“Murderous beasts,” hissed Brola.
Donal stood transfixed and staring. A body followed the legs. Unfolding many
joints, it straightened up with a series of loud clicks. It was over two metres tall.
It was a Gyzol; and more came behind. All carried curved sticks or heavy, silver
Ulan Nuur scrambled to his feet with a snort of alarm. Brola shrieked wordlessly
and dashed forward. Scooping up handfuls of sand, she hurled them at the angular
The Gyzols took no notice. Half a dozen of them had already descended into the
dome, and more were following: tall blue-black shapes with too many arms and huge,
dark, multi-faceted eyes. Insect eyes.
The Gyzols turned to face them in a line and began to stalk forward, joints
Donal took a step back in revulsion. He glanced round for a weapon, but could see
nothing to throw apart from his flask, or the Skywheels – and he dared not touch
The Gyzols weren’t interested in him or Ulan Nuur. Instead, they advanced on
Brola. Their eyes changed colour from inky blue to blood-red, and their curved sticks
glittered in their upraised hands.
Brola squealed in terror and ran over to the camel. “Ulan Nuur! Help me! You
promised to help me!” she shrieked, darting behind him.
With a dreadful throaty battle-cry, the camel charged. He seemed to be all
thrashing legs and wildly waggling humps as he thudded noisily past Donal. Long
teeth bared, neck arched, he galloped headlong at the Gyzols.
The curved sticks whistled through the air. Donal ducked as one flew past his
But Ulan Nuur fell, stumbling to his knees. A stick had hit him on the foreleg. As
it clattered to the ground, Donal saw that it was made of jagged black glass, as sharp
as a dagger.