Fine sheets of gossamer brushed across the night sky, silhouetting the muted glow of a small ivory moon. It was that very moon that marked this auspicious night. Eleven years ago that same heavenly orb was sailing aloft another night sky. It heralded the arrival of a violently screaming Uraor infant, a slate grey little bundle with a furious pair of lungs. That very night a tiny Nox was looked on by the jasper eyes of his mighty father, Lygo of clan Luna.
Rising from his bed-slab, Nox flexed his muscles and stretched. It was part of the life he had been born to, no comfort, no weakness. The Uraor were as harsh and unyielding as the blasted lands they were scattered to. No world was too hostile, for the Uraor themselves would not yield. Nothing adorned his portarre, an Uraor portable structure made of hide, stone and bone.
Nox’s hide-like skin was unblemished, no scars, not even a single piece of cyberwear. He was still a child in his clan’s eyes. After tonight though, tonight he would have his chance to earn the right to be a man, to be given the clan name Luna.
In the hushed whispers of the night the rough crunch of his father’s foot-steps on the bracken ground were as drum beats. His shadow eclipsed the open doorway, making his full 8 feet height seem even more titanic. Lygo was easily twice the size of Nox, and bristling with scars and cyberwear. Even his right grey-white tusk was broken, it’s tip forever lost. What had become of it Nox had never been allowed to know. Perhaps after tonight, as a man he could demand the answer.
Lygo’s voice was harsh and deep, like rusted iron grating on gravel. Even in a hushed tone he oozed respect and commanded obedience. “It is time. Come, and let us test the strength of you. We will weigh your right to manhood, or if you will be banished to walk as an eternal child in exile.” Nox knew his father was reminding him, no measure of mercy would be shown in his test, and that if he failed he would be cast out, without the clan name to wander, forever a child.
As Lygo led Nox out into the night air the sight of the entire clan steeled his heart. He would be tested in front of thousands who were silent for the hallowed ritual. Not one to stand on ceremony Lygo looked down, his rust hued skin illuminated by the glow of his son’s moon. “You once asked what became of my tusk. Know that I buried it in the heart of my own father when I claimed my right of manhood., and forever secured my right of renown for all my days. Know also that it will take both yours if you hope to best me. Now we are to the test, child. Best me and be seen a man. Kill me and know everlasting respect.”
Nox stood a foot shorter than his legendary father, and easily less than half his weight. With a roar his lungs lit with fire. There would be know beating his father, he was sure of that, he would have to kill him. And that was one thing he wasn’t sure of.