The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival HTML version
She fired at the lead toral and brought him down. She fired at the next and missed. It wouldn’t matter.
There were too many of them.
The toral by the patrol craft dropped the man and turned toward Viella. Saliva from the excitement of the
hunt dripped from his fangs. He dug his claws into the soft sand making ready to spring, to bring death to this
Viella heard a noise behind her. When she looked over her shoulder she saw the stranger standing in the
sand several feet behind her with his head moving from side to side taking in the present situation. He jumped
forward and swept her up in his muscular arms as if she were a small child. He started running along the sandy
bottom toward the patrol craft where the toral stood over the dead man’s body.
“Are you crazy? Let me down.” If this man kept running the toral would attack, knock them down, and rip
them apart. Their only chance was for her to keep firing her phasor in hopes she could stun the five remaining
toral before they got to her and the stranger, or before the phasor pack ran out of energy.
She shifted her position as much as she could trying to bring her phasor into the firing position, but the
stranger’s physique was too broad and tall. She could barely get her hand with the phasor in it over his
“Let me down!” she commanded.
The toral next to the patrol craft stood up and took a hesitant step back with a puzzled look, and then, when
he realized the man wasn’t attacking, but escaping, he started the chase. The other four toral weren’t far behind.
With hands and elbows, Viella pushed herself up the man’s chest and turning in an awkward position looked
over his shoulder. She could see the gleam from the toral’s fangs in the moonlight. He was no more than two
lengths behind them and gaining. But the stranger did the impossible—he lengthened his stride and stepped up
his speed. The lead toral was no longer gaining on them. The stranger increased his speed again, and soon he
was outdistancing the toral, leaving them behind as if they were slow moving Gorian turtles. Viella looked to
the walls of the gorge, and saw nothing but a blur. She tried to look forward, but the wind created by his speed
was blinding and brought tears to her eyes.
She closed her eyelids and relaxed. “You’re an android,” she said with a sudden realization. “No living man
could shake off a stun so quickly. No living man could outrun a toral. No living man could run this fast. No
living man could see where he was going in this darkness”
She could feel the heat coming from his body as his muscles pumped like a machine racing through the
gorge away from the dangerous toral. “If you are a machine, then why is there heat?” Then she remembered
the Galaef’s men sinking shafts into the city park. That’s it, she thought. The Galaef and his scientists have
created a new android in a secret laboratory, but for some reason the android malfunctioned and escaped.
Viella looked over the stranger’s shoulder for the toral, but they were no longer in sight. After another few
minutes the stranger slowed down, came to a stop, and set Viella on the ground.
She was totally convinced of his mechanical endoskeleton and his artificial intelligence. There was no other
explanation for his superhuman abilities and his constant stupor.
She looked up at him and smiled. “I have my own android,” she said. She took him by the hand and started
walking along the sandy bottom of the gorge.
It was difficult trudging along the sandy bottom of the gorge, especially with the cold penetrating through the
light jacket and with the earlier tiring, gut wrenching, energy draining events of the night—pumping adrenaline
through the arteries when running from the patrollers—fighting—fighting, running and now pushing through
the sand, on toward their goal, on to the mountain people. Viella was exhausted as she and the stranger finally
came to the base of the mountain. The gorge started at an incline narrowing as it progressed upward until about
a half mile up the mountain it became a long rockslide.
One look and she knew they couldn’t go that way, so she climbed out of the gorge, hands and feet on loose
rocks, and made for a group of trees a hundred paces ahead. They had made it across the Toral Plains an hour
and a half before sunrise, but it was still another forty miles until she came to Everette’s village, and she knew
she couldn’t go on without rest and sleep.
After drinking the cold, refreshing water at one of the toral springs she found an outcropping of rock, which