It seemed strange to both youths how they could walk right next to a Scavi, with the only result being it jumping in the opposite direction. These things were far from aggressors, which seemed contrary to what Kobix had described. In fact, it hardly seemed dangerous to be wandering through the tunnels at all.
Another thirty minutes later, Prism stopped abruptly and put his hand up to signal the others to do the same. They were at a small chamber, from which the smell of death was emanating. Around the corner they could see that a large group of Scavis appeared to be gathered around something, and were very quickly ripping into it with their sharp teeth and claws. Prism motioned for the group to move to the opposite side of the chamber and walk very quietly. to which they immediately complied.
As they continued forward, neither In nor Dak could help themselves from looking at what the Scavi’s were eating, but both immediately regretted the sight. From what was left it appeared to be human, though there wasn’t much meat remaining on the bones, and what was there hung in tatters. Tatters which the Scavi were ravenously eating. Some of the others that couldn’t get to the meat were gnawing on bone, the sickening sound of the same bone breaking filling the corridor an instant later.
Once they had left the chamber, Dak waited a moment before voicing his concerns; not only to keep the Scavi from hearing, though that was his main reason, but he also had to wait until he had stopped retching before he could speak.
“Those ones seemed different. I had the feeling they would actually harm us if they noticed us.”
Prism gave a low chuckle before responding. “Same Scavis, I assure you. When they catch the smell of rotting meat, their aggression levels begin to rise. Once they have consumed meat of any kind, their aggression level rises exponentially. Something in most meats acts as a stimulant to them, much like you’ve seen on the streets before with Kosha. Kosha causes humans to let go of all sexual inhibitions. Meat causes Scavis to let go of all of their violent inhibitions.”
“You speak about it almost as if they are like us, having inhibitions and such. Do you think they are intelligent?” In asked, a little taken back by this kind of perspective, from a man legend said was nothing but a cold-hearted bastard.
“Who’s to say they are not? What defines intelligence young Innidrek? For me, I think intelligence is what gives one capability to survive, though by this definition we can live off of others’ intelligence as well, as sometimes it is intelligent to be like a leech, and steal from someone else surviving. I think you both know that quite well, as thievery is certainly this form of survival. The Scavi survive, and even thrive down here. Something the perhaps less “intelligent” humans could learn from, if they ever took the time to observe anything.”
In nodded slowly as they resumed the march. What the older man had said made a lot of sense, though he wasn’t entirely certain how comfortable he was being compared to a leech. The more he thought though, the more it seemed he could grasp the concept that Prism was explaining.
Excitedly, In finally responded into the silence, “Life imitates life. We learn from the leech that we can survive by stealing what others have. We could learn from the Scavi too, if we desire. They scavenge, and wait for food to fall in front of them, but once we get a taste for that which we desire, we get a surge of power and want more of it, so we begin to seek it out with a lot more diligence, and we are also able to convince others that better things could be found by sharing the meal.”
“Now how can that be applied to our current situation?” Prism asked, his tone intrigued, not expecting In to have grasped the concept so quickly.
“If we can show the humans in Shadhaven that which they desire, they will want more, and provided we continue to supply them with it, they will continue to want to follow us. It is the nature of life.”
Dak turned with surprise to his friend, and saw In was practically glowing with the amount of energy, and hope, that the conversation was giving him. He felt a twang of jealousy as he considered Prism, but knew that there was nothing to be jealous of. Just because In was connecting with the assassin on a philosophical level didn’t mean he was starting to side with him. Dak knew that when it came down to it, In would side with him, but to insure that, he figured it would be best to get on the philosophical bandwagon as soon as possible.
“There are other things that the humans could learn too. Understanding the Scavi mentally would help them learn how to coexist with them, without causing any altercations. If they stopped disposing of their corpses in the tunnels for instance, or how if they captured one, knowing how it reacts to different kinds of food, they could train them and understand them better,” Dak said, a little proud that he had been able to bring a new perspective to the discussion.
His pride was hurt a little though when Prism snickered, though once he found the reason behind it, the hurt disappeared. Prism made a sharp whistling sound, and suddenly two Scavi appeared around the corner, bounding toward them. Dak drew his dagger again, while In began doing the same, until Prism motioned for them to stop. The Scavi’s pounced on Prism and began rubbing their heads against him, clearly not aggressive.
“I am way ahead of you Dakidrae, but I am glad you see things my way. These are the first two I have trained, though I intend to train more. If we continue to train them, Scavis should never be a problem. The important thing for now though, is that we have arrived. Welcome to my home,” Prism explained as he stepped around the corner his pets had arrived from.
The chamber wasn’t very large, and indeed it didn’t seem as if it would have to be. There wasn’t much in it. A small pile of cloth, which seemed to have been scrounged from old clothes, sat in one corner, while a couple smaller ones sat on the opposite side. Interestingly enough, a small desk had somehow ended up here, and a few papers were present on it’s surface, next to a nearly dry bottle of ink. The biggest surprise came from behind them as they stepped into the room, and the wall slid closed, cutting them off from the corridor.
“As soon as I found this place, I knew it was where I needed to set up camp. That door was only half open when I discovered it. It took me a week to find the control mechanism in the wall, but now that I know it is there, I can find it every time. I haven’t found any others yet, but I believe there are a lot of secrets to discover in this place. For now though, let’s eat.”
Prism tossed them both a small mushroom. It smelled like rot, and it looked like dirt. They tried not to make anything of it, but they couldn’t keep it completely off their faces. Prism just shrugged and said with as much bluntness as he could, “Sorry boys, not a lot you can do about it, unless you want to eat Scavi, which tastes terrible and just makes them mad. For now, just enjoy the simple pleasures in life when you can get them. Not being hungry would be the one to enjoy now, and we can enjoy the simple pleasure of trying to manipulate the rest of humanity when you’re done.”
In smiled and despite himself Dak did as well. He was surprised that he was actually starting to like the man. It didn’t change anything though. Prism still needed to die.