The history of the Chozo is full of twists and turns. At first they were as violent as fire. Their saving grace during these dark times was an unquenchable curiosity for challenge. After the devastation of the Psychic Wars, Brroch the Wingsinger brought them together under one challenging goal, the exploration of space.
At the peak of their exploits, they held a benevolent empire over forty star systems. Largely respected by many sentient beings, the Chozo were found within every major political and spiritual circle.
~The Chozo Historian
The circular room held within its embrace a sleeping young girl fated to change the galaxy. A single tall window illuminated the place. Stone etchings of Chozo heroes surrounded her on all sides. She slept amidst stories of great deeds, of wars won and lost during ancient times. The Empress hoped such a place would be an inspiration to the girl. Either that or they would reveal the human’s fears, proving once and for all Newborn wasn’t the promised one. It was not a comfortable place to sleep in. The Empress had seen to that as well.
Soft blond hair scattered amidst the folds of the coarse indigo blanket. The strands shimmered gold where the sun touched. The eleven-year-old slept restlessly within nightmares. She dreamt of the dragon.
A patter of distant feet woke her up from the hauntings. Eyelids rolled open and creased over intelligent blue eyes. Her surroundings were foreign to her until she remembered, Kerrfu had placed her here after the feast. Her shoulders and back ached. Her bed was nothing more than a slab of stone. She missed Kerrfu.
Newborn leapt onto the floor and placed her ear to the ground. She listened to the vibrations of the footsteps as she was taught to do during her hunting lessons.
The distant patter had a certain finality to them. Too heavy to belong to Kerrfu. But then who could it be? At once the pounding reminded her of the dragon. She sprang up into the bathing sunlight, hair at once glowing white. The light! It is too bright in here, she thought, I must hide from the light before he finds me!
Her sapphire eyes searched around the small chamber. It was very different from Kurrfu’s warm nest. More like a cathedral then a home. Newborn felt a different pain then, Kerrfu had abandoned her to the dragon. She was utterly alone. The dragon had come to finish the job he started with her parents. He had come to kill her.
Stone-carved walls portrayed an old story about a Chozo that had flown around the planet in mourning for his wife. Kerrfu had told it to her once while sipping tea near a fire.
The steps drew closer until the doorway curtain creased open. On a whim Newborn grabbed hold of the etchings along the wall and climbed above the opening doorway. A scarred beak entered followed by a diamond-shaped head. She let out a sigh. It was not the dragon. It was Chozo. She looked at the scarred beak and auburn feathers. This Chozo was not Kerrfu.
Newborn saw the bird’s blazing eyes glancing at the etchings. There was a certain amount of calmness to them, but in the midst was something as hard as stone. A chill of fear ran up her spine.
The old Chozo was at once captured by the artistically sculptured walls depicting Brroch the Wingsinger taking his famous flight around their homeworld. High mountains were portrayed below as the stony hero glided over them. The old Chozo recognized the elegant tree spires of the tall Arrahn Forrest were Brroch was beset by Shriekers.
The old bird purred a deep desire for the air and the hunt as he gazed at the carvings. Brroch the Wingsinger was next shown traveling above the Memento Sea. He followed the waves of the sea into the face of a vicious sea creature, lovingly carved, half covered by a human foot. He followed the foot up a human leg, torso, and shoulders. Shadowy-blond tresses surrounded sky-blue, steady eyes that looked back like a cold blue sky near the brink of a thunderstorm.
His mind telepathically probed her’s. She projected a sense of deep hostility and fear, and beyond that a faint, stubborn will to hold on. Now he understood why Kerrfu had told him to ask permission before entering. His orange Chozo eyes shifted downward in a quarter half bow.
‘My apologies. I had been so anxious to meet the Newborn that I forgot my manners.’
Newborn saw that he meant no harm and after releasing a breath of air nimbly climbed down. She pointed to him and cocked her head to the side with a frown.
The Chozo chirped, ‘My name is Grrunco of Grrewmna. You are at my school. The Empress has requested that I teach you of the hunt. Your name?’
She opened her mouth and stuttered out on off-key tune quite alien to her human throat. ‘I Newborn. Fed well. You?’
The solemn Chozo held back his distaste, ‘Very well fed… mentally that is. The sculptured walls have fed my mind but not my belly.’ His arm extended holding three freshly caught Shriekers. ‘Would you like to eat?’ Newborn noticed the wings of the Shriekers had not torn. This meant they were caught very swiftly. An obvious sign of the Chozo’s skill of the hunt.
She rubbed her belly and grinned at him. Perhaps he wasn’t that bad after all.
At the communal hearth, he prepared a meal for them. Many other students of the school were in the room breaking their morning fast. Each one would bow once to Newborn and three times to Grrunco. He brought over the succulent meats, and watched how she ate them, very slow, very careful. Beneath her hair she was also watching him, calculating untrusting eyes. This was a good sign. Untrusting eyes were the only way to survive a night in the hostile forest.
Grrunco had first seen Newborn when she was presented at the Counsels. Even at so young an age her eyes were steady, shiftless and prepared. Very abnormal for a human, he had thought then. Perhaps it was the tragedy of her parents and family that caused this.
She had grown much since then, hair becoming long and healthy, eyes filled with a depth beyond their years, caused no doubt by continual mourning.
It was peculiar for Chozo to see someone cry for so long. To them mourning lasted a season, a time to fly and reflect. It was a private matter to take the mourning flight. Only over the Memento Sea would a bird allow tears to be shed. There it would join the tears of others who had mourned. Brroch the Wingsinger had taken such a flight all the way around the planet, mourning for the lose of his wife and daughters after the Psychic Wars.
‘Are you excited about the Feast of Hunt?’ Grrunco said over his food.
Newborn shifted from her dark foreboding thoughts and pondered the question with a cocked head. ‘Is it the same as last Feast?’
‘It is not. The Feast of Rest is in steep contrast.’
‘I know. I meant is it same as last year’s Feast of Hu…’ She gave up and made a clawing pose mimicking the Chozo’s hunting position perfectly.
Kerrfu had told Grunnco that some Chozo words were impossible for Newborn’s primitive voice to pronounce. Some thought her dumb because of this, so Kerrfu taught her to use hand signals on words she could not pronounce. Now the solemn Chozo thought her too expressive. ‘At least now she isn’t dumb.’ Kerrfu would say in response to their complaints.
A rare grin escaped the old Chozo’s lips at recalling Kerrfu’s description of his new student. She truly did love the Newborn, almost as if she were her own chick. It was this love that he was here to prevent. He placed his talon over the corners of his beak. The look reminded Newborn of her deceased father. She managed to hold back the rush of screams insider her.
He telepathically reached out to her then and saw what images those hidden screams held within: the severed head of her father watching with glassy dead eyes. Something laughing, not anything visible but rather a lurking thing around the corner of her fears.
One word played back to back within that fear: dragon.
Grrunco was a master at finding the weaknesses of his students. Her’s was a fear and a remorse for having seen her parent’s death first hand. In the midst of a hunt, such remorse could get someone killed. There was only one cure for such a thing.
He released his split-second gaze into her mind. ‘You mean to ask if it will be like the Feast of Hunt you attended last year?’
She nodded her head solemnly.
‘For me yes, but not for you. This is why you have been brought to my school. I am your talon master. By the time we are done, you will be hunting yourself along with other Chozo from your class.’
Newborn relaxed her pose. This is exactly what she had wanted to hear.
Grrunco shot up from his chair, beak pointing towards Newborn in a challenging fashion, ‘Your time of feasting is up! Now we must train. From here on out you must call me the most reverent name bestowed upon a male of our kind.’
‘But Grrunco, I mean Grandfather, I’m not yet done with my meal.’
‘Then you must eat more and talk less.’
‘But you asked me a question and I—’
‘If your enemy asks you a question in the middle of the fight, how would you respond?’
‘But you are my teacher not my prey.’
‘I am both your teacher and your prey. You must hunt my words wisely if you wish to survive hunting in the wild.’
Newborn thought about reminding her teacher that she was not used to any of this. Something in the way that he stood warned her not to. Grrunco was not Kerrfu… he was Grandfather. Stoically she got up and followed him to the training grounds.
Her first lesson was not much of anything. Along with twelve young Chozo she was taught. Grandfather told her how to walk and when to stop, how to hit and how to not hit. She had thought him to be a kind person. Now she knew the truth of it. He was very harsh with her, more so than with the others. One student that stood to the right of her, a large brute named Plogos, thrived under Grandfather’s teachings. He lunged and soared with perfect accuracy. Newborn was always the last in everything they did, and always in the brute’s way. She felt inadequate and alone… an alien among so many capable birds of prey.
And yet, it felt good to be doing something. Working as hard as she did, there was no time to remember the dragon.
At night, when nightmares of the dragon woke her up, she would slip out of the stiff bed and practice hunting by herself. She imagined fighting the dragon, killing the dragon.
In the shadows Grrunco watched her practice. She was actually becoming quite good, able to grasp everything he taught her. Given time she might even pass her fellow hunters, in technique that is. She would never be as strong as them. It was such a shame though, to see so clever a student about to be brought down low. So fragile a form would not survive the tests ahead.
The Empress’ orders had been very clear though. The prophesied hope must live a harsh life if she was to be prepared for the coming war. He had been ordered to break her.