I'm too tired to work on what I was working on...but this came out of the depths of my subconscious. What do people think?
Safana gazed westward to the setting suns. Milor, the redder of the two, was about to dip below the horizon. Senph's smaller golden orb hung over and slightly south of her brother. The dance of evening had begun. It was Safana's favorite time of day. Her pupils were narrowed to slits against the light of the double star, but she did not wince from the pain. Soon enough her eyes would reflect the single tiny moon, Anatya.
Her bondmate-to-be, Akhil, came out to the balcony to join her. His tail curled around her waist in greeting. She kept watching the horizon, but her thoughts brushed gently against his with welcome.
~You wake early,~ he told her. ~I looked for you in our denchamber and could not find you.~ His powerful current surged through his tail and over her body, giving her a sense of his mind after the way of their people.
Milor's lower edge disappeared. Safana stroked one clawed hand over Akhil's tail. ~Forgive me,~ she thought. ~I love watching the littermates go to sleep for the night.~
She glanced at Akhil. His pupils were barely visible, squeezed shut against the uncomfortable light. His colors were the silver and white of unhappiness, but his thoughts were tender. ~There is nothing to forgive, bondmate-to-be. I worry that your scales will be burned by their rays. Will you come in soon?~
She let her scales flush into the colors of affirmation. She had not chosen Akhil to be her bond, but if the Line had given her the right to choose she might have picked him anyway. None in the Line had any doubt that he would be an excellent broodfather to her litter when she had one.
A wind blew, unusual for this latitude at this time of year. She felt her colors changing to concern. ~Are there reports of storms coming, Akhil?~ Safana asked, peering to the west. She saw no evidence of a cloud.
The taller male shivered, his frill rising and darkening as if challenged. He replied in the negative. ~The air feels wrong,~ he told her. His tail uncoiled from her waist, cutting off the flow of his thoughts. Safana felt her own tail twitching to follow him, to hide in the depths of the denkeep. Milor was almost totally below the horizon now, and Senph's edge was touching. It was the wrong time to be hiding. They should be readying themselves for the hunt. She felt her own vestigial frill twitching.
She began to turn toward the balcony entrance when a sound caught her attention. She looked back at the suns and her body went cold and pale. Something metallic threw off Senph's light in the sky, glinting a harsher silver than Anatya's soft glow. It looked a lot more like the ceremonial blade Safana would use to cut Akhil and herself during their union. It was unfamilar and unwelcome.
Sefana took a deep breath and began to bellow a high, piercing ululation. She could sense the denkeep coming to life and to arms at once. The invasion warning had not been given except in teaching during Sefana's lifetime. The denkeep was a peaceful place. Natural aggression among the People was kept at bay through ritualized combat and strict protocol. Still, the colony juveniles would welcome a chance to change their status through hunting and combat.
Sefana's colors were ash. If she was correct and the Line-memory led true, this would take more than bloodied frills and ritual blades to settle. She needed time and quiet to access the Memories. She only prayed that time would be granted her. She watched the metallic object go lower and lower, finally resting somewhere in the hunting grounds to the southwest.
Senph disappeared totally, leaving only Anatya's cool light for Sefana to see by. She felt more than saw or scented Akhil standing behind her, along with the DenMother.
"Did you see it, Mother?" she voiced without turning.
"I saw it, daughter. Does your Line have a name for it?"
Sefana hesitated. "I need time, Mother, to understand the Memories."
"You have until deepest dark, daughter. May the blessings of your Line go with you in your meditations." She heard the Mother turn to go.
"Mother?" she burst out, turning, her colors still whitened.
"Yes, daughter?" the DenMother asked calmly, stopping but not turning back.
"Do not send the juveniles to hunt this thing. The Memories are clear on that much. I know it will cost you to restrain them, but restrain them you must."
She heard Akhil's startled whistle. She was surprised at her own boldness.
The DenMother tilted her head in amusement. "So easily as that? You must be certain, daughter."
"I am, Mother, I am."
"Then go commune with your Line and I will think of a way to stall them after your cry." The DenMother disappeared back into the denkeep.
Sefana looked at her bondmate-to-be. His frill was still dark and congested. "I will guard you as you commune," he voiced gruffly. "No one will come near."
Sefana did not want to find these memories. For the first time, she dreaded being memorykeeper of her Line. She let her colors indicate affirmation and followed him into their denchamber, but the image of the silvery knife in the sky stayed with her all the way back.