“Ey, ey, ey!” Mitzia could hear the Hyenas in the distance, but closer now than before. Her mother pulled the young Parua nearly as fast as her tiny feet could carry her. The yearling Parua noticed the ground beneath them had shifted over the last hour, gone from the sand she knew in the desert and the streets of the City to a gray foul silt like she had never seen before. They moved fast and surely, her mother never pausing as they went. And still the laugh of the fearsome predators advancing on them.
“Do they know where we are Mama?” Mitzia asked, terror showing in her blood red eyes.
“No, child,” Annika responded, “I don’t believe they know that we are here, but they are traveling the desert the same as us.”
“Why did we turn, Mama?”
Annika paused for a moment looking down into her daughter’s eyes, whiskers twitching as her upper lip curled, “We can’t lead them to the rock. I have to tell which direction they are going. I have to listen to the baying of their leaders and see if there is a Ghul with them or if they are a pride of hyenas alone. I have to be ready to warn the others of our people, the Parua, if there is danger.”
Mitzia scratched at her face nervously, “But why Momma? Shouldn’t merchants like us run as fast as we can to the rock so the others can protect us? Once you told me that the Parua heroes could fight off any foe that came?”
“All the Parua heroes are dead or retired.” Annika let Mitzia’s hand fall as she began to hop forward faster still, “Keep up love; keep up.”
“Well one of the heroes should un-retire.” Mitzia nearly sprinted as she went. her mother’s dashing pace pushing her near to exhaustion.
“One of them just might have to.”