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Clan Ground - Chapter OneClan Ground
By Clare Bell
The gathering was to take place in the older part of the meadow, about the flat-topped stone the herders called the sunning rock. Thakur, the herding teacher for the clan, arrived first. With a glance over the meadow to see if anyone else was coming, he bunched his hindquarters and leaped up on the gray stone, then stretched out to catch the suns last warmth. Insects droned about his ears and a rock lizard hissed at him for taking the best spot. He flicked his tail at the lizard once, then ignored it.
Thakur shifted himself in the slight hollow worn by the many who had lain there before him and felt the sun-gathered heat of the stone though the fur of his belly. He folded his forepaws beneath him and let a soft purr flutter in his throat as the evening breeze ruffled the fur on his back. Then the breeze died away and only the twilight stillness and the sce
Ratha's Creature, Ch1Ratha's Creature by Clare Bell
Ratha leaped over a fern thicket and dug her paws into the spongy ground as she dodged sharp horns. One prong sifted through her fur and she skittered away from the beast. She turned and stood her ground with hunched shoulders and twitching tail. Her quarry advanced. A two-pronged horn on the stag's nose joined the crown of points on the head and it lowered the entire array, charging at Ratha. She launched herself at the deer, both front paws spread. She landed on her rear paws and bounced sideways as the multi-horn pivoted heavily, trying to catch her on its spikes and pin her to the ground.
Each time the horns came near her, Ratha jumped sideways, forcing the stag to turn in a tight circle, unable to build up any speed or momentum. After several such circles, the beast's knees were trembling and Ratha smelled the sweat that was darkening the coarse, grey-tipped coat.
Ratha's Courage, Ch 1 excerptRatha's Courage
by Clare Bell
Excerpt copyright 2007
A shiver of excitement went through Ratha. She began her stalk, belly fur brushing the ground. Grass whispered past her legs as she felt the slow controlled power of each muscle. Her tail-tip tingled with the urge to twitch, but she held it still.
The horse the Named called a striper tossed its head and flapped its tail, eyes widening. Ratha slowed her down-wind stalk so that she seemed nearly frozen, yet was still moving. The striper swung its neck around, jerking its head and ears back.
Ratha stilled until the herdbeast settled, then quickened her stalk, easing her weight from one foot to the next, placing each directly ahead of the one behind and moving so smoothly she felt as though she were flowing across and through the grass, a green-eyed river of tawny gold.
Nearing the stripers dancing rear hooves, inhaling its sweat-sharpened scent, Ratha trembled with the impulse to dash, spr
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