Dirge: an excerpt from chapter four…

   A bright blue nimbus of light flickers, and the Suthidruu are here. The Elder Worms. Ancient, powerful, insane, and heavily armed the bunch of them. The sane ones are always culled from the gene-pool, leaving only the mad, the zealots, to survive and thrive.

   Theirs is a society run like a strict authoritarian religious hierarchy which crushes all dissent by killing it before it spreads. Terran sectarian fanatics would be envious at the apparent success of this model. It’s also stagnated their science and technology for billions of years, even as advanced as that is. Oh, Cosmos.

   My blood suddenly cools by several tens of degrees. There, among the Worms, is a familiar sight. Dasaelos Gurao. Well, no, that’s not his real name, just the best approximation possible with human vocal equipment. Add a bass rumble to the vowels, a staccato boom on the hard consonants while simultaneously coughing and hissing like an angry cat and crocodile performing a duet, and you have something close to how it’s really pronounced…

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