The first two Collectors popped and shuddered without so much as a whimper. Well done. Don’t give that bloated driftwood the satisfaction; I thought. Vilithii lazed on the hard packed dirt dais and another Collector was brought within reach.
This one pipped a small frightened sound when Vilithii’s rough tipped tentacle clung to its soft trunk. In response, Vilithii wrapped it tighter. Its energy oozed out for several agonizing minutes. Finally there was no more and Vilithii tossed the blackened husk down the ramp. Brave show little soldier… brave show.
Well, Setting Sun… What do you have for me? Vilithii’s song reverberated in the air. I hurried to the top of the dais, making sure I was well out of reach.
Manipulators and Collectors gathered for the annual celebration of Vilithii’s blessing. My leaves stiffened and I waited another few moments but Vilithii looked no different. I silently cursed myself for not converting more Collectors.
Blessed Vilithii, I waved towards the dais and projected my song to the crowd, May your light shine forever upon us… My pause this time was long enough even the Barons looked awkwardly at each other. Several silent moments passed before I stole another cautious look. It had begun.
Vilithii’s top leaves were turning brown and dry; it wouldn’t take long now. I sang out clearly.
We are here to honor Vilithii; The First, the Life Giver and Transformer. I stole another look and was rewarded with the sight of a second swath of dry leaves. It was time.
But this DECEIVER… I leaned away and pointed at Vilithii. …is not God! A gasping cry burst from the crowd.
What have you done? Why are you saying this? Stop!
Vilithii snatched the husk of a consumed Collector and ripped into it. Sticky red ichor dripped from its veins and let out rank odorous poison.