Shanda flew past the various floating islands and coral fields in her local area. No sign of whale so far. She decided to set a course for the Mist Wilds a few nautecs starboard of her position. Whales were known to feed there. Once she spotted the whale, she would use her powerful voice to lure it towards her. Once under her spell, she would activate her Sky Ski's harpoon launcher and fire it directly at the beast. The harpoon had a tow cable that was attached to her craft. Once dead, she would tow the great whale back to her village for harvesting.
Ahead of her she could see the Mist Wilds. It looked like a huge ball of cotton with frayed bits sticking out at different angles. As she got closer, white mist began to envelope her. Visibility soon dropped to nearly nothing. Shanda reduced her speed to five percent and activated her sensors. There would be quite a few small islands floating here and there and she certainly didn't want to crash on her first hunt.
There was virtually no wind in this region and virtually no sound except for the occasional bird and lizard call. Shanda lived in a world of constant wind and light breezes. She found the eerie silence to be a little unnerving. Better focus on the hunt she thought. She continued her scanning as the Sky Ski drifted through the mist. Suddenly, she saw a contact on her holo display. It looked like a large group of smaller objects approaching her. She readied herself as the objects started to come into range. Her sensor readings were off the chart. There must be hundreds of them she thought. Here they come! Out of the mist came a massive flock of Scale Wings. They were flapping and screeching all around her. As she passed through the formation of flying lizards, she noticed that her sensors had picked up a new contact. More scaly critters she thought. Shanda hoped that she wouldn't be coming back from her first hunt with Scale Wing guano caked all over her Sky Ski and no whale in tow.
Just then, her sensor panel began chiming. The new contact was massive and approaching rapidly. Just in front of her emerged the largest whale she had ever seen. Shanda was petrified and struggled to sing. She froze for a few seconds before managing to control her fear. It was now or never. If she didn't pacify the great beast, it might fly off, ram her, or swat the Sky Ski with it's massive tale.
Shanda quickly put herself into a clear state of mind just as the elders had taught her. The whale looked at her and moved back a few feet. Was it about to attack? She unleashed the power of her voice. Her song resonated through the very molecules in the air. The whale tensed up and reversed a few more feet. If it didn't succumb to her song it might escape. Shanda sang with greater intensity. The whales eyes widened and it's pupils dilated. It was smiling.
The great Air Whale sounded off with a massive call. it's mighty song seemed to permeate the fabric of the world. it's symphonic music was everywhere. Shanda could feel it resonating through her body and mind. She became transfixed and all thoughts of slaying the beast vanished from her mind. Was she at it's mercy? Had the hunter become the hunted? As the whale held her captive, it slowly altered the tone and frequency of it's song. The whale was communicating with her.
Shanda's mind opened up to the great whale as it sang. It formed a mental link with her. It told her that it wasn't a threat and that she was safe. It then began telling her a story of how her kind had once lived in harmony with whales. She saw a mental image of a great floating continent in the sky. It suddenly shattered into a thousand tiny islands that spread out here and there. Next she saw humans hunting and killing the whales for food. It made her feel a profound sense of sadness in the core of her being. The whale told her of how technology had destroyed her peoples homeland and reduced them to a more primitive society.
The whale continued telling Shanda about the events of the past five hundred years. She saw in her mind a much brighter vision. The whale sang a story of the old Song Hunters before the great sundering. She saw a vision of whales and humans hunting together. Both species flying in vast formations and using the power of song to herd Cloud Krill towards massive nets. Humans and Whales needed each other!
Shanda understood. She sat on her Sky Ski and cried while she contemplated the cruelty that her people had inflicted on the gentle whales. The whale sang again, telling her that she shouldn't be sad and that she was special. The whale then told her that the present day Song Hunters were unaware of the true purpose of the voice. The old ways had been lost after the sundering. The whale went on to tell her that the power of their voices was diminished and that they could no longer communicate with the whales. All they could do now was stun whales and kill them. It would seem that she was the first human to have the abilities of a true Song Hunter in five hundred years. Had she been chosen to bring about an end to the bloody cycle? It was all too much for her to fathom.
Shanda sang to the whale. She told it that she understood but didn't know how her people would survive if they stopped hunting whales. The Cloud Krill had disappeared almost entirely. There wouldn't be any food... The whale smiled. It sang back to her, telling her that there were vast schoals of Cloud Krill inhabiting another zone many nautecs away. The whale told her that it would take her there. Shanda was overjoyed and thanked the whale for this remarkable gift. She promised the whale that she would work hard to make her people understand and teach them the old ways.
Shanda was still in shock. She was wondering how she was going to explain all of this to her people. How would the elders take it and what would her father think? The whale released a quick ping explaining that she needed jettison her harpoon. She pushed the release button on her console and the nasty looking object dropped from her craft like a bomb. The whale smiled again and told her to activate the mooring cable and attach it to the creatures tale flipper. Once coupled with the whale, Shanda's Sky Ski could be towed behind the massive creature. Air Whales could fly at tremendous speed leaving a Sky Ski lagging behind. This way, they could reach the place where the vast numbers of Cloud Krill lived in short time. It now seemed that Shanda was going to be the first whale rider in hundreds of years.
And so Shanda had entered a time of high adventure and a return to the once ways. Would she and the Air Whale be strong enough in the voice to herd the Cloud Krill towards her village nets? Would there be enough to feed both her people and the whale? And would the villagers embrace the whale or attempt to kill it? Only time would tell...