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Ssthyl's Story
As young Ssthyl weaved through the forest of stalagmites carrying another heavy load to the newest stockpile, he couldn’t help but to think about his older hatch mates who were busy with far more exciting duties. He was nearly as big and strong as they were, and surely all the practicing he had been doing on his own made him just as capable as they were. But, no, the General in charge of the new invasion army was very strict about admitting ‘hatchlings’ and wouldn’t let him begin formal training. So here he was alone, wearing a path in the cold stone floor. Back and forth. Lift. Carry. Drop. Back. Forth. Forever, so it seemed.
At least it was almost finished moving the last of the stack, and he could go back to the nest for supper. He hoped the nest mother wasn’t preparing more flayed rat. Rats, rats and more rats. Warriors didn’t eat rats, and neither should he.

“Thes’click,” he exclaimed to the stalagmite in front of him. “Isili thes’click zekka thatsss!”

The stalagmite didn’t have a response.

Ssthyl kicked it as hard as he could, only managing to damage his own pride.

Why didn’t they see that he was ready? He was nearly as tall as Lasthtsthih and much wider than Yllith. What did it matter than his egg was laid a few cycles later than theirs? It just wasn’t FAIR!

Clink.

Being in the midst of his outburst, Ssthyl failed to notice the scent of fresh humie in the still air of the cave. Too busy thinking about what he wanted to be doing, he wasn’t properly paying attention to what he was doing. Thus he was nearly upon the humie before he realized that he was no longer alone in this deserted part of the cavern.

Clink. Scratch. Clink.

The sound snapped him out of his self-absorbing tantrum instantly, and he quietly laid his heavy load on the ground. As still as cavern around him, eyes as cold as his blood, his instincts transformed him into the predator he had only day-dreamed about… up ‘til now.

Clink. Clink. Clink. Crack.

He had heard tales of brave (or stupid) humies venturing this far down into his home alone, but he had never seen one himself. That ignorance didn’t slow him down; he calmly pried open the crate he had been carrying to get at the precious cargo inside. In a blink of the eye, he had a Power Battle Axe in his hand. He knew the penalty for misusing one of these ancient weapons was severe, but every fiber of his being told him that there was only one proper course of action to take.

Slowly at first, as Ssthyl couldn’t be completely sure that this wasn’t some kind of treacherous humie trap, he walked toward the sound. As he rounded the corner, the light from the humie’s lantern was nearly blinding. His reptilian eyes adjusted quickly and his prey came into focus within seconds. Surveying the scene, he confirmed what his sense of smell was telling him – the humie was totally alone.

Now he would draw his first sentient blood.

Rushing forward, no longer caring for stealth, Ssthyl quickly closed the remaining distance between he and the soft-bodied humie. The humie was so completely absorbed in his digging that he didn’t react until it was far too late. As the humie turned towards him, Ssthyl swung the great axe through the air and connected solidly with its foul-smelling body.

Then he caught a glimpse of what the humie had been busy unearthing.

It couldn’t be, could it? Of course he had heard the tales growing up, but nobody he knew had actually seen one before. Having forgotten already about the humie at his feet, Ssthyl simply stood staring at the uncovered half of what was clearly a Mystic Sword.

Perhaps he would get to join the invasion army after all.

Published: January 2005
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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