Meralda squinted as her eyes met the arid noon sun. Holding a paw to her head, the Namican slowly rose, sending glances to either side.
Around her, other Namicans were gathered, all lying on their sides. Peering closer, it took a moment for her blurred vision to register her older siblings, unconscious. She sat up straight.
She heard a slight noise behind her, turning. Stooped a dozen paces away, the eldest of her siblings, Ralkin, eyed her with a furrowed brow.
Meralda shook her head. "What happened? Why are we here?"
Ralkin didn't answer at first, glancing to the others. "It's a long story. Father has passed."
Meralda let out a long exhale. "It was only a matter of time."
Her older brother snorted. "Time. We have so precious little."
She glanced to the horizon. "What for? And again, what are we doing here?"
"We were barely able to get away from the gathering place. It looks like we ran for a day before we all lost consciousness. Now we need to wake the others."
Meralda nodded. "What's the rush?"
"The young ones have been left alone for too long. We need to gather them all together. We can't do it ourselves."
Meralda shakily stood, smiling. "Barely together a day or so, and taking charge already?"
He was impassive. "Not if anyone else remembers what we were up against."
Her fur bristled. "What was it?"
Ralkin cocked an eyebrow, standing. "Let's just get everyone else up. They're more likely to listen to you than me."
She tried to suppress the urge to roll her eyes. Glancing toward her nearest unconscious sibling, she darted to his side, shaking his shoulder.
"Geleba! Wake up."
He groaned. After a moment of wincing her relaxed and resumed snoring. Meralda looked to Ralkin. He shook his head.
"Might want to give him more time. Keep trying the others, they've got to come around soon."
Meralda nodded, darting for the next nearest sibling. "How long do you think it will be?"
"Possibly hours. You've been out for a few."
She struggled to think back, but nothing came. "When were we all last standing?"
"Just before dawn. I seemed to have escaped the effects of our attacker, but we might not get so lucky next time."
Meralda nodded. "But can't you tell me what it looks like?"
He shook his head. "It was dark. And besides, if someone else remembers, then there won't be any trust issues."
Meralda shook the next comatose sister, gaining no response. "Compared to this, that's a trivial matter for anyone to bring up."
Ralkin cocked an eyebrow. "We'll see."
As she turned her back to go on to the next sibling, he bent down next to the first, and tipped a small vial across the brother's lips. His eyes narrowed as his younger sibling stirred once more.
"We will see..."