The crowd scattered as haunting words echoed across the courtyard, one that sent chills down the vertebrae of everyone around.
“BANIKAN! ROGUE BANIKAN!”
The courtyard had mostly been filled with tourists, visiting Temthans who had come to visit the Holy Temple of Kayar and had decided to go sightseeing across the city of Palaestra as well, but there are also plenty of other beings around – young Skyans on holiday and Ksithan teenagers heading out to lunch after a hard day at school. But the screaming had immediately caused a panic, causing the crowds to swiftly rush into the nearby buildings, keeping themselves as far away from the source of the panic.
In the middle of the courtyard, wearing heavy leather armour that covered a large collection of scratches, scars and fresh wounds, was a massive, orange-furred being, standing at over four meters tall, complete with meter long halls jutting out of its skull, which was mostly hidden behind a helmet made of leather and bone. Its body was incredibly muscular, with heavy claws hanging off each hand and a thick tail tipped with even larger spikes.
While most of the crowd had dispersed, several beings had remained. A collection of guards, mostly Ksithans, surrounded a Thraki so heavily decorated in gemstones that they couldn’t immediately take off. The draconic being tutted as most of his guards drew their weapons. All of them except one.
“Kyr Lokmahro, you seem to be thinking something…”
The Thraki smiled at his newest guard. “Indeed. You know how to deal with Banikans, yes?”
This guard was a Rethan. At least, that was what Lokmahro assumed. He was rather small for a Rethan.
“Deal with it for me please, Elkay?”
Elkay nodded, then stepped forward, in front of the guards, still without a weapon. Unlike the others, he knew that approaching a Banikan with a weapon drawn was a bad idea.
“Do you need help, Banikan?” Elkay announced, slowly, clearly, loudly, drawing the Banikan’s attention to him and not the Thraki he was supposed to be guarding.
The colossal being glared at Elkay, not sure how to respond. It was surprised that it had not immediately been attacked. After all, that was what everyvok did to Banikans.
Elkay bowed slightly, showing respect to the beast. “How can we help you? Do you have a name?”
“Yes. Help first.”
“We cannot help unless we know what to call you.”
The Banikan growled, then stood up straight. On its chest, Elkay could see fresh wounds, deep gashes that suggested this Banikan had been chained up.
“Am Ct’Irinus. Who are you, Rethavok?”
“I am Elkay. Please, tell me how we can help you.” Elkay straightened up, arms by his sides, hands open, signalling that he wasn’t a threat to this potentially dangerous being.
“My tribe. Taken. In pain. Captured and chained. Experimented. Need help. Need to save them.”
Elkay nodded. “We can help you…” He turned to Lokmahro and his guards, who were watching with awe. “We will help you. But we cannot discuss this here. You are injured, we must get you healed before we can save the rest of your tribe.”
The Banikan growled, then stomped towards Elkay and bowed deeply. Now that it was much closer, Elkay could see just how badly injured they were.
“Where? Where is your healing place?”
Elkay glanced at Lokmahro, then back at Ct’Irinus. “I will take you. Please, follow me…”