Alervinda was a huntress, as were her parents, her grandparents and their ancestors before. She had grown up with the necessity of killing but with an almost unlimited reverence for life in addition, based upon the knowledge of death. She would never kill an animal without good reason, never destroy a life just for fun... that was her way of life and how she wanted to live in years to come.

Now, however, there was this task she was appointed to... and the thought of fulfilling it was laying heavily on her heart. She was told to kill the Blue Ocyx, and, Ma-Duk, for no reason but the order of this old witch. Indeed Ocyx were aggressive and hence enemy to Hominkind, but they never attacked Homins as long as they stood out of the herds' domain.

For more than three hours she had been sitting in the Canyon where she intended to conjure the Ocyx, who was a mighty spirit. The horn with the subtle tracings was lying across her hands. More than once she had actually lifted it to her lips, but something kept her from casting the call. Was it because of the stories her grandmother had told her about a blue Ocyx being the lord of all the other Ocyx on Atys, with a skin blue as the lakes of Aeden... was it the hot, whispering wind, or the voice of Ma-Duk himself?

She stood up, opened her bag and threw a piece of bread towards her yubo, which sat patiently next to her.

Suddenly she heard the hoarse barking of a gingo... and as she looked to the north she saw a young Fyros huntress together with an equally young and bumbling Ocyx, fighting against four gingos.

Within a glimpse she realized that both were in a hopeless situation. She hesitated just a second and in the next she was running towards the fighting, and commanding her yubo to join in she attacked the strongest gingo. It was a short, clean fight.

The young Fyros was only slightly wounded but in her arms she held her dying Ocyx. Alervinda bent down, and indicated to the girl that the Ocyx was beyond any help, but the Fyros, with tears in her eyes, was not listening; rather shouting a name over and over again while petting the blood stained fur of her Ocyx. Seeing the love and deep mourning displayed, Alervinda came to a decision. She put her hand on the girl's shoulder, causing her to stand up with questioning look on her face. She pointed towards the Ocyx herd, standing dull in the evening sun, and giving an encouraging look to the Fyros, she lifted Ma-Duks horn to her lips...

From the shadows of the Canyon, majestic and dignified in his appearance, came the giant Blue Ocyx. Gracefully he bowed to Alervinda before he faced the young Fyros huntress.

You, little one, have fought well and lost your fellow. From now on it should be known that you are under my protection and never again will need to fight alone.

Then he once more faced Alervinda.

Huntress, you have shown great wisdom. Through my death you would have served no one but this old Homin, who never meant for anything good. Death and destruction would have come towards the burning desert as it has happened before. But now I may serve you and help in the fighting against the evil. But know: Never I shall help you against my own kind if they are attacked without reason. Then my protection of your people shall pass and change to hate and revenge and you will be doomed indeed.

He seemed to shrink and turn paler and a shadow flew to the young Fyros, engulfing her completely. Fixed to the spot, Alervinda had merely stared without words, but now she looked at the huntress carefully in a new light. She had after all come through this abominable canyon unchallenged. Why hadn´t Alervinda noticed those bright blue eyes before? Thoughtfully, she turned the horn in her hands. Then a smile came to her face and she bowed into the direction of the little huntress.


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