Book V Chapter 21: Army
Her antennae touched it, slid along smooth scales and tasted blood.
She was almost overcome with excitement. Leaning forward, she touched it with her mandibles, testing the thickness of the scales and coating the appendages with the dead dinosaur's blood. As soon as she had credible proof of the dead or injured beast, she abandoned her patrol route, rushing back towards the colony.
She hurried through the undergrowth, traversing tiny paths of scent unnoticeable to the world of larger creatures around them.
A fresh carcass was a boon, and it had to be taken advantage of before the large, shuffling monsters realised it was there and arrived to feast on her brethren.
The colony boiled over with excitement as soon as it sensed her return. Amyr rushed from the burrows to taste the blood, and the immediate area was a cacophony of scent and taste, muddled and confusing. This state only lasted briefly, as the campaign leaders forced their way through the mass to verify that she had indeed located a source of food.
It took barely seconds for the amyr campaign leaders to organise things after that. As soon as their antennae brushed hers, orders were passed out and a campaign was organised, runners dashing off to a nearby neighbour colony.
An older amyr nudged her lightly with her antennae, and led her to the head of the still-forming platoon. Before she knew it, they were marching back towards the dead dinosaur.
To the human observer, this entire process would have taken less than five minutes.
It was difficult for her to resist leaping for joy. It was an honour to travel alongside these foragers, the gifted survivors of multiple campaigns, the powerful warriors that travelled from colony to colony and helped begin new ones.
They reached the clearing, and as one, stopped.
The yultaur crouched on the fallen dinosaur's back froze, staring at the platoon of insects in pure terror. Forgetting its meal, the possum scrambled up the side of the carcass, flinging itself towards the safety of the nearest tree.
Safety, of course, is a relative term.
The instant the possum's paws hit the trunk, the bark came alive with thousands of amyr, a second platoon waiting for the original to drive the furry creature towards them. Amyr swarmed up from the roots and dropped down from the branches, joining their fellows in sinking their fangs into the possum's flesh. The yultaur screeched, falling heavily to the ground.
Hold, came the order for the first platoon.
The main body of the second platoon swarmed over the yultaur then, covering its body in a thick carpet of writhing warriors. The yultaur screeched a final time, ceasing its struggles as the amyr completely overwhelmed it.
The young amyr shivered impatiently, gazing out at the second platoon and the dying yultaur. She could feel the other amyr massing behind them, forming neat lines of eager, hungry foragers.
Advance, the order came, and the young amyr had to fight her instincts to charge straight in, restricting herself to a steady march.
Almost there! And the amyr began to speed up, excitement overruling discipline.
Up and over-- leave room for your abdomens, came the next order, and then they were scrambling up the side of the carcass, advancing in short leaps where the angle became too steep.
Shortly after that, everything dissolved into chaos, as fangs sank into flesh, tearing tiny pieces away.
Next Chapter: Book V Chapter XXII
Category: Book V | Story