Ketrin's World
Ketrindex   Prologue
  Part One   Part Two
Part Three   Part Four
Part Five   Part Six
Part Seven   Part Eight
Part Nine   Part Ten
Part Eleven   Part Twelve
Part Thirteen   Part Fourteen
Part Fifteen   Part Sixteen
Major Players
Kipling and Ketrin
and Mowgli and Me

Other Stories
Jaskri and the Maiden
Jaskri’s Child
The Sculptor’s Model
Ketrin Part Sixteen

Copyright © 2023 by Leem

This story may be posted on other sites provided that all of its instalments to date are posted, that Leem is identified as the author, and that no unauthorised changes are made to the text

Previously on Ketrin...
In Part Fifteen: Suvanji continued her reacquaintance with her biological father Ralvin and met his mentally-challenged son Rukim. Suvanji persuaded Ralvin to allow her to mingle her blood with Rukim, enabling him to learn rapidly like a wildling and gain greater intelligence.

Later Ralvin and his wife Tajumi also mingled their blood with her, so that they could exchange thoughts with lupinoids and each other, and Ralvin and Rukim befriended a pair of wild lupinoids. Lendrin and Suvanji left Ralvin’s village with promises of mutual assistance.

Back at Third Hill, Pyrri took archery lessons from the sullen Kemmet, until her lesson was interrupted by a lightning attack from the sorcerer. Using Mavrida’s ring she generated a portal and dragged Kemmet through it, accompanied by her friend the amputee wildling Three-leg and her lupinoid Howl.

Peri-feral Thoughts
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Write stuff here

(Spoiler alert: I didn’t.)

The story takes place several hundred light years from Earth in about AD 3502, give or take a century or three.

You can take the author out of the jungle, but you can’t make him type any faster, dammit.


Ketrin Part 16 Map

Pyrri and Kemmet
Into the Valley

Kemmet looked around. He and his companions were standing on a gently-sloping hill above dense woodland. Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance. Turning to Pyrri, he said, “Where in the hells have you dragged us to?”

“Valley,” said the wildling. “Watch for stri’gons.”

“What have you brought us here for?” he growled. “Our friends could be dying and we’re abandoning them.”

“Thought you hate your friends,” she said.

“Not enough to let them all die!” he snapped.

“They not dead,” she said. “Sorc’er want ’em alive for somethin’.”

“That’s even worse,” Kemmet said. “They could be suffering all sorts of horrible tortures while we stand around in this godsforsaken valley... doing what, exactly?”

“We wait,” she said. “Suvanji an’ Ketrin’s lots are back soon. We join ’em, then go rescue friends.”

“Oh, right,” he muttered sceptically. “Go rescue them. Just like that. A handful of humans and lupinoids, against someone that can summon lightning.”

“I got Mavrida’s magic ring,” she said quietly. “Lord Ra’-ne-Sa and Maiden won’t let us die.”

Kemmet found himself lost for words, but only momentarily. “You... you’re crazy, you know that? You, and Suvanji, and Ketrin, and all your wild pals. Completely out of your feral minds.”

He sighed. “You know what? I reckon I’m crazy too, because, Ral damn it, I believe you!”

So saying, he hefted his spear and walked downhill to keep watch. As soon as he was out of sight, Pyrri exchanged glances with Three-leg and they both grinned hugely.

+He will help,+ Pyrri told her friends.

“Come along, Three-leg,” Kemmet called, “you’re on guard with me.”

The wildling complied stoically.

For the rest of the day the four took turns keeping watch in pairs. A few striagons were sighted in the distance, but none made so bold as to approach. Toward evening they heard some lupinoids howling in the distance, and Howl and the wildlings gave answer. Otherwise the day passed uneventfully, and as nightfall approached Kemmet gave in to sleep.

Once Kemmet was asleep, Pyrri ordered her friends to keep him safe while she carried out an errand of her own. At night few striagons were abroad, so she felt confident in leaving temporarily.

Pyrri extended her arm and concentrated on Mavrida’s ring. The ring glowed, and a human-sized hole appeared in the air before her. Without hesitation the wild girl stepped through it.

Distant observers

+Look at that, J. Another neutrino surge. Can’t quite pinpoint the location, but it’s the same intensity as the previous one. Might be Mavrida using her ring.+

+Try to focus the scan, Vandri. We’ve got to try and figure out what’s happening there.+

+All right... Yeah, looks like another neutrino burst. Could be Mavrida, only the frequency is different. Can’t quite make it out, but it’s gotta be significant.+


Pyrri emerged from the hole in a dim clearing, in the centre of which stood a vertical pillar of rock. It was just as Mavrida had told her. Pyrri howled to warn any nearby lupinoids of her presence, then stepped forward and placed her ring finger against the pillar. Mavrida’s ring glowed brightly, and a small hole appeared in the rock, just wide enough to accommodate her arm.

Unhesitatingly, Pyrri thrust her hand into the hole and waited a moment. The interior of the hole was cold, and she could feel nothing within, but after a moment she began to feel a tingling sensation where the ring met her finger. A heartbeat later the wildling withdrew her hand, and the hole vanished.

Suddenly the clearing was as bright as day. There was a great flurry in the undergrowth as frightened animals fled the strange brilliance.

The light, blinding in its intensity, was emanating from the jewel in the ring. Mavrida had warned her of this, and she had been careful to avert her eyes. Fortunately the light was not accompanied by heat, otherwise her finger would have been burned black.

Presently the light faded, leaving only a pale scarlet glow at the heart of the gemstone. Baring her teeth in satisfaction, Pyrri used the ring to reopen the portal through which she had arrived.

Pyrri and Kemmet
Talking Heads

After Kemmet had woken and washed in a nearby stream, Pyrri approached him.

“So what now?” he asked. “Do we just keep waiting, or have you got a plan?”

“Sorta,” she replied. “First we gotta un’erstand each other better.”

“What does that mean, exactly?” he said suspiciously.

Pyrri held up her knife. “We mix blood. No more baby-talk. You hear my thoughts clear, hear Lendrin, Mavrida, S’vanji, and all the lupi’s. No misun’standings. We all hear each other perfect, and sorc’er can’t.”

“Great,” he muttered. “So I get purple eyes and I can talk to lupinoids.”

“Yeah,” said the wildling quietly.

For a long moment Pyrri held the knife steady while Kemmet stared at it in stony silence.

“And I’ll be like you,” he muttered. “You and and all your crazy wild friends.”


Kemmet stared at the knife for a moment longer, and then looked the wildling in the eyes. “Pyrri,” he said quietly, “why do you trust me?”

The wild girl considered the question for several heartbeats before replying: “You trust me. Doncha?”

Kemmet took a breath. His expression revealed nothing, but after gazing down at his hand, he extended it toward her and said, “Come on. Let’s get this over with.”

Pyrri cut shallow incisions on the backs of their hands, which they pressed together for a few moments. Then Howl licked their hands with his coagulant saliva, and they dressed the cuts with teska leaves.

“Stings like crazy,” muttered Kemmet. “So what happens... now...?” Then he yawned hugely.

“Now you sleep,” said Pyrri. “When you wake, we share thoughts. Then we plan.”

If Kemmet felt like arguing, he was too drowsy to say so. “Better not let some striagon eat me,” he muttered, laying himself down on what looked like the least muddy patch of grass around.

Then Kemmet slept and dreamed of things that had happened long ago...

Ketrin and Suvanji

Ketrin and his companions surveyed the deserted Third Hill with heavy hearts. His group and Suvanji’s had reunited shortly after leaving Jezrin’s and Ralvin’s villages, and had proceeded south to the Hills as quickly as they could. Finding the gate abandoned, they had ascended to the village courtyard, where they now stood in silence.

The village lay in ruin. The sorcerer’s lightning bolts appeared to have incinerated every material structure in the village, leaving nothing but ashes and charred vegetation. Of the villagers, and their three prisoners, there was no sign.

Nobody spoke, but many a tear was shed. In truth there was no need to speak aloud at all, since they had all by now acquired lupinoid telepathy by the same means ans Pyrri and Kemmet. Nevertheless, no one dared communicate in any way, until finally Suvanji projected one emphatic thought: +They are not dead.+

+You can’t be certain of that,+ thought Velleth.

Lendrin emitted a long, shuddering sigh. +Yes,+ he replied. +Yes she can, and so can I. If Mavrida was dead, or Pyrri or Three-leg, we would know. Our shared lupinoid blood binds us more closely than just thought-speech. They are alive, but the sorcerer has them, and that means we have to find them quickly. We have no way of knowing what he might do to them, and all the others, if he’s left to his devices.+

+Another thing,+ thought Ketrin. +The prisoners, Jeylin, Sarlin and Jerrond - they’re gone. The sorcerer may have freed them. Be on your guard.+

Lendrin replied, +It’s just as likely the sorcerer has punished them for failure. They may be dead... or worse. Still, you’re right about staying alert.+

In spite of his words, none of them noticed the hole-in-nothing that was forming behind them...

Pyrri and Kemmet

Kemmet woke and looked around. He didn’t feel different at first, but slowly he began to perceive something... the most subtle of changes...

+Hey, two-leg,+ came a voice in Kemmet’s head. Rather, it was not a voice per se, but a thought-impression that his mind had translated into words.

Pyrri and Three-Leg were not present. The “voice” seemed to have come from Pyrri’s lupinoid friend Howl, who was sitting on his haunches nearby gazing at Kemmet.

+So it worked,+ Kemmet thought. +I can really talk to lupinoids. Well, now. What would my worthless father have made of that?+

+Dunno,+ thought Howl, scratching himself. Lupinoids were not accustomed to hypothetical questions.

Kemmet stood up and looked around. Without speaking, he concentrated on Pyrri and thought: +Hey, pest, your little plan worked. Can you hear me? Where are you?+

Instantly her reply reached him, as clearly as if she were standing beside him. +I can hear you, grump. I’m just drinking at the stream. I’ll be back soon.+

+So, you really got a plan to defeat the sorcerer?+

+I’ve got ideas,+ she replied.

It did not take Pyrri long to return from her ablutions. Three-Leg followed shortly after. Once all were gathered, Pyrri said, +We’ll be going back to the village soon. Just one little thing to do first.+

With that, she extended her hand and her ring glowed brightly. A small hole in nothing appeared above her hand and two more rings with red stones, twin to her own, fell into it. Kemmet gawped in astonishment.

“How the hells did you do that?” he demanded. “Have you got an unlimited supply of those things now?”

+Not unlimited,+ she thought, +just what we need. Mavrida told me.+

She handed Kemmet one of the rings. +Go on.+

He sighed, nervously turning the ring over in his fingers. “More sorcery,” he muttered. “What good’s going to come of this?”

+Maiden’s sorcery,+ she reminded him. +Good, not evil. It saved our lives when we were stuck in the tunnel, remember? Sorcerer doesn’t know about it. Go on, put it on.+

With a great show of reluctance Kemmet slipped the ring on his middle finger. “So, how am I supposed to use this thing anyway?”

+You’ll know when the time comes,+ she assured him, before turning to Three-Leg and giving him the third ring.

“All right,” muttered Kemmet. “One thing about sharing thoughts, I know you’re sincere. Just hope you know what you’re doing.”

+Well, soon we’ll know,+ she replied.

Presently the four of them emerged through a hole-in-nothing into the ruined village.

+Oh, gods, what a mess,+ thought Kemmet, staring around at the devastation. +We’re too late. Everybody’s dead.+

+Not dead,+ thought Pyrri. +Taken by the sorcerer. He won’t kill them yet, but there’s no telling what he’ll do if we can’t stop him.+

Howl sniffed the smoky air and found traces of scents.

+Mavrida, Lendrin, Suvanji, Ketrin and others,+ thought Pyrri. +They got here after the fire, but I guess the sorcerer took them as well.+

+So how can we possibly help?+ thought Lendrin. +Everyone we know has vanshed into thin air, and we have no way of finding them.+

+That’s not true,+ replied Pyrri. +The rings will lead us to them.+

+And then what? Two and three-quarter humans and one small lupinoid, against a being that can summon lightning?+

+Not just us,+ she reminded him. +The Maiden and Lord Ral-ne-Sa will help.+

Kemmet looked sceptical, but chose to keep his thoughts to himself. After looking around the village for a few moments Pyrri began scanning their surroundings with her ring. Presently the ring began to glow and the wildling halted, then slowly turned with her arm outstretched. As she did so the glow increased to the point where it was almost white.

+Follow me and stay close,+ she ordered. Three-leg and Howl complied without question, Kemmet a little more reluctantly. A new hole appeared in the air before them, and an invisible force seemed to drag them through. Then the hole closed behind them, and the ruins of Third Hill were left to brood in silence.

February 2016 - April 2023


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Peri-Feral Afterword

Well, it's taken far too long, but the final instalment IS on its way. Stay tuned!

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