This story was originally done to fit the theme of a song called The End is the Beginning.
Risi swung onto her warhound and listened to the darkness outside the glow of the camp lights. There would be guards at the edge of camp, but she’d have to risk it. Better to run and die than stay and be forced to kill innocents.
Her tail twitched with nervousness as she steered her mount through the coral pillars and toward the edge of camp. Even in the snow, the warhound walked silently with the feline grace common to his breed.
Risi gazed up at one of the coral mounds where a guard perched with his own warhound. The guard huddled against his warhound, trying to stay warm. He wasn’t looking in her direction, but the warhound spotted them and perked its ears.
Risi tensed, but the warhound didn’t yowl. It was trained to alert its master to enemies, not troops.
A blast of freezing wind hit her. Risi tried her best to wrap a cloak around herself, but her gliding skin still exposed her body heat to the cold. Chix weren’t meant to live on Tupra.
Her warhound shivered as he walked through the snow. He wasn’t meant for the cold either.
The darkness closed in on her as she moved farther from the camp. She missed the visible moon of Chibbink. Sure, Tupra had moons, but the constant cloud cover hid them from view, giving the planet nights so black no Chix could see.
She couldn’t risk a light, not yet, so she trusted her warhound to choose the path. He had decent night vision.
Something heavy moved in front of her. She tugged on her warhound’s mane, stopping him.
A light shined in her eyes. “Risi, what are you doing?” The voice belonged to Harku, her brother, who had ridden his own warhound between her and her way of escape.
Risi sat tall. “I won’t kill for these leaders.”
Harku lowered his light and lifted his right hand, exposing the two piercings in his gliding skin that stretched from his wrist to his ankle. “Obey the Powers ordained by God,” he said.
Risi forced her warhound forward. “Following God means resisting those who do evil, not killing for them.”
“You’ve seen the rank I gained by following the Powers.” Harku drew his pistol and aimed it at her. “Come back to camp, and I won’t say a word of this. Try to leave and I’ll kill you.”
Risi blinked back tears. “Then I’ll meet God with a clean soul.” She dug her knees into her warhound, who pushed past Harku’s warhound.
She waited for the bullet. It never came.
Risi glanced back. Harku sat frozen, tears glistening in his own eyes. Maybe he’d been able to kill Elba children, but he couldn’t gun down his own sister. Rishi pushed her warhound into a lope. She needed to be far away if Harku changed his mind. Then again, what did it matter? Her chances of survival on this planet were very slim.
God, my life is in your hands, she prayed as she rode.
After an hour of riding, gunshots met Risi’s ears. She turned on her mount to look back, toward the shots. The shooting continued, followed by the roars of Elbas and warhounds.
Risi charged back, toward the battle.
Dawn’s gray light came as she trotted toward camp. Her warhound was too tired to lope the whole way. By the time she reached the camp, all that was left were the dead and dying. She rode through them, searching for Harku.
Finally, she spotted the carcass of his red warhound. Her own warhound ran to it.
Risi sprang off and began searching. Harku lay next to the warhound, his body torn by Elba claws. Blood stained the snow around him.
She knelt at his side and grabbed his hand. “I’m here.”
“We lost.” He coughed. “You were right. Should’ve listened.”
“Christ will forgive you,” she said.
“I know.” His grip grew weaker. “Can you?”
Tears streamed down Risi’s face. “I already did.”