PART 3 – GLITOGLOING
DhaCoopo was obviously powering the sails of the strange craft of the Gossmo humos as the approached the shore on which the expedition had camped and now awaited their arrival.
Zarchia, Ambo and Aandt stood open mouthed and stared, Pursho went absolutely berserk and climbed to the top of various trees to get a better look at what was almost upon them. The Olders just waited patiently not seeming at all disturbed by what was occurring. Babblo didn’t know what to do but Leezbet and Catroons were overjoyed at the arrival of their friends and trading partners.
The craft came right to the very edge of the Blubbo and then on to the land a little way befor coming to a stop. The Shiveros rushed forward to greet the arrivals. Maribo, Zarchia , Floro and Newtobero also stepped forward. The older were to present themselves and those of their party to the strangers, Zarchia because she’s noticed a white blur clinging to the shoulders of the Gossmo humo on the lead craft who seemed to be in charge.
All of the visitors alighted from their craft as one. The strange force that had powered the craft now seemed to be holding them steady in their position. The leader approached the now madly jibbering Shivero Splats who made a strange sideways movement with the top portion of his body, obviously a sign of respect. Pursho didn’t appreciate this sudden movement at all and leapt the considerable distance to Zarchia’s shoulders almost knocking her off balance, so intent was she on watching the strange gyrations of the lead Gossmo humo.Pursho grinned evilly from his new vantage point and made feigning movements similar to that of his former host. Tomporic, for it was he who had been mentioned previously by the green-shelled Splats, gestured to the other Gossmos who came forward and placed items consisting mainly of strange fruits and herbs on the ground at the feet of the Shiveros and Babblo who had now joined them at the front of the group. They were obviously aware of the presence of the other humos but gave no initial indication of this. The spoke occasionally to the Shiveros and Babblo. Leezbet and Catroons obviously knew what was being said and Babblo was just so excited Zarcia doubted that she had even heard any of it. By listening very carefully, Zarchia thought that she had been able to understand the meanings of a few words and phrases. In some ways the Gossmo humos’ speech was not dissimilar to that of the Shiveros although a lot less shrill.
Luckily Grahoconno and the other older humos with the party had thought to bring trading item in which the Gossmos might be interested, with them. Maribo indicated to Catroons that she would like her to present the trade items to the island dwellers for their inspection.
The items obviously pleased Thomporic and his companions, and after a careful viewing of the items and a discussion amongst themselves, they brought out on fair sized piece of the Gossmo material as well as their original trade offerings. Ambo and Aandt had become absolutely transfixed by the sight of a very beautiful fe-Gossmo. She seemed to be Thomporic’s second-in-command. She was a lot shorter than the other island dwellers and also seemed a lot younger. She had fine cream coloured feather like forehead scales but the whole of the bottom part of her face seemed to be scale free.
Pursho, who by now had finished inspecting both lots of trading items and finding nothing of any interest to it, was not stretched across Leezbet’s green shell just a little above his face. It was scowling its disapproval of the whole episode. It was so unimpressed with the goods on display that it wanted to call the whole thing off. The Shiveros gyrated to zone ward then to Clupward and finally upwards towards the purple orb and in the process, the highly disgruntled Pursho fell to the ground. Finally the Splats had ended up with the tips of their shells pointing at the ground. This was the signal to the Gossmos that they had accepted the trade. Babblo didn’t really understand what was going on and just stood jibbering and babbling the whole time. Thomporic, the fe-Gossmo and three of the other island dwellers performed a similar ritual which involved much hand clapping, feet stamping and gyrating which ended with the touching of the shells of all three Splats by all of the members of the island humo party. The deal had been finalised.
Thomporic then walked immediately to the edge of the Blubbo and sat facing the members of the expedition. The two Shiveos followed suit and sat on the ground facing him. Much discussion then proceeded while the remainder of the Gossmo humos loaded the items they had gotten from the trade on to their craft.
The youngers had been impressed by the sensitivity of the Soldats during the trading ceremony. They had hardly blinked an eye scale and not a weapon was in sight. The members of the expedition decided to also load the items they had received in exchange, which consisted of fruit and herb and the Gossmo material in to their hovos.
Pursho had by now completely lost interest in the proceedings and was way out in the distance gliding on the Blubbo and making strangling shrill noises which carried and echoed in the stillness over the Sea of pink. Maybe they were shouts of hunger. Pursho always seemed to be hungry.
My talking and negotiating was by the trio seated by the gloing pink of the Colossal Sea. After some time, the seated Splats invited Babblo to join. She was formally introduced to Thomporic After much more talking and jibbering, all those seated stood and, with the Splats slightly ahead, approached the party of humos. Three of his compatriots including the fe-Gossmo joined him.
The humos were then greeted by the Gossmo leader. Leezbet and Catroons speaking quite slowly and clearly for Splats introduced him firstly to Maribo, then Floro, Newtobero, the other Soldats and finally the youngers. The Pursho obviously needed no introduction. But it now rejoined the party anyway and sat scowling at proceedings from the top of the lead hovo.
Thoporic was friendly but it soon became quite obvious that he considered himself to be in charge of proceedings. His speech partially translated by the Shiveros and partly understood in its context by the humos was a greeting but it also carried a warning. The Gossmo humos believe in peace and fairness but would not tolerate ones from Zettaward trying to take their lands from them. Their lands were for them alone but they would tolerate a visit from a select delegation. Unbeknown to the new settlers, the Gossmo humos had, from a distance been keeping an eye of the activities of the hovo surveys and the construction of Willosid. This had caused some alarm but as yet the Gossmos hadn’t felt threatened enough to act. None of the Gossmo humos now lived on the mainland, at least not to the knowledge of Thomporic. All lived on islands out in the Blubbo Sea. Strange creatures like the Weinisplats were known to exist on island way out in the Sea but there had been little contact between them and the Gossmos.
The Gossmo leader indicated that if any wished to travel with them, there was room on their craft for three humos. Return transport would be provide and the safety of the visitors would be personally guaranteed by the leader himself. Floro, Maribo and Newtobero asked leave of Thomporic and the other Gossmos to go and discuss the matter with their party. Floro decided right from the start to push her authority. Her important work at Willosid was at the stage where it could be managed successfully by others. It was important that she go on the voyage as a representative of Grahoprendo. Grahoconno being most probably descended from the same race as the Gossmos would also go. Although Thoomporic had personally guaranteed their safety, those left behind would feel more secure having a Soldat as a member of the Island party. Thomporic had indicated that none of the Soldat weapons would be permitted to be taken on the Gossmo craft. This left the third place on the voyage. Someone was needed with the ability to overcome the language difficulties. Maribo had decided that she must return with the three Weinisplats to the Shivero encampment as had been arranged with their leader. Babblo had to go with Leezbet and Catroons as she’d agreed to stay with the Shiveros and to teach them her language and the customs and skills of her folk. Nicosimo and Colobucho would accompany them as protection. The only other person present with enough skill for the job was Zarchia and she was overjoyed when she was chosen to fill the final place.
Aandt and Ambo were to return to Willosid with Newtobero to report to Grahoprendo and advise him of the developments so he could start planning future strategy but most definitely Newtobero would insist that a party was sent to set up a camp on this spot where the meeting had taken place to await the reurn of Floro, Grahoconno and Zarchia and most probably the Pursho. Wither the Pursho went was up to the whims of this fickle creature.
The top Soldat was not sure if he’d be able to return personally but he was sure Ambo and Aandt would be allowed to return with the expedition. Hopefully Nangriffo and Blamaro would by then, have returned from there task regarding the Shiveros and the Lyoungos and be available to take charge of the security of the camp and its surrounds.
Spinning and weaving with a slight bouncing movement, the crafts glided across the still, pink surface of the Blubbo. Zarchia still wondered if there were unimaginable monsters lurking below but with the presence of the Gossmo humos she felt safe and didn’t really worry. The thrill of the adventure was too great. Because of the effect of the force that was powering the sails, the humos found themselves in an almost prone position staring orbwards for most of the time. Zarchia, from time to time, caught a glimpse of the Pursho with a very flattened looking face and body, gripping tightly to Thomporic’s left shoulder, it too being forced to succumb to the forces being exerted on it by the Dhacoopo in the sails.
The remainder of the humos left behind and the three Splats standing at the edge of the Blubbo reminded Zarchia as looked back, of tiny trree Lubs that she had often seen in the brush near Zarbal. In the few backward glances that she managed, she imagined that she could see two of the blobs waving and guessed it was probably Ambo and Aandt, both most probably wishing that they were accompanying her on the trip to the Gossmo Island.
Floro seemed more exhilarated than Zarchia had ever seen her. Her feather-like white forehead scales were flattened right back to her blue skin; her lightly scaled eyelids almost closeder four rows of light purple mouth-scales gleaming in the matching light of the purple orb.
Grahoconno was a passenger on another craft piloted by the young fe-Gossmo. She had been introduced to him before they left with Zarchia translating as well as she could. He name, as close as Zarchia could pronounce it, was Sandodenna. The Soldat at first thought that she might have been Thomporic’s daughter but when awkwardly questioned by Zarchia on the matter, had indicated that this was not the case.
Soon the land behind had disappeared completely and Zarchia realised they were completely surrounded by the pink Blubbo; pink to all the horizons. It soon became very dark with the setting of the purple orb but onward the craft pressed. The guiding force in the sails was completely in charge of their direction and speed. The Gosmo craft obviously didn’t contain artificial light sources and the humos, in the haste of their departure, neglected to bring any of theirs with them.
There was nothingness in Zarchia’s sight except the gleam in the eyes of the nearby Thomporic. Being forced to look upward most of the time, Zarchia noticed the sky zone more clearly than she ever had before. She, when she screwed her eyes up tightly and squinted through the enclosing scales, she could make out faint, far away points of yello, red and purple. And then, as the craft on which she travelled dipped and swayed, she caught a glimpse of two fuzzy quarter orbs like huge roundos hanging way above and shimmering in the uplight and down drag left by the vessels
Thomporic had hardly uttered a word since leaving the edge of firm ground, and the two fe-Gossmos aboard had barely even made eye contact. They were completely absorbed in their tasks.
There were no stops for food or water and their passage was swift. The hunger pangs and dryness in her throat were somewhat abated by the strangeness and the excitement of her situation.
And then the breeze came up, not Dhacoopo but a normal breeze similar to those experienced on land and in the quasi light, Zarchia could just make out Floro’s forehead scales streaming out in the direction from which they had come. Pursho, obviously now exhausted by his many exploits was now clinging to her right leg. And ever onward the crafts glided and bounded.
Grahoconno on one of the other craft, was almost asleep despite his excitement. The motion of the vessel was something he was having trouble resisting. He was totally astounded when a thing about three human hands long leapt from the Blubbo right next to the part of the craft on which he was seated. It went straight orbwards and then fell back disappearing beneath the pink surface with barely a ripple. The Gossmo humos on board also noticed its trajectory but hardly reacted at all. It was obviously a normal occurrence. The Soldat really didn’t want to know any more about it. He hoped that now it was gone, it, or its fellows, would not reappear.
The craft slowed somewhat with the dawning of the new purple orb and food and water were able to be consumed. The roundos and other strange shaped fruits were sweet and delicious but some of the herbs, like those from the mainland were either very bitter or quite tasteless. Pursho was so bloated after over eating once again, that Zarchia was frightened it would overbalance the slow moving craft and fling I’s occupants into the Blubbo. As the orb rose higher, the humos found the glare from the seemingly never ending pinkness almost blinding. Squinting back into the glare behind them, Zarchia could distinguish no land at all. The craft started to pick up speed once again. After some considerable time, She, through her cupped, scaly hands, thought she could detect just a pinprick og brown in the Sea of pink nothingness.
Zigging and zagging and leaving almost no trace of their progress on the Blubbo surfacxe, onward the Gossmo craft sped and eventually the small spot of brown grew into a dot and then expanded into a triangular shape and before they were quite prepared for it, they found themselves confronted by the precipitous side of a large hill which seemed to extend all along the side of the island they were fast approaching.
The craft seemed to pick up more power from Dhacoopo by sailing so close to the tall island peak that now dominated all sight.
“Otobarr,” said Thomporic pointing backwards as the vessels with the crew and cargo of humos, traded goods and Pursho sped off into the endless pink once again. Zarchia and Floro were unsure if he meant this was the name of the huge peak or the island on which it was located or both but obviously it was not their destination. It was soon long gone from sight anyway. Zarchia and her fe-older had lost all sense of direction during the non-orb but Grahoconno’s inner sense seemed to be drawing a map of their progress in his mind. It was like he was drawing on some previous existence where he had visited this Sea and skimmed over its surface as the craft on which he was a passenger was now doing.
Finally Thompric call a stop once again for food and water. The Blubbo here while still being a deep pink was quite translucent and in patches almost transparent. After eating and drinking, all three humos glanced downwards into the seemingly bottomless depts of the great Sea. They weren’t really surprised that once they had focused their eyes by repeatedly blinking their rim scales, the became aware that below the pink surface the Blubbo was home to a myriad of creatures of all shapes under the orbs, most of which were almost colourless making it difficult to follow their progress.
Floro with Zarchia’s help with the language, asked Thomoric how deep the Blubbo was in this region and his expression seemed to express endlessness. The Sea was a huge, almost bottomless bowl of Blubbo. The fe-older took a large yello roundo, reached over the side as far as her arms would reach, and carefully released it just above the shimmering pink surface. All eyes followed its release and its descending progress, not one scaly eyelid blinking. Down and down it sank with a slightly swirling motion, the pink luminescence occasionally catching the occasional bubble of oxygen that had attached itself to the sinking fruit. Zarchia caught a glimpse of motion just below its descending path and saw a long, thin form darting. It didn’t seem to be interested in the fruit but was just trying to avoid it. But suddenly the end opposite the one that Zarchia had thought was its head swung open as if on hinges, exposing countless rows of scales packed very tightly in the hollow. Zarchia couldn’t detect anything that resembled a tongue in the very small amount of time she had to view the creature’s mouth. Both the creature and then the roundo disappeared in a violent streak of motion. Even Pursho was shocked and surprised by the creature’s speed and the violent way it gathered the fruit. It opened its mouth in fright exposing its flashing red mouth-scales and gave a quite soul destroying bellow of despair. The Gossmo humos had watched but with little interest and now Dhacoopo picked up considerably and the three craft sped from the site. Whatever the creature had been, it was obviously not one that worried the Gossmos.
The endless pink, after the moment of interest provided by the creature and the roundo, soon became quite monotonous. Zarchia was almost starting to wish that she had elected to go back to Willosid with Ambo and Aandt. Then quite suddenly, the vessels stopped again. Thomporic had obviously realised that Zarchia and the sullen looking Pursho that was now glued to the topmost point of the craft were becoming annoyed by the much longer than expected journey. He reassured all that this would be their last stop for food and water before the Gossmo Isle was reached. He pronounced the Gossmo name for the isle and it lingered for a while on the light breeze and then seemed to waft orbwards before it disappeared completely.
“Binga!” was the closest that Zarchia could translate the sound in her own tongue, but there had seemed to be a sound or syllable before this that her brain hadn’t quite registered.
During the stillness of most of the journey, very little sound had been heard. Thus the strange scraping noise was like an invader creeping into their cocoon of pink. It came floating over the Blubbo from a point not too far distant disturbing the serene quietness but it was not a worrying sound that indicated danger. The Gossmo Humos must have noticed it sometime before their guests and had become quite excited. Pursho had also obviously picked up the sound at the same time as the Gossmos for he’d almost capsized the craft in his haste to get back to the vessel’s highest point.
Glancing ahead, Zarchia was surprised to see that a landform had appeared almost miraculously before them. Slight tapering hills came almost down to the Blubbo edge and there was a small area of flat land stretching as far as the eye could see. One very high hill could be seen some way inland, it’s peak covered by an orange mist and cloud. And the trees; they were much taller than any Zarchia had seen before and most were very green, as green of the torrents of water that had fallen from orbwards at the start of their journey from Willosid. These trees had dark green trunks and branches and very bright light green fluro leaves, They would make perfect camouflage for the Shiveos. They would be almost undetectable under the foliage. Zarchia also noted that Floro was also staring with riveted eyes and jaws open exposing her mouth scales. She could see Grahoconno in a similar pose on the nearby Gossmo vessel.
The noise they had heard was being made by a welcoming party of the Island humos, many of whom were lined up along the edge of the Blubbo and more could be seen sitting in and swinging from the trees. The sound was their chant of welcome home to their sailors. Small island craft could be seen departing from a cove not too far distant and setting out on a course to intercept the arrivals. As they approached, Zarchia could see that the lead vessel was piloted by a tall willowy, fe-Islander who was clothed a covero of shimmering bright blue Gossmo. Flor had seen her too and whispered to Zarchia that she must be Krugok, Thompric’s co-leader of the Island humos.
“Yohayo!” was her call of welcome which echoed loudly above all of the other sounds. All of the chanting of the other Gossmo humos stopped instantly as if by command.
The approaching vessels quickly reached the incoming craft and all docked together in the cove The vessels once they’d docked, all seemed to bond together without the need for moorings. Dhacoopo at work again. Introduction were made, welcomes given, the crews and guest disembarked on the firm brown soil of the island.
The humos were all quite wobbly on their legs after the long voyage. “Blubbo legs,” thought Zarchia. They were treated as honoured guests by the Gossmos. The glanced around at the scene which had presented itself to them and the spectacle made their eye scales open wide. No one had noticed that the Pursho was no longer with them until they saw hanging by its two back feet from the branch of a nearby tree giving everyone in sight a close view of its red mouth scales. Its joy however was short lived. An even stranger, slightly smaller creature appeared on the branch directly behind the clowning Pursho The newcomer was covered in white, brown and grey scales and feathers, and like the Pursho had six legs. The white grinner was totally oblivious to its presence until it clambered onto its flabby body and dangled from Pursho’s midfeet. The surprise and the extra weight almost caused it to lose its grip on the tree branch. For a moment Zarchia thought it was gone. The new creature then loosened its grip on Pursho just in time, swung slightly and zipped through the air doing a triple back flip before landing lightly near Thomporic’s feet. It apparently was a Cando, a tricky but friendly creature and many like it shared the island with the Gossmo humos. Pursho, having regained its balance, and not to be outdone, tried for a similar impressive landing but only managed half a turn before it hit the ground with a thud and ended up as a crumpled mess at Zarchia’s feet. It scowled at the Cando, slouced around shaking itself for awhile and then sat on Floro’s shoulders glaring at everything in sight.
Obviously inspired by this frivolity, Thomporic himself skimmed lithely to mid point of the only red tree they could see growing along the shoreline. It looked strangely out of place amongst all the green. And then he dove straight downwards with forehead, leg and hand scales completely flattened. He entered the Blubbo very cleanly, his motion hardly causing a ripple on the smooth pink surface and he went down, down, down into the depths, only to rise as quickly and to shoot into the air, grabbing a branch of the try from which he’d flown in passing and then landing deftly on the ground. Everyone clapped and the Gopssmos and Candos all made very strange sounds of pleasure. The good humour at the arrival of the mainland humos and the Pursho had really broken the ice and it looked hopefully like the relationship between the two groups of humos would be friendly and bring prosperity to all involved.
They were just a little way into the tall trees when they first noticed them. Glancing upward to spy the once again agile Pursho, at least in its mind, who was pursuing a group of six chattering Candos. It was going to show them who was the ruler of the trees. But their interest in its antics were short lived. Zarchia was the first to spy the very odd looking, large tree nets glittogloing in the dappled purple light of the solo orb. Sheer and beautiful Gossmo strung between the trees as far as the eye could see. It glowed of a multitude of colours and from certain angles, all of the colours at once, but it was translucent and the tree tops and branches could still be seen distinctly through the fabric. They cast only a slight shadow beneath their Gossmo surfaces. Many seemed to have climbos attached in a few places and there were swing like chairs which ascended and descended on thin but obviously very strong Gossmo ropes.
A sudden shriek of dismay brought them all to their senses very quickly. Rather than the Pursho doing things too horrible to mention to the Candos, the opposite was the case. Pursho was clinging to a dark green branch with two Candos seated on its back twisting its ears and face scales with such vigour that water was streaming from its eyes. A few white feathers were also floating slowly towards the ground. The other Candos were nearby making silly noises and pulling quite frightening faces obviously awaiting their turn for fun Cando style. Luckily for it, the swiftly climbing agile form of their former crew member, Sandodenna had come to its rescue, scolded the jeering Candos, and swung with its still howling form up into the Gossmo nets where the wailing soon ceased.
Thomporic and Krugok, indicated that, if they wished, they too could climb up one of the Gossmo tree trails into the Glitogloing fascination above them. They wished. The climb was breathtakingly exhilarating. The sight that greeted them was unbelievable. Not one of the humos had ever imagined something so exquisite and uniquely beautiful could exist. The Gossmo net blanket stretched over a very great distance and hundreds of very thick tree trunks were ensnared in its completeness. Those not used as entrances or exits had layers of Gossmo stretched between them making areas for eating, storing food, cleansing and sleeping. Some of the areas for sleeping were composed of much denser and darker material. Krugok, told them through signs and some words that were similar to those of The Shiveros that they understood, that this was so it was possible to get quality sleep during the double orb. Sleeping during these periods was very difficult for the Gossmos and without these special sleep capsules, they would become very tired and lethargic.
Strange shaped large green containers, most green in colour to blend in with nthe surroundings, colud be seen hanging from many trees. These were for the collection and supply of water which usually fell from the sky during the double orb. Glancing upwards, Zarchia noticed that there was a second, much higher level of Gossmo covering the whole of the tree settlo. This was protection against the deluge and also from extremely large featheros that populated this region and might be tempted to try for a Cando or even a young humo. It was also a protection from the strong, sometimes burning rays from the purple orb. Large funnel shapes were to be seen here and there and from these the water ran into the large, strangely shaped containos which were suspended between the two layers of Gossmo. To Zarchia, they somewhat resembled a large, fattened but somewhat squashed Cando [or maybe even a Pursho]. It had disappeared completely from sight once again or so Zarchia had at first thought until she heard a squeal of utter delight coming from not too far distant. Pursho was in heaven was where it was. Sandodenna was lying stretched out full length relaxing and the white nuisance was lying upside down along her back, all six legs pointing orbwards and making the most delighted sounds of pleasure heard under any orb.
Walking on the Gossmo surface of the nets strung mainly between dark green tree trucks was an eerie experience but one which filled the mainland humos with feelings of great pleasure and inner peace. The Gossmo humos were able to walk completely upright as if on land. The Gossmo nets initially at least, had a slippery feel to the newcomers. They rose in small wave-like motions when they tried to walk. Zarchia at first felt like she was trying to walk on the surface of the Blubbo itself and was forced to move very slowly in an almost hunched crawl. Floro had similar feeling and difficulties but Grahoconno seemed to be managing surprisingly well. After some time, Zarchia felt herself becoming more comfortable with the surface under foot and took on a more upright stance and realised she was now only walking with a slight stoop. Quite a few branches with bright flurogreen leaves remained scattered throughout the structure and these moved ever so slightly either by breeze further up in the trees or the mysterious power of Dhacoopo. The air, although seeming fairly still, was circulating throughout the whole structure making it pleasantly cool and the air sweetly fresh.
After a guided tour of part of the Gossmo tree nets, it was decided to rest, cleanse and have food and water. They had only thus far seen a small part of the settlo but it alone was at least as large as Zarchia and Floro’s home settlo of Zarbal.
Whilst sitting and eating quite delicious herbs and fruit, Zarchia was alarmed to see that the mischievous Pursho had managed to climb up an on to the very top layer of the structure. She was frightened that this layer might not be as strong and not be able to withatand the creatures antics, but the Gossmos just pointed and laughed and made comments in their lyrical language. Pursho had obviously turned its attention to hunting down delinquent Cando. It was clearly still quit miffed at being bettered by these island dwellers. It was then that Floro pointed out the small brown scaly balls hanging from the tree branches that supported the topmost layer. Thomporic explained that these were Chrysados and when they were ripe, almost full sized Candos would emerge from them.
After a short rest during which the Gossmo leaders retired to attend to other matters, there were many discussions and stories were swapped as best they could with the language difficulties. The Gossmo humos were just as interested in the mainland humos as they were in them. Zarchia was deeply honoured when she was presented with coveros and a carryo made from splendid sheer Gossmo. Floro and Grahoconno also received gifts. More fruit and water were brought. Much of the fruit was of very strange shades of colours and of very peculiar shapes especially to the mainland humos. Most fruits on the mainland were roundos. They were introduced to so many of the Islanders that it was virtually impossible to remember their names. Among those Zarchia could remember were Willojoho whose name reminder her of the settlo of Willosid. He had funny dark brown scales running in lines from beneath his nose on both sides of his face. Another was Padrummo who wore a Gossmo head covero which proved a constant source of bedevilment to the Pursho during their long discussions. And then there was Cunnophil an almost totally white scaled Gossmo who got very excited at some of the stories being shared and made such erotic rhythmic patterns with his legs and arms that Zarchia feared that the Gossmo net holding them might overturn. But fortunately Gossmo nets can stand much greater stress than this so they were safe. Ktickello came late to the conversation having been engaged elsewhere with the craft on which they had arrived. She was a beautiful looking humo with large strands of golden scales tied behind her ears with glittogloing strands of Gossmo. She was accompanied by Perrosm who was the tallest and also the roundest Islanders they had yet met. She had jet black sparkling forehead scales set against her pale creamy skin. Last of all of those Zarchia distinctly remembered was Kerjonno who had been the pilot of the third craft on their journey. Once they had landed, all three mainlanders had been surprised by her long scaleless legs and the speed at which she could run and her ability to scale the Gossmo ladders very quickly. By the way she was treated by the other Gossmos, Floro thought that she must be the next most important leader after Thomporic and Krugok.
And gradually their speech seemed to become more easily understood. They had many stories to tell of orbs long ago before any settlers had arrived from Zettaward; they told of the huge destructive war with the serpents or serphos as the islanders called them during which many of the Larward humos were killed before the serphos were either killed or driven away. They told of the other isles nearby and far away, some of which were populated by other descendents of their race of humos.
Zarchia wanted to hear more about the islands further out on which she had heard that there were creatures similar to the Weinisplats. All the mainlanders were surprised when Sandodenna burst forth with a mouth-scale rattle from aeons gone by. It told the tale of the Shiveros and their trials at the hands of swarms of huge black featheros. These creatures were so large that they even had posed some threat to unwary humos. They had also devastated many of the colonies of Candos.. Padrummo joined in the tale with a low rumble that came from deep within his chest causing his head covero to rise and fall in a peculiar manner which set the silly Pursho off again. It seemed fascinated by this Gossmo head covero. Sandodenna’s lilting, ethereal voice was joined by a strange wailing sound produced by an unusual musical instrument that Ktickello had produced, her golden head scales bouncing in time with the chant. Cunnophil departed and returned with a most unusual mechanism consisting of tightly woven strands of Gossmo and when he moved his arms apart, the air flowed into the gaps created producing a low, rolling melodic sound. Grahocoono joined in the mouth-scale rattle. Obviously the chant had jogged some long forgotten part of his memory. Zarchia was surprised how well she was able to follow the tale of the Shiveos and the giant featheros.
And then it was rest time. Naturally not all of the Gossmos slept at the one time. There was still considerable activity occurring in the Gossmo nets and quite a few had rejoined their compatriots working at ground level and on the vessels some of which were being prepared for voyages to other islands.
Zarchia’s sleep was uneasy and filled with images of the past from the stories that had been told and mouth-scale rattled and of her own trip to the island. Memories became dreams and dreams became memories and the non orb time passed. She awoke just in time to witness a fleeet of craft setting off on a mission to quite distant points in the great Sea. Pursho had been quite exhausted after its escapades with the bothersome Candos and had spent most of the rest time clamped to her left leg. It was now awake and promptly disappeared. With the arrival of the purple orbs, the pink Sea close to the island turned an astonishingly deep rose pink colour. The newcomers climbed from the Gossmo nets and stood on the shore gazing after the departing vessels.
The party members who had been left behind on the mainland had also gazed for a long time at the three departing Gosmo vessels that carried Zarchia, Floro, Grahoconno and the Pursho. Ambo and Aandt finally grew tired of waving. All of the humos and even the Splats secretly wished that they had been included in the voyage of adventure.
But it was soon back to business for the remainder of the expedition. After loading a considerable amount of food and water on to two of the hovos, Maribo, the three Splats with Nicosimo and Colobucho along for protection set of to reconnect with the Shiveo tribe and to hopefully make contact with the Soldat patrol sent to protect them and to chase of any lingering Lyoungos from the area. Ambo and Aandt and even an old Soldat like Newtobero felt a bit down to be returning to Willosid without the remainder of their friends. After some time the purple Orb finished its reign of the sky and it was decided to camp during the period of darkness. Guard duty was split three ways with Newtobero taking the first.
It was during Ambo’s stint that it suddenly became very cold and the temperature proceeded to drop even further. The others awoke shivering just as a bitter and strong wind began to blow quite violently. Luckily they were able to make it in to the relative safety of the hovo. Luckily all materials not necessary for the rest period had been packed away ready for an early start. They had been lucky. The gusts of wind that followed their arrival in the cocoon of the hovo would have been strong enough to blow a full grown humo like Newtoberro off his feet and carry him a fair distance. Luckily the Pursho and the Splats were no loner present. Who knows what fate might have befallen them. The Soldat had to power up the hovo, not to travel, but just to stabilize it in the one spot. Travel would have been impossible and Newtobero was too experienced to be tempted to try anything so silly. All the available coveros were shared between the three. Even with the units usually efficient heating system running at full power, it was still bitterly cold. Tree branches, shrubs and even stones and rocks pounded on the outer casing of the machine creating a mind blowing din inside its confines.. Looking out through the driver’s viewing shield, it was just about impossible to distinguish any features of the landscape. So much dust had been stirred up by this air current which Newtobero thought might in someway be related to Dhacoopo which itself must be generated by temperature changes in the vast area of pink Blubbo. The whole of the view was just a sheet of brownish grey dust. No even a minute piece of pink could be seen. Luckily they were not parked under any large trees which would certainly have come tumbling down and could have quite easily crushed the hovo. They wondered how far to Zettaward the party with the Splats had progressed. Hopefully they were by now far enough away from the Blubbo to have avoided at least the worst part of this. It was possible it had reached further out into the Sea. The craft with Zarchia, Floro and Grahoconno as passengers would also hopefully be out of range. The Gossmos were probably used to this strange wind and had means to counter it.
Eventually the wind eased considerably. It took the efforts of all three to open the door so jammed was it with dust, branch particles and stones. One large branch had been wedged solidly against it and it took a few bursts from Newtobero’s weapon and the combined strength of all three to move it.. It was now almost new orb time but it was still pitch dark. There was still much dust and other debris swirling high in the sky. Every step they took stirred up a swirl of the very fine much making it difficult to keep their eyes open and also to breathe. Reluctantly they returned to the hovo. And waited dejectedly for the orb to rise and for the air to settle. It must have been mid orb by they judged this to be the case. It had warmed some but it was still very chilly. Dust was still hanging high in the air and the tops of the tall trees could not be seen at all. They had had a very unappetising meal early orb in the hovo. They were all pretty grimy from the fine filmy dust. It had penetrated everything in the hovo and those things that had been left out had either blown far away or been rendered completely useless. It was just about impossible to cleanse themselves.
It was quite a difficult and time and energy consuming task to try to clear as much debris and dust from around the hovo. Tree branches were interlocked and intertwined and often covered by thick piles of dust and stones. Now that visibility was better, Ambo and Aandt turned their gaze to the Blubbo to Larward of their position. They were amazed to see that the surface was no longer flat and calm but covered in stationary ripples about as high as the youngers themselves. It looked like the sea had been frozen in this stance.
They left not long afterwards. The trip back to Willosid passed without incident. The two youngers badly missed Zarchia’s company and the stupid mischief of the Pursho. Ambo closed his eyes and thought that when he opened them the Pursho would reappear but it was not so. This time it was too far away and across a medium it could not skim.
Once they reached the settlo, it soon became apparent that it, too, had borne the brunt of the wind and dust. Everything looked a horrible dull grey, brown colour and everywhere humos were engaged in the tasks of clearing the debris and trying to eradicate the dust and dirt from accommodation and offices.
Newtoberro sighted Johboyo, the foodo, helping with the clean up and decided to leave Ambo and Aandt in his care whilst he reported to Grahoprendo and also took control of the Soldat part of the huge tasks of cleansing the settlo.
The youngers barely recognised the foodo as his usually bright black and white scales were completely covered in murky grey particles of dust. Only his eyes stood out from grit clogged eye-rim scales. It was now almost non orb and her, in the settlo, there was still considerable dust suspended in the air making breathing difficult especially when doing heavy manual labour. It was difficult to make out the Blubbo surface at all to see if it, too, had the strange ripple-like effect.
The two youngers certainly worked for their food. It was half way through the dark period before Johboyo, who had turned out to be quite a hard task master, allowed them to finish and to accompany him to his quarters for food, water, cleansing and rest.
And then they both slept the deepest, completely dreamless sleeps of the totally exhausted.
It was well into the new purple orb when they awoke. Johboyo had departed and they were alone in the eerily quiet shelto. They cleansed, found food and water and looked out. Every Soldat, worko and even the Midos and Tops were all out at work shifting debris and dust. Some were doing patch up repairs on structures here and there. Ambo and Aandt felt a bit guilty at they long sleep and quickly left the shelto and found Johboyo who instantly found them tasks.
It ended up taking three more full purple orbs before Grahoprendo was satisfied that the cleansing of Willosid had been satisfactorily completed. There were still numerous small repairs to be carried out and also a few quite major ones. Four offices and three residential sheltos had been completely destroyed by the wind. Even though they were completely exhausted, the youngers thoughts turned to Zarchia and Floro and the Gossmos, the missed white pest and Maribo and the Weinisplats. Aandt would have like to have gone with the company searching for Lyoungos. Ambo longed to walk along the long stretches of Blubbo shoreline away from the confines of Willosid and to venture to the islands. He thought he’d like to live on the Gosmo island for a long period of time and to learn their language and customs.
Even Johboyo had been exhausted during the clean up and he had seemed quite depressed. There had been no tales told or mouth-scale rattles enjoyed. The next orb period had been granted as a rest day except for those unlucky enough to have been rostered on for the still important and urgent tasks that hadn’t yet been completed.
Eventually Ambo and Aandt wandered down to the Blubbo shoreline a little distant from the settlo. They were surprised at the level of activity here as there was still so much to be done in Willosid itself. They were even more surprised to see a fleet of about thirty small hovos out on the Blubbo surface itself. Newtobero could be clearly seen at the controls of the lead vehicle which was cutting strangely shaped patterns in the pink surface. Ambo was even more surprised when Grahoprendo himself skirted by close to their position piloting a small and very strangely constructed machine. He gave them a wave and a smile. The small hovos had evidently been modified to operate on the Blubbo surface without sinking into the globular pinkness.
After watching the proceeding for a half an orb, Newtobero finally pulled into the side of the Blubbo near the youngers and asked if they would like to have a try at controlling one of the new hovos and do a bit of Blubbo surfing. It took quite a bit of trial close to the edge and quite a bit of instruction from the Soldat who had now been joined by Grahoprendo. It proved to be a lot more difficult to propel the machines on the liquid Blubbo than on the firm land but they both managed the task fairly well. It was a lot more exhilarating not to have a solid surface beneath you. Fortunately the Pursho hadn’t been present or they would most likely have spent a lot of time falling into the pinkness.
Aandt’s leg, once again started to give him trouble, and he had to retire. Hardly a ripple was being made on the Blubbo surface by the humo machines. No life forms apart from the humos and a few very small featheros had been spotted during the trials. Ambo only fell of twice more before Grahoprendo signalled that it was time to cease for the orb. He was buoyed up fairly well but it was much easier to sink her than in the oxygen filled pink of Blubbo 1 and Blubbo 2. Ambo didn’t enjoy his time spent in the Blubbo after his falls from the hovo. He had never enjoyed the feel of Blubbo on his skin ans scales and so had rarely ventured in on his stays at Blubbo 1 usually with Zarchia. There was much more drag on the hovos travelling through the Blubbo than skirting along on land so that the charge in the power packs did not last nearly as long.
Everyone was much more relaxed that non orb and Newtobero an Grahoprendo came around to Johboyo’s shelto to discuss plans with the youngers. The Soldat was starting to worry about Blamaro and her party as nothing had been heard from them in quite a while. Maybe they were still out of contact range. He had expected their arrival back in Willosid before now.
After the serious discussion ended, the tonal notes started once again and the tone of all present lightened. Johboyo was in fine form and as well as mouth-scale rattling, he thumped on an instrument mainly composed of very fine wires. As he proceeded his throat sound became more guttural. Another worko who shared the shelto with him and was names Mattdav pounded on an empty containo producing quite amazing rhythmic patterns. Apart from Johboyo, there were no really first class mouth-scale rattlers present but all tried their best. After they had had their fill, attention switched to the stories told mainly by Newtobero and Johboyo. They were filled with excitement but also contained a fair dollop of humour. During this period of storytelling, the youngers learned that a much larger hovo craft was being prepared to travel on the Blubbo surface. It would probably be ready for trials some time during the next yello orb.
Newtobero assigned a young fe-Soldat named Fairclda to escort them around the settlo whilst the composition of the party to return to the place of waiting was finalised. She had also become quite an expert on the small modified hovos and would give the youngers further lessons.
Blamaro, Nangriffo and party arrived back from their mission just after the setting of the purple orb. They were all quite exhausted. Their task of driving the Lyoungos fro the territory occupied by the Shiveros had proved much more difficult and dangerous than had been expected. Finding the creatures had become the first hurdle to be overcome. After finding the green-shelled group easily enough and checking on their safety, the Soldats headed to Clupward checking anything that seemed out of place. Nothing much to indicate the presence of the dangerous creatures had been found after a considerable distance had been covered so the patrol had turned to Zettaward. The sight of strange large mounds had instantly caught their attention. They stopped quite abruptly and carefully dismounted with their weapons armed for instant action. They were repulsed to find that the mounds contained the bones and other body parts of slaughtered creatures. These include several green Weinisplat shells which saddened them most of all.
And then the Lyoungos were on them, attacking suddenly and with great ferocity. The front was the lead hovo was quite badly damaged and one even got close enough to badly scratch Nangriffo’s right shoulder and leg. The creatures were very dexterous and moved like lightning, zigging and zagging out of the lines of fire of the Soldats’ weapons. The few hits they managed on the creatures were mainly ineffective but eventually the sustained firepower forced the creatures to break off their attack and fled quickly to Zettawards heading in the direction of the mist filled Glurpo. The second hovo gave chase whilst the damaged lead hovo limped behind it as best as the pilot could manage. The Lyoungos had great speed and also knew the countryside thus giving them a considerable advantage over those new to this environment. Soon they had all vanished and the Soldats thought they were virtually chasing ghosts. Skilfully piloted by Blamaro, the damage hovo managed to pick up a little speed but considerable damage had been done to the front stabilisers making the machine extremely difficult to control. She decided to return to the mounds of bones and shells and await the return of the lead hovo. Nangriffo’s shoulder and leg were by now causing her considerable pain so after circling for some time, they too gave up and returned to the foulness.
Obviously quite a few Weinisplats and other creatures had perished at the claws and mouth scales of these demons. There were the remains of the carcases of many different featheros from minute to absolutely huge. Fortunately they weren’t able to find any humo bones.
They decided to cover as much ground away from the accursed spot before they made camp. Still the guards posted were on full alert. The camp site was on the top of a ridge with good all round visibility. Even though they were now a considerable distance away, the creature’s plunder mounds were still clearly visible in the still air. Even the hardened Soldats shuddered at the thoughts of lingering her at all. All were saddened and downcast by the death and horror they had uncovered. It was decided that on the new purple orb, they would return to the mounds and bury the remains of as many of the Weinisplats as they could. It took the whole of two purple orbs to carry out the gristly task. All were pleased to be able to finally leave this accursed place. There had been little talk amongst the Soldats since their confrontation of the Lyoungos. Some emergency repairs had been done to the damaged hovo and it was now performing better but its slower speed would mean it was going to take them back Willosid.
The undamaged hovo set out in wide loops whilst the damaged vehicle did a limited linear search of the surrounds. The energy cells were now getting very low so the search for any lingering Lyoungos had to be abandoned. They just had enough power for a brief visit to check on the Shiveos and to warn them that there was still great danger not too far distant.
All had been peaceful in the Splat settlo and thus they’d arrived back at the settlo on the Sea of Blubbo exhausted and quite downcast. Something was going to have to be done very soon about the Lyoungos and it would take many personnel and hovos.
The Soldats had been hoping for a considerable rest time but this now seemed very unlikely.
The party broke up, the youngers and the others who had been celebrating had been brought back from their happy state by the news of the Lyoungos brought back by Blamaro and company. They were all shocked the news of the number of Shiveros who had been slaughtered. Neither Ambo nor Aandt slept well and had awful dreams about bones and bloody Weinisplat shells and terrible creatures roaming at will and both worried for Zarchia, Floro and Grahoconno and hoped all were still safe with the Gossmos. When they awoke, both were impatient to be on their way back to the waiting place to await their return.
But they would have to wait three more purple orbs before they would be able to set out once again. The expedition needed to be carefully arranged. And then there was the menace posed by the Lyoungos. Newtobero would have to remain behind to personally take charge of this. He wanted Blamaro to take charge of the mission to greet the Gossmos on their return but she needed rest to bring her back to full energy. It had been decided by Grahoprendo to establish a permanent Soldat station somewhere in the region near the meeting place and also one further to Clupward towards the Shivero encampment. Eventually once the Lyoungo problem had been brought under control, more would be established in the area near the bone hills.
Many more Soldats would have to be transferred her fro the large settlos to Zettaward before this area could be made reasonably secure. And who knew what might be discovered when the exploration of the Blubbo Sea go fully under way and there was much territory to Larward way beyond the Blubbo Sea waiting to be explored as well. As this was a very important project, Grahoprendo, being the Topo in charge, had the power to request and be granted all that he needed to make the work succeed.
Nangriffo had been treated on arrival back at Willosid. She was recovering quite quickly even though there was no Babblo or other Splats present with their medicines and ointments. The youngers wandered the Settlo sometimes with their minder, Fairclda in tow, sometimes alone. They explored the construction work being done on the new pipo, had a few more lessons on the modified hovos but were still fretful and impatient with the delay.
When it was finally established, the expedition under Blamaro consisted of six medium sized transport hovos and two fast and powerful Soldat models. As well as the youngers, the still recovering Nangriffo was included in the party. Three midos from Willosid by the names of Craannab, Scottop and Orobopr came along with instructions to communicate and negotiate with the Gossmos when contact was re-established. No one in the party except for Ambo and Aandt had any idea at all of the Gossmos language. The Soldat patrol lead by Blamaro had made contact with With Maribo and Nicosimo at the Shiveo camp on their way back from the Lyonngo situation. They were well as was Babblo and were getting on with their tasks with the green-shelled Splats. A fresh Soldat Patrol and two people knowledgeable of Splat ways were being sent to relieve the paiir and when this happened, Maribo intended that she and Nicosimo would head for the meeting place to await the return of the Gossmos, Zarchia, Floro, Grahoconno and of course the Pursho. Babblo would probably accompany them.
As Grahoprendo had not been able to accompany the expedition because of trouble caused by the destructive wind and dust, the ongoing problems with the Lyoungos and the need to ready the hovos for expeditions on the Colossal Sea of Blubbo, he sent his second-in-command, Marianahewo, a mid height fe-Older dark brown, almost black forehead scales cropped close to her scalp. She was very friendly and her organising skills, along with those of Blamaro, Nangriffo and the Willosid midos sonn had the temporary settlo at the waiting place established and secured. The two Soldat hovos almost immediately set out on patrols to Zettaward and Clupward. With the arrival of the yello orb, more hovos carrying building materials and workos and more Soldats would hopefully arrive and the nearby permanent Soldat station would be built.
From the moment of their arrival, Ambo had prowled the Blubbo edge line, peering out into the Pinkness hoping for a glimpse of the Gossmo craft returning. The imminent arrival of the new yello orb should, initially at least, make visibility much clearer.. Aandt walked with Ambo when he could but his leg was still causing him major pain and difficulty.. The rest of the time he would chat with the workos or occasionally go on patrols with the Soldats.
The arrival of the hovo fro Clupward with Maribo, Nicosimo, Colobucho and two Splats on board disturbed the peace completely. Once you’ve been away from constantly jibber-jabbering Weinisplats for a while, you can forget how the never-ending high pitched drone can completely numb the senses. Despite this, all their old friends were completely overjoyed by their return. Some of the workos, Soldats and even two of the Midos had never encountered Weinisplats before and just stood open mouthed with all their mouth-scales exposed astounded by the wall of noise which had hit them from the moment the hovo had drawn to a halt and the doors opened. Of the Shiveros, only Leezbet had returned, Catroons deciding to remain with her tribe. Leezbet with his green shell and the ever effervescent Babblo had decided that they too, like Zarchia, wanted to glide of the pink bottomless depths hoping to make contact with the tribe of herboSplats that they had been told lived on islands much further out past the Gossmo island.
There were many stories to be exchanged during the rest time and a considerable amount of mouth-scale rattling. Ambo and Aandt missed Zarchia’s presence even more and both longed to look up and see the Pursho swinging upside down from the top of the shelto with its red mouth-scales glittering. The returning party was fairly tired after their journey so the celebrations ended fairly early. Aandt tossed continually in his restless sleep and dreamt of dreadful leaping Lyoungos and had a nightmare involving the time he had been wounded by the Invado humos. Ambo couldn’t sleep at all. He didn’t know if it was because of the quite annoying reflection of the newly risen yello orb on the endless pinkness or his worry about Zarchia, Floro and the Pursho. The prowled the edge of the pinkness, the dull glo reflecting and casting strange shadows. Blamaro who was on duty kept him company for a while during her shift but eventually she retired and he was left to pace with his thoughts again. Out on the surface of the Blubbo, there was no sign of anything, no islands and not a ripple to mark the presence of life beneath the surface.