Voyage to Mars
Here I'll write ideas, stories, poetry, thoughts, anything...
- Name: Space Dancer
- Location: Newton, MA, United States
I'm a latin ballroom dancer. And I LOVE IT!
Friday, December 02, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The seven mountains of Telkshar were known solely as the mountains of peace and quiet. No one lived on their grassy peaks, no adventures took place anywhere on or near them. No material, spiritual, or entertainment values could be obtained from them. They simply stood, alone, with only each other for support and company.
Once in a long while, a lone villager would come to wander the monotonously bright green valleys and rises of the seven mountains, in search of something that he knew he had no hope of finding. The mountains, full of pity, would serve as the lonesome villager's only friend - cradling him until he decided the Telkshar could be of no help either, and left them again to their isolated fate.
The days came and went, scorching summers, daggerlike icicles filled the winters, but no one would visit the mountains. Soon the people of the world began to spread - they left the ancient mountain villages and moved away, towards the west. Less and less people remained, until only one village was left - Telkshe. Unfortunately, the occupants of this village slowly began to leave as well. Family by family, they too began their journeys towards the west.
Soon, there were very few left. Ten families, no more and no less, remained in Telkshe. But a terrible fate was bestowed upon them, as if their late migration and hesitation to leave their beloved village had brought upon them a terrible curse. A plague attacked the village, mercilessely killing all of the village Elders. No one knew why only the Elders were attacked by the plague, why the terrible sickness spared only the younger people of the village.
One of them, Keara, was an orphan girl - her father had been killed before her birth, and her mother had died recently because of the plague. Keara, unlike anyone from her village, loved the mountains. Every day, she would hike up their grassy slopes and bathe in the rivers that, like graceful ribbons, wound their way around the Telkshar's sides. Keara loved to gather herbs and flowers - her mother had previously taught her the different ways that they could be used. Because of this, Keara was the only one in her village who had any knowledge of medicines and poisons. Since the Elders could no longer serve as the healers of her village, Keara was the only one who qualified for the job.
Keara loved the mountains not only for their herbs, but for all the different creatures that occupied them. There were wild cats and dogs, softhearted bears, playful, never frightened bunnies among her personal favorites. Keara loved to explore the mountains, and leading a very uninteresting, unexciting life, she loved to lie down under her favorite willow tree in a field of daisies, and let her imagination soar.
When she was younger, her mother would fill her heart with wonderful, breathtaking adventure stories of faraway lands, magical, wonderful places that Keara knew did not exist in her world. Ever since her mother passed away, the only way Keara could come anywhere near the stories she was told was to lie down underneath that very willow tree, relax, close her eyes, and think up her own adventures.
A Strange Find
Dreamily, a pair of bright, grass-green eyes unlocked the long lashes that covered their field of vision, and scanned the surrounding area for anything new; something they knew they wouldn't find. A light wave of light hair lifted itself off the ground, swaying in almost liquid-like ripples with the gentle passing of the wind.
Keara's imagination reaching its limit for the moment, the girl decided to begin her usual food and herb gathering for today's supper and her medicine stocks. Lifting herself off the ground, she observed the surroundings of her usual resting spot; the sweet-smelling field of daisies, the baby willow tree covering her body with its small, cozy blanket of shade, crows silently flapping their pitch-black wings into the distance... In reality, this was her home. Not the hectic village down below, where every day some toddler wandered too far from the village alone, or some small, sweet child would die of some accursed illness or of food poisoning.
Her real home was here, beneath this tree, among these flowers, where her mother's voice would still float on the soft currents of wind, passing her stories on to future generations of eager listeners...
Keara smiled, stretched her arms up to the sky, yawned, and looked about herself once more. And then she saw it.
A bright green glow seemed to illuminate a small patch of daisies in the shade beside her for just an instant. She fell to the ground, hungrily searching for the source of the mysterious glow, curiosity completely taking over her body.
Again, the same patch of daisies in the shade of the willow were illuminated in that same green glow. More thoroughly this time, she again examined the flowers. She found nothing. Loosing hope, she thought maybe a trick of the light had fooled her into thinking she would find some interesting object hidden within the daisy patch.
There! She spotted the origin of the glow. Surrounded by three daisies, two of them large and one tiny, an object lay.
Kneeling, she picked the object up. It was a green gem shaped like a crescent… and something tiny was carved at its center. It was another small crescent. The gem had obviously been made by human hands. A sudden surge of unexplained panic gripped Keara's heart. She wanted to drop the strange object sitting in the palm of her hand and run - run as fast as she could, down the mountain, far away from this place...
But reason lay behind this panic. Keara knew very well that she and her mother were the only ones to have visited Telkshar for the past hundred-or-so years - not including, of course, the occasional peasant coming from the sea that made only a very quick passing through some secluded part of the mountain. But what kind of peasant owned such a rare, beautiful gem? And besides, anyone that traveled the mountains always stopped by Telkshe, which was the only village nearby... Neither Keara nor her mother had ever seen or heard of any strangers wandering the mountain during the span of both of their lifetimes.
Why had this gem suddenly appeared on the Telkshar? Deciding to examine the gem and ponder the question further later, Keara stood up and made her way toward the Bluebird woods to begin her usual day's food gathering.
A New Land
Night had finally fallen. The air was warm and tasted of a pleasant sweetness, a kind of sweetness that could combine only with the salty fragrance of sea air to become like a heaven for the nose. The sea was exactly where Keara’s tired feet had dragged her. After a day of hiking through the various drops, steep rises, and cliffs of the Telkshar – the sea was the only place that could rest not only her body, but her soul as well. Seating herself on a large, moss-covered rock, she dipped her toes into the water, whose calm waves lapped at the rock’s uneven side in a steady rhythm. Keara’s eyes drifted to the full, pale moon that seemed to look down at her with a kind of curious scrutiny. Coincidentally, the moon that night was in the shape of a crescent. Keara was instantly reminded about the green gem. She took it out from a pouch that was attached to her skirt through a loop. Placing it into the palm of her left hand, she began to examine the gem.
It was a bit larger than her eye, and admitted a slight green glow in the light of the moon. She could discover nothing other than what she observed earlier about this small, curious thing.
Suddenly, for the second time, the moon caught her eye. Her head lifted automatically. Through a pack of grey clouds drifting by in opposite directions, she could see again the newly-uncovered crescent moon. She felt a strange vibration in her hands. She looked down at the gem, but it remained unchanged. She looked up again in confusion - she was sure something had just caught her eye... But then she did a double-take.
The gem in her hand suddenly started to emit bright flashes of green light. The flashes doubled, then tripled in size. Keara frantically tried again and again to tell herself to drop the gem before –
The green light enveloped Keara's body in a bright green flash. The light was warm and comfortable, yet had an eerie, unearthly feel about it. Before she knew what happened, the moon, the rock, and the entire sea had disappeared from view. For a moment, all she could see was a pool of green light - and instantly, a meadow appeared before her eyes.
For a moment, Keara felt as though she had just awoken from a strange dream. She opened her eyes, expecting to see the familiar baby willow above her head. All she could see was a clear, blue sky. For a moment, she wondered if she had been walking about one of the mountain’s many forests and had accidentaly happened to hit her head on a branch... Sitting up, she suddenly felt dazed - as if the sweet, sweet candied air of this place was somehow too much for her. In an instant, the feeling disappeared, and she was able to breathe freely again. She looked around, and almost screamed.
What was this place? The meadow she found herself in was filled with flowers, if anything, the exact opposite of daisies. The flowers were huge. Each one had six, perfectly round petals, and each was of a different color of the rainbow. Suddenly, Keara realized how painful the completely contrasting colors were to look at. Standing up, she look around once more. From above, the colors seemed much duller, and somehow more pleasant for her eyes... Maybe even enjoyable.
"Wake up!" Keara told herself.
Frantically, she shook her head, as if she thought the motion would somehow magically make the strange place disappear. Nothing happened. Opening her eyes, Keara saw that she was still in the same sweet-smelling place, surrounded by the same giant, rainbow-colored flowers. Looking down, Keara noticed that her fist was still clenched. Opening it, she discovered that the strange gem was still lying in her palm. She turned the gem repeatedly over and over with her fingers, trying to find some clue as to how it brought her, and where. It seemed to be exactly the same as when she last inspected it - crescent shaped, with a crescent carved in its center. Whatever the gem's role was in her arrival in the strange new place, it seemed that it wasn't going to help her get back home. Deciding to keep it (just in case), she put it in her skirt-pouch.
She then decided that the best course of action would be to examine her surroundings. She wanted desparately to get home, but to do that she would need to know where she was currently, first. She decided to go east, since that was the direction to the sea in her own world. Her people's legends told that whenever one was lost, one had to travel to the sea.
The strange field of flowers gradually narrowed as Keara made her way into unknown territory. Random, but steadily increasing numbers of trees began to align themselves on either side of the field. Soon, Keara saw that the field was surrounded by two forests – the strangest forests the girl had ever seen. The forest on her right was made up of very, very small trees, barely taller than Keara. Their leaves were square, and they carried a strange fruit that vaguely resembled and apple, but which was colored a violently bright shade of purple. The forest on the left was made up of trees whose diameter must have been at least twice that of Keara's height. Their leaves were perfectly triangular, and they carried a plum-sized, orange fruit with long, dangerous-looking thorns protruding messily at all angles.
After walking for almost an hour, Keara began to feel increasingly tired. Her legs cried out for rest at every step - she knew she wouldn't be able to go on for much longer. She wished fervently for a place to sit down. Her wish was granted. At the right-hand edge of the meadow, beside the forest of short trees a large log lay on the ground. Using the last of her strength, Keara dragged herself over to it and sat down. Her legs finally felt at peace, and the strange sweetness of the place began to make her feel a little more relaxed and allowed her to close her eyes for a minute.
"Kaw!" Keara jumped to her feet. A strange, raucous voice had just sounded from the inside of the log.
"Who... Who's there?"
"There! There!" The voice screamed.
"Who... Who are you?" Keara asked, slowly backing away from the log.
"Who! Who! Am I! I am... Raiber! I am. Am I! Raiber. A Ray-birrrd!!!" The voice sqwaked.
"Wh...why are you hiding... in that log?" Asked Keara suspiciously, her voice shaking with fear.
"Hiding! Hide!!! HIDE!!! Are you hiding? No hiding!"
All of a sudden, out of the log came flying a bird. It was a strange bird, at first sight looking like a parrot with incredibly ruffled feathers on its head. But just like all else in this world, it wasn’t just a parrot. Keara couldn’t believe her eyes. The bird had a... monkey tail? Not only did the bird's tail resemble that of a monkey's, but while Keara was speechlessly gaping at the parrot, the tail managed to wrap itself around her neck. Then, the whole bird followed its unusal tail and landed on Keara's shoulder, pinching Keara's skin slightly with its talons.
"Not hiding. Not hiding!" It sqwaked.
"Get off me!"
Keara struggled frantically against the bird, but it wouldn't budge. The talons, though not painful, were incredibly firm on her shoulders.
"Get off! Get off!" Mimicked the bird, "Get off!"
"Please," Keara stopped the hopeless struggle against the bird, "Then tell me who - what you are at least."
"Please tell! Please tell! Me are who. Me are who. Raiber. Raiber. Am a Ray Bird!!"
"Raiber? A Ray Bird? Well, can you please tell me where I am?"
"Here! You are here!"
It was the first thing Raiber didn't mimic. Keara relaxed a bit, seeing that conversation with this strange bird wasn't entirely hopeless.
"Um, Raiber, please, what is this place?" Keara asked uncertainly.
"Raiber! Raiber!" Mimicked the bird, "This place, Kaya! Kaya! Big big big land. Dying land. This place! Kaya."
"Kaya... I've never heard of such a place. How did I come here? More imporantly, how do I leave here?"
"Kaya! Kaya! How you come here. How your return. Must be here importantly! No no no one comes lost. How you come here, how you return!!!"
Suddenly Keara remembered the gem in her skit-pouch.
"Raiber, maybe... Do you know what this is?"
She held her palm out to the monkey-tailed bird, so that it could see the gem properly.
"Know this! Know this! Saphora Gem! All legends. Only in legends. Must so go the Wise One! He knows he knows."
"How can I get to this Wise One?"
"Get Wise One. Get Wise One. Follow, follow, follow! Wise One knows Saphora Gem! Wise One knows! Follow, get to this Wise One!"
And with that, the bird relinquished its hold on Keara's shoulder and rose up into the air, flapping its powerful wings.
"Followfollow! Wise one is this way, follow!"
The bird then turned towards the forest and began flapping its colorful wings in a slightly southeast direction. With no other way to find out where she was or how to get back home, Keara found she had no choice but to follow this strange creature, wherever he decided to lead her...
According to Raiber, the Belighted Woods were the proper name for the funny-looking, shorter trees Keara had seen earlier. Keara was accustomed to walking in forests amidst trees that were much taller than her, so when the companions made their way through the forest of "midget" trees (as Keara felt obliged to call them), she felt very awkward being able to see above them, right over their leafy tops. Now, instead of being pelted with branches, nuts, and fruits from the trees as the wind blew, Keara was the one tripping over the bulky roots in the ground and squashing the miniature trees with her weight.
After some unknown period of time which felt like a half hour to Keara, the walk through the woods slowly became a walk through a long valley, surrounded on either side by the same smaller trees as before. Keara was beginning to fatigue, and she wished Raiber would make the call for a short break. The call was not needed.
A small wooden cabin, raised a few meters off the ground by thick logs, sat comfortably amidst a semi-circle of trees that greatly resembled pines. Keara stood still, wondering what to expect from a lone cabin sitting silently in the middle of a valley in a very strange land. Raiber didn't seem to know what to do either, judging by the fact that he landed once more on Keara's shoulder and cocked his head slightly in a comically curious fashion, staring at the cabin. The answer, though, seemed to find them itself.
The sound of footsteps startled the two companions. Raiber sqwaked loudly and blasted off of Keara's shoulder, flapping his wings wildly. Keara spun around to see a lone shadow slowly approaching her from behind several rows of tall pine trees. Rapidly, the figure casting the shadow became visible in the glaring sunlight.
The tall, young man approaching the two companions was a fine sight. He was very handsome; he had a strong build and a kind face, his dark hair fell in front of his equally dark eyes, which at the moment showed a great deal of surprise at the sight of a mysterious girl and a monkey-tailed bird.
Wearily, the man approached the girl. His stride was long, and he carried a bundle of logs under one of his arms. He didn’t seem about to cause the companions any harm, so Keara stood her ground and awaited his arrival. Once he had reached a close enough, but polite distance for speaking, he stopped.
"Hello, I am Gale. May I ask who you are and what you seek here?" The man asked politely in a deep, pleasant voice.
“Please, Sir – Gale, we are looking for the –” But Keara’s statement was cut short by a painful jab at her ear by the bird on her shoulder.
Her head pivoted sharply towards the bird. But in the split second when the green-eyed gaze of the young girl and the watery, dark staring eyes of the bird met, Keara was sure she had caught the tiniest hint of a head shake. In that strange land, where nothing and no one seemed to make any sense to Keara, she realized that if she was ever to get home, she would need to find someone to trust. For where there is no trust, there is always deception. Keara decided that Raiber seemed the proper candidate, as he was the first living thing that seemed willing to help her in this strange, magical new world.
“We… we are looking for some food and a place to stay the night.”
Before responding, the young man looked the pitiful pair over with his dark, absorbing eyes – for yes, Raiber and Keara were in a quite miserable state. Keara’s gray skirt, already weathered and partially demolished by daily food gatherings in her home world, had turned into something that could barely be recognized as a torn rag. The trees she had passed through with Raiber had somehow managed to tear the skirt into little shredded bits, which dangled at awkward-looking angles. Her light, blue blouse ahd been mixed with an unsettling shade of green, which had appeared after her first “tumble” onto Kaya’s grassy earth. Her face and arms were covered in little scratches, caked with dried blood and coated with a final layer of mud. Raiber was also in rough shape – he seemed unused to flying at high speeds (he seemed to be a slow, relaxed flyer), and the sudden change in routine had caused his feathers to puff and ruffle around his head, making him look, if anything, more comical than usual.
Finally, a smile broke through the silence.
“I would be delighted to offer my hospitalities.”
Keara felt the talons on her shoulder give her a slight squeeze. She glanced at the bird, who gave a loud, disapproving sqwak. Nevertheless, the bird remained glued to her shoulder as she entered Gale’s hut.
The hut was unlike anything Keara had ever seen. On the outside, it didn’t look very interesting – it was made of neatly-cut, light brown logs with a roof made of various sizes of branches.
The inside of the hut, though, was like a completely different world. The walls were painted light green, the same color as the leaves on the branches of the roof. A small kitchen table stood in the center of the hut, and to the right was a something resmbleing a cross between a miniature fireplace and a stove. To the left, there were two beds stationed on opposite sides of the hut. The beds seemed to be made of wood, on which rested a puffy, white material which reminded Keara of soft cotton. The bed situated beneath a small, square window wasn’t empty. Although nothing but the long, white hair of the occupant was visible (due to the two or three blankets covering their entire body) – soft, irregular snores were coming from the mysterious figure – indicating to Keara that they were asleep.
“That’s Elenea, my foster mother.” Gale pointed out, following Keara’s gaze, “She’s sick… She needs rest. We should be quiet, but she probably won’t wake until evening.”
Evening. That one word began a frantic series of thoughts, chasing one another within her head. What time was evening in this place? How long was a day? A night? Maybe hours didn’t even exist here…
“Is anything troubling you, my lady?” Gale asked, seeing the puzzled look on Keara’s face.
Such courtesy from a stranger was uncommon to Keara, and though she usually didn’t share her thoughts or complaints with anyone, something about the way Gale posed the question won her trust.
“I just… Well, I… I’m not from around this area, you see. You mentioned evening, and I don’t even know what time it is.”
“It’s latern midday.”
“Er – latern midday?”
“Yes, the sun has about one-quarter of the sky to cross before it sets.”
Time-telling, as, Keara was sure, many other things in this strange place, must be very different from what she herself was used to back at home. Nevertheless, Keara managed to understand a reasonable amount of Gale’s time-telling vocabulary to work out that ‘latern midday’ meant late afternoon.
“Well, I was just about to make dinner.” Gale said, most likely to fill the slowly passing silence and in order to reassure Keara that she would have time to process her thoughts in peace. “Meanwhile, make yourselves comfortable.” He added, smiling broadly at Keara and Raiber, his dark eyes twinkling with shine of the afternoon light flooding in through the little window.
For a moment, Keara stood on still. She had no idea what was meant by ‘making herself comfortable’. One bed was occupied, the other was surely Gale’s, and there was virtually no room left in the hut to make any kind of tolerable bed on the floor.
As if reading her thoughts, Gale swerved about so suddenly that Keara almost jumped out of her blackened, ripped sandals.
“Please,” He said, his tone apologetic, “I’m sorry. You’re to have that bed.” He pointed to the empty bed in the left corner of the hut. “Do you have any belongings?”
“No, just all that’s on me right now.” Keara replied, slightly embarrassed.
“No need to worry, I have plenty of my mother’s old clothes hidden away in the storage room… it’s a tiny thing, really, right beneath the spot I’m standing on.”
This explained why the cabin was raised so high off the ground. But still, Keara was confused. Where was Gale to spend the night?
“What about you, sir? It doesn’t seem like there’s any place around here for you to stay.”
“Oh, don’t worry about me. I only spend nights in the hut on rainy days, and it seems the weather will be perfectly glamorous tonight.”
Still unsure of what he meant, Keara decided not to distract him from making dinner. She was starving – she hadn’t eaten since morning (or rather, morning in her own world), and she had been walking for many hours without rest since then.
“So, dear lady, where have you come from?” Gale asked, setting something mysterious and slightly-smoking on the kitchen table. Whatever it was, it lay boiling in a large, dark blue pot and sent bubbles popping into the air. Because of the size of the pot, Keara couldn’t see exactly what lay inside.
“Er –” Keara began, but she was cut short by Raiber, who had suddenly become alive on her shoulder.
“Here. Come from here,” The bird stated, “Kaya. Kaya.”
“Forgive me, friend,” Gale spoke softly, smiling at Raiber, “But are you a Ray Bird?”
“Ray Bird! Ray Bird, that I am.” Raiber replied, puffing his chest out proudly at Gale.
“Just as I thought... I've never seen a Ray Bird. Your folk don't live anywhere in this area, do you? But you,” Gale turned to Keara, “You don’t like much like a Kayan.”
Here, finally, came the moment of the two possibilities that would determine the outcome of her strange adventure: truth or lies. While smiling outwardly, inside Keara was terribly frustrated. What was she to do? Trust this stranger, like she trusted Raiber? But Raiber seemed so suspicious of him – although, for no particular reason.
Keara looked down at the table, still undecided. From there, her gaze transferred back to Gale. Her green eyes met his mysterious, dark ones, both pairs trying to discern the secrets hidden inside. Beyond the small square window, the sun was setting in a beautiful blend of red, yellow, and orange colors. Gale’s right eye caught a thin ray of light passing through the window. To Keara, it seemed as if the light was shining its way through his eyes to his heart.
She knew what to say.
Fur and Feathers
“My name is Keara, and I come from a mountainous land called Tel –”
SQWACK. Raiber dug his talons slightly deeper into Keara’s already sore shoulders. She let out a gasp of pain.
“Raiber, stop! If I want to tell this man who I am, I’m going to tell him. And you’re not going to stop me.”
Raiber sqwaked again, but this time a little more quitely.
“Good. Now,” She continued, turning back to Gale, who was staring at her in wide-eyed confusion, and continued. “As I was about to tell you, I come from Telkshe. Have you ever heard of such a place?”
After staring speechlessly at the girl for a moment, Gale awoke from the state of shock holding his features captive.
“Telkshe? I’m afraid I don’t know of such a place. It must be on the shores of some different sea, for there is no land with that name at the shores of the Sea of Kayatan.”
The sea… Again, Keara felt comfort in this word that acted as an ancient wisdom for her people. She felt a sudden urge to leave the conversation at its present spot and sprint from the hut, eastward… Eastward. To the sea.
“This… Sea of Kayatan. Is its eastern shore nearby?”
“Eastern? What do you mean by this word?”
Again, Keara reminded herself that, as was with time-telling, their terms for navigation would most likely be different as well.
“Er… The direction of the rising sun.”
“Ah, now I see your meaning. My lady, our language is similar in so many respects that I can clearly understand your speech… Yet it is also so different that it takes words, words, and yet more words for me to decipher the meaning of your only one.”
“You speak wisely, and I agree with you. I feel just the same hearing the strange words you speak.”
Gale smiled, and Keara returned this smile. She liked the young man’s humorous shrewdness.
“Well, do try some of the food. I’m sure you’ve had much better, but if I may say so, this lot isn’t so repulsive as to force one to spend the night starving.”
As if in response to this invitation, Keara’s stomach growled greedily with hunger. Grinning, she closed her eyes and leaned down to get a waft of the grey smoke spiraling slowly into the air. To Keara’s surprise, the thick smoke drifted very lightly through her nostrils, the warm vapor filling her with contentment. It carried the pleasant smell of a stew to which a mixture of spices and herbs was added. She heard the clank-clank of plates being placed on the table. She opened her eyes and looked down at the mysterious meal, whatever it was.
Instead of the stew she was expecting, her eyes opened to the vision of something resembling a black pile of ashes, surrounded by a quickly evaporating puddle of murky-looking water. Barely resisting the urge to make faces at the nasty-looking meal, she looked quickly at Gale.
“Um… What… What exactly is this?” She asked, trying to sound as polite as possible.
“Why,” Gale responded, looking genuinely surprised at her lack of knowledge, “Haven’t you ever had Dwarf’s Ash before?”
“Dward’s Ash?” Keara repeated uncertainly. “Is there any particular reason for which this… er… food has such a name?”
“Because this was what the mountain Dwarves ate when they were cut off from the outside world in times of war... in times of great peril. It’s the simplest meal to make when there is a shortage of supplies. But believe me when I say that not a single person – or creature – who’s tried it has ever come back complaining to the chef.”
He said this with such an air of self-confidence that Keara decided not to argue further. Trying not to grimace, she nodded, and allowed Gale to use a cup-like dish to scoop up a large portion of Dwarf’s Ash. He then dumped it onto her plate, which was a large flat piece of smooth granite. A smaller version of Gale’s scooping dish was placed beside Keara, and she followed Gale’s example of filling it with the Ash and then pouring small amounts of it into her mouth.
She almost fainted with delight. Unbelieveably, the ash tasted even better than it smelled, and nothing at all like how it looked. The salty, spicey flavor seemed to melt in her mouth and fill it with a comfortable warmness which, as she soon found out, proved to be very captivating.
Before she could think properly again, the Ash was all gone. Her first instinct was to ask for water or some other liquid to satisfy her thirst after the meal, but then she realized that that thirst was nonexistent. The Ash seemed to be able to quench thirst as well as hunger.