Corr Syl The Warrior by Garry Rogers (Excerpt)

Posted on Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Corr Syl

In the glare of the old golden eagle’s intense gaze, Corr slowly lowered his hands from the sword hilts projecting above his shoulders, his wrinkled brow and squinted eyes signifying a mental vacuum from which questions might arise.

Aquila didn’t wait for questions.  “The council meets at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.  Address questions to Counselor Korhonen.”  And generating a dusty blast of leaves and twigs that left Corr’s eyes watering, Aquila flew away.

Corr stood and stared.  What?  Why would the council choose him for its agent?  And what was an agent of the council?

Corr could think of nothing that explained why the council picked him.  His seven years of training followed by a five-year internship had gone well, but he had no experience.  Nineteen of the District’s 21 warriors had fought real battles.  Corr’s given name came from a warrior who died in battle, but many warriors died in battle.  His family name appeared here and there, even in a recent Danog catalog of names for fossil species.  As this crossed Corr’s mind, he tried to ignore the flash of pride over the Danog use of his family name as part of the name for the original rabbits.

The council had already given him one chore.  Now another?  Who had decided he needed something to do?

Corr’s plan did not include attending all council meetings.  Long ago, he had decided he would complete his training and internship, serve the community one year, and then become a traveler.  He wanted to sail the great oceans, and walk in the deserts, the jungles, the frozen polar seas.  Training and internship ended a year ago, but he hadn’t left.  But, no more delays—next month he would leave, and everyone knew it.

Last night in the Tavern, none of Corr’s friends could recall an agent of the council.  His closest friends, the six members of the battle group for which the council had appointed him leader—a role which apparently carried no more responsibility than travel planning—all Corr’s seniors, admitted bafflement.  Some did this with sympathy and others with unhelpful speculations about the entire District’s awe of Corr’s unbelievable persistence in the face of his constant defeats by Alex Maypole and his zero progress with Rhya Bright.

“We’re all agents of the council,” said Ralph Mäkinen, his green eyes crinkling as he slapped Corr on the back, almost dislocating the small warrior’s neck.  “Be happy.  You’re historical.”

Everyone laughed, but Wild Bill and Zuberi glanced at one another mouthing a silent ‘buzzt.’

“No, I don’t know why,” said Tau Korhonen when Corr asked.  “Chairman Aquila proposed the idea.”

In his deep quiet voice, the great elk continued, “Corr, a strange imbalance grows.  Perhaps you feel it, too.  Why don’t you come to the meetings while we figure out what’s going on?”

Corr wondered if becoming the agent of the council might impress Rhya, but he doubted it; nothing he did seemed to impress her.  Rhya Bright would make a perfect traveling companion.  But the painful rebuffs lying scattered about like trampled daisies in his memory world’s ‘Rhya meadow’ included so many ignores and dismissals Corr wanted to purge the whole thing.

Corr looked in on his running analysis of the mental shield of his opponent, Alex Maypole.  Nothing.  Again, when they faced off this morning, nothing would reveal Maypole’s intentions.  Years of observation and careful replay of the movements and the electrical and chemical signals produced by the old squirrel’s mind and body had revealed nothing.  After Rhya Bright moved to the District Center last year, the Maypole problem had faded from intolerable to irritating.  Corr found this strangely depressing.

Corr thought about attending every council meeting and sagged.  The council made decisions about food storage, birth planning, celebrations and, amidst bursts of laughter, passed resolutions on everything from Agave Day to Week’s Worst Joke (Corr had two of these), etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

No need for me to attend, thought Corr.  As long as I’m in the District, or even in North America, a two-second call will get my total support.  I don’t need to sit through production forecasts and lectures on new storage techniques in order to serve.

When an armed Danog patrol crosses the border into Wycliff District, the Wycliff Council sends a young Tsaeb warrior named Corr Syl to investigate and recommend a response. Corr soon learns that spies have infiltrated his district, and already many lives are at risk. He catches a glimpse of something truly evil, and with no time to spare, must choose between a safe response that might fail, and a sure response that might start a global war.

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Genre –  Science Fiction

Rating – PG

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Website http://garryrogers.com/


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