself.  In time, it would increase in size and strength.  If the strangers had not departed by then, the drone would have to kill them.

The ghost struggled against panic.  He could not warn them.  This creature, so flush now with necessities and enormous tasks – the great war against the deterioration of Kalse Rooted, the ghost assumed – could naught but see the clumsy explorations of Taxilian, Rautos and the others, as a threat.  To be eradicated.

The drone, named Sulkit – this being a name derived from birth-month and status; and indeed once shared by two hundred identical drones – now rose on its hind limbs, thin, prehensile tail slithering across the floor.  Oils dripped from its slate grey hide, pooled and then quickly vanished as the unseen army, emboldened, purified and enlivened by the commander it had itself created, dispersed to renew its war.


Sulkit stood nearby.  Its entire body had changed shape, elongating, shoulders hunched, its snout foreshortened and broader, fangs gleaming wet with oils.  Grey reptilian eyes held fixed, unblinking – the drone was a drone no longer.  Now a J'an Sentinel, he stood facing the ghost.


Sulkkit heard her words and something stirred within her.  She had been a J'an Sentinel in the time of her master's need, but her master was gone, and now she was a Matron in her own right. 

The time had not yet come when she would make herself known.  Old seeds grew within her: the first born would be weak, but that could not be helped.  In time, vigour would return.

Her master was gone.  The throne was empty, barring a lone eye, embedded in the head-rest.  She was alone within Kalse.

Life was bleeding into the Rooted's stone.  Strange, alien life.  Its flesh and bone was rock.  Its mind and soul was the singular imposition of belief.  But then, what else are any of us?  She would think on this matter. (DoD)