For Glory, For Empire
Bury My Heart
I did not know at first what to make of what that fool of a soldier was telling me or showing me. Something about man-rats were plentiful and invading our colony. I stared at him, and he stared back, then produced a decapitated head and flung it at my feet. It was the first man-rat I had seen, and in such an ignominious way.
He ran off shouting about men, weapons, armor, horses, and whatever else addles a mind like his. So, I picked up the man-rat head and saw features not unlike a Meseidiaren, eyes not unlike those of Commander Duellos. I got out my probes and calmly examined the freshly removed head while the “general” only created chaos with his barking and gesticulating.
Off they ran east, nearly every able-bodied person in the settlement with every weapon we had. Once they were gone I could concentrate. I noticed the brain tissue was scorched, damaged, but the skull has seemed intact above it. I had seen the same thing among psychic slaves in the Regal Islands, forced to do a master’s bidding. It seemed that it had been going on for some time, but had very recently intensified. Interesting and alarming.
I gathered Yu-Chen from her malaise, which I believe to be caused by the outcast freebooters led by her father. I am certain that her sub-conscious knows, but her waking thoughts deny this connection still.
I commandeered a boat and a two sailors to row. No time could be lost if what I suspected was true, and Yu-Chen’s abilities, modest as they are, would be key.
It took only half an hour to catch up, but that was too late. All along the southern bank, some the victim of predation by fish and small caiman already, were a village worth of dead man-rats of every age, and a few colonists as well.
“General” Lucat seems to be good enough at his job, having trained farmers and sailors into ersatz soldiers, capable of wiping out a cohort of once-intelligent creatures that attacked mindlessly and headlong. I am not too proud to report my failure of constitution at seeing the rat-mothers and rat-children slashed, bludgeoned and punctured.
We sought wounded, but all had been finished off. Two of our own were too wounded to walk back to camp, so took our place in the boat. Five farmers perished, one had his sweetmeats entirely gnawed out.
Yu-Chen, I, and my samples went back with the majority, while the general remained with some stout men to burn all of the dead that the carrion eaters had not gotten to yet.
It is the last day of Ueno. A Bloody Santua that I record here, and hope to forget very soon.