** 2010 A/N: I like to thank those who've pushed me enough to finally go and hunt down ch. 8 that was never released to the public back in the Cavern of Hope's heyday. Now everyone can finally see what happens next and the return of Enter the Clan shall be on it's way to be completion, hopefully the goal by the end of the year, real life granted free time from. Thank you all who've stood by me and never gave up hoping for the continuation! ~ ValiaxGryphon, AKA ClanKeeper **

08 - Sorrow

With a new friend, Xander's Clan life almost blinds him of who he once was when a stranger comes to bid a final farewell.

Some two weeks later after my conquest over Mina-Rosta, I joined Go-daa and Erek on their hunts as a true hunter. My mind was filled with songs of the hunt, and I grew a taste for Outcast blood. Each time I joined in a small battle, my tusks dug deep in the gilled dolphin's flesh, the blood coursing down my throat. Oh what a feeling. One battle left a small and hardly noticeable scar on my chin, from a Outcast yearling with spunk in it. It wasn't enough to save his hide though.

After each battle that I joined, I would return to see among all others, Mina greeting me. She would bow her head and speak in a more respectful manner. I grinned each time, showing off my teeth and tusks and she always slightly quiver in fear. Each day when I hunted down fish, I was satisfied with my well-roundness and good health. I even shared some kills with Mina, just to keep her confidence at a level I was comfortable at, not the old spoiled brat Mina. One afternoon I had brought down a grouper. Not a full grown fish but big enough to share with Mina. That evening she began to act differently towards me. She seemed more relaxed as she chewed on the fish's back and tail. "Quite a catch, eh Xander? You're hunting skills are growing each time, next time you deside to share your meal with me, why not stalk larger prey?", she whispered. I gave her a look as I shallowed a chunk of flesh. "Eh? You mean those Outcasts? Bah, I only enjoy their blood, the skin and flesh isn't to my liking. What else is there that could satisfy our stomachs?" Mina shrugged and rose at the surface for breath then descending back down for another bite off the carcass. "I don't know, the hunters don't just hunt fish and fight outcasts only. what else have you captured?" I blew a few bubbles from my blowhole and looked into her eyes. "I have yet to join a open ocean hunt if you want to know. But when I do, I'll tell you when......." I stopped when I spotted something move behind a reef fan. Mina noticed too and before she could say anything, I had already darted in front of whom or what it was.

"Ow! Hey Xandy! Long time no see, Um, what cha up to? Hey are those tusks real?" "Xander what's with you and Mina-Rosta? I thought you two hated each and ..... OW!" I snarled and rammed the spies from hiding. "Darth and Gardeur! How Udare/U you two spy on my private meals! You should be gutted and hung on a rock to where lowly crabs eat your inners and the sharks nibble your hides!" The young officers quivered at my voice, close to each other for fear of running. "We came to tell you something, but when we saw you and Mina together, we though you two were fighting. Honest we weren't spying!", Darth said, his voice shaken. I released a low growl, making the water around me vibrate. Baring my teeth, I snarled, "Then tell me quick what you what to say then swim off before I attack you for disturbing my privacy!"

Both nodded, quivering still, and Gardeur stepped forward to explain. "Yes, well... General Kaolinite said he saw a human vessel off the coast. He wants you to join him and investigate if it's friendly or not. He asked us to pass the message as we are friends of you, yes? Still friends?" I paused a little, glaring into their eyes, fear. I could smell it, as it was so keen. Instantly I snapped my mouth at him and he recoiled with a yap. "Don't BEVER/B show fear like that again! If you let fear run over you, then I have every reason and rule from the Clan to kill off weakness! Now you say Kaolinite has need of me? Where is he and I'll see to him. As for the friend part, I 'll break that bondage if I find you two spying on me and being complete cowards, you got that!?" Both dolphins went wide-eyed and nodded faster than a seagull. Darth quickly added, " General Kaolinite is in the North Gate Bay waiting for you. You must hurry before this vessel leaves the coast." With that the two zoomed for the nearest exit, mere blurs passing the gate. I waited and then Mina and I bursted out laughing. "Did you see the looks of their faces?! Xander, you were one tough clam! Was that for real all that aggression or just for fun?", Mina choked between laughs. If she had human arms she'd wrapped them around her belly to hold in her guts from falling out, that was how hard she laughed. I smiled and grinned, "It was for real. But I'm not going to be taking any more calvish crap from now on. I'm an adult dolphin here, so I must act like one and be around more adults. Darth and Gardeur has yet to grow up." Mina nodded and swam up to me, smiling.

Before I knew what had happen, she had nuzzled the side of my left cheek, before realizing this and backing off, shying away. "Forgive me. What was I thinking. I promised it won't happen again." I looked at her, thinking hard of this action. Why did she do it? I didn't find out that moment, as other important tasks pushed it away from my mind momentarily. " It's alright. A female thing, I have to go seek Kaolinite's wishes and help him investigate this 'vessel'. Promise me to remain here till we sort this out?" Mina nodded, closing her eyes as she did and reopening them to mine. "Of course, what ever you say."

I swam off pass a few tunnels here and there before reaching the North Gate Bay. Kaolinite was there, waiting for me while pacing back and forth. This had to be serious to stress him out.I approached slowly, allowing him to remain calm when I appeared and not add any more stress on him. "You sent for me Sir?" Kaolinite slowly looked at me, then nodded. "Yes, the vessal outside is a fishing boat. You see," he paused, as if what ever it was, was choking on him. But with some strength, he pulled through. "It's the same boat that you came to us on. That human uncle's of yours who speared me. Remember? It's almost been a full year since you came to us." I blinked, the memories of human life were barely a blur. I knew was not born a dolphin, but had forgotten how I came here. The only memories I had left was from the walking up and discovering myself dolphin."I guess. Are they here to harm us? If so, I'll dig a nice hole in that weak driftwood of theirs. Let's go before they high tail-it back to the mainland."

I raced for the outside, Kaolinite sluggish behind my tail. As soon as I could see the belly of the wooden float, I stopped and watched, waiting for movements. Kaolinite wouldn't dare come closer if that spear-tosser was still there. I decided to take a bold feat and swam up under the boat, despite Kaolinite's calls to bring me back to safe waters. I started to hear sounds, not from the motor. The fan was not on and the boat anchored to the seabed. Slowly and silently I slipped my head above the surface to listen in on the speech. Once my eyes could see beyond the water's reflections, I saw two men and a woman, weeping with her thin arms around her eyes like flippers. One of the men were dressed the same in a strange skin, while the other in ragged fur coverings, the smell of foul odors rising from him and his tempered breathe. He was shouting and making a fuss while the woman carried on crying. I tried hard to concentrate on their conversation, finally breaking the barrier.

"Give it a rest Ruban, for pity sake!", the woman cried. "But I swear that damn demon fish took off with him. They must of held him hostage! If I can just git my dynamite I could..." "Ruban that won't do any good. Provoking the dolphins could make them attack more than before on our shores. If my son is alive, he's got to be on the island, surviving somehow. I bet he's kept clear from the shorelines.", the man behind the smelly one whispered. I didn't see his looks but that voice sounds familiar. "Ruban, can't you drive this old boat closer?" "Can't or those demon fish with git us like fish on the nets. I'm sorry, but....... Xander's gone. He couldn't of made it when there was three demon fish after him. I should of paid closer attention that day." The man remained still, then suddenly turned to see the other two humans. That's when my heart sank to the pits.

It was Dad. MY Dad. My human father, before this ever happened. The last I saw him was when I was a young boy, and he was in militaristic uniform. He had to go fight a war in a far-off country, and promised to return home as soon as he could. It had been ages since I saw my father, we were inseparable when I was little. My joy soon blinded my reality to waking up a past. And the other two humans, were my mother and Uncle Ruban. I wanted so much to tell them I was alive, so I did, in a way I will forever regret. "Dad! Mom, Uncle Ruban! It's me Xander! I'm okay, geez don't cry! I'm fine and dandy! Dad!!!", I cried out. They were startled and then look at me. "Oh my gosh! It's one of them! Kill it!", Ruban screamed out, reaching for a spear. "Uncle Ruban, what are you doing?!You're going to kill your own nephew! Dad, stop him! Dad, why do you look at me like that!?", I cried out, almost jerking a tear. "Why would there be one, making such a fuss? Wouldn't there be more around?", Mother wondered. Father explained a thought, "I would imagine it's almost a full grown adult, probably out here feeding and spotted our boat, just an act of curiosity. Ruban, leave this one alone. It's just a young one." "No way, this one maybe an offspring of one of the attackers, can't go around spreading the genes to future killers!" I panicked and looked into my Father's eyes, hoping he could understand. "Dad, please! Why don't you understand me! It's me Xander. XANDER!", I screamed. "My," mother said wide-eyed. "he's gots some lungs to make that much squealing." "Typical of calves of any dolphin kind to crave attention from strangers. I've seen plenty back with the Navy. Let it go Ruban, maybe in the future it won't harm humans. We need to be getting back, as it's late. I guess our son is truly gone." "No! No! No! Dad I'm right here in front of you! Why can't you hear me?! Please don't go! Don't leave me! NO! Don't go!" It was too late. The engines roared to life and Father and Mother held each other in their arms while Ruban drove away. The two held single roses in their hands which they tossed to the sea. "Farewell son. We'll miss you dearly.", My father said, tears streaming down his face. I tried to catch up, screaming them to not leave me behind. However, as soon as I was at the edge of the island's reef zone, the boat picked up speed and sped away into the open ocean. I watch the boat become smaller and smaller till the tiny dot went poof. "Why?! Why did they leave me!? Why couldn't they hear it was me!?" I yelled to the cold gloom in front of me. An echo of my voice returned from the vastness when it hit me hard in the melon. I Uwas/U a dolphin and therefore have lost the way to speak my old tongue. What they heard was dolphin calls. My heart must of fell through my chest and buried into the sand, to be forgotten throughout time.

I turned around back to the gates, head hung low. As soon as I rejoined Kaolinite, he had watched and heard the whole thing. "Xander, I'm sorry. Losing your father like that...I..." he stopped when I looked up at him, tears rolling down my face, being washed by the sea, anger in my eyes. "Just leave me alone!", I screamed then dash for a piece of coral rock. I tried not to burst out baling, for that was a major weakness to the Clan. Boy, was I trained well. But that didn't seem to stop the crushing blow it made on my heart and I exploded in sobs, mounting on top of another. For awhile I thought I was left alone, to cry away the last of my humanity. But then, a gentle touch was felt on my face and I looked up to see who it was. Kaolinite smiled slightly, never had he'd been so kind, never around other Clan dolphins. I wanted to push away his flipper, but a burning feeling inside urged me to keep sobbing. I ended up sobbing face-first on his side, his flipper wrapped in a hug for comfort.

As I wept, I could swear I heard Kaolinite sob as well, faintly. Was it for me, or for his own son, now gone too? I wasn't sure, but I allowed him to swim next to me very closely, sides touching as we re-entered the city. The rest of the day I didn't eat, even Mina had heard the bad news from Kaolinite and instead went to help her Father for the day, to give me some time alone. As night descended, Kaolinite swam up to me, at a rock just below the surface where I had wept more privately. "Xander, care to sleep in my home tonight?" I looked up at him. Sleep with a General?! What a honor, yet I never knew what his quarters were. I had a big lagoon to myself, so, what did he had? I nodded and nudges against his side. Sadly, I may of lost my Father, I wish I was Kaolinite's new son. I didn't want the comfort to end. Before the stars glittered in the sky, we arrived in a area for the Generals to sleep in, and Kaolinite nudged me on, sleep starting to take away my troubles. I was so sleepy I didn't bother to observe the surroundings. I manage to catch a sentence before I was blanketed by sleep.