The Hip-Stilts, Or, the Keepers of Wet Eden
They were incredibly quiet and blended in well with the tall grasses and flowers in their marshlands of their home world.
They looked for all the world like a hip-bone on long bone stilts from a distance, and closer still one could see the whiskers and the dark, intelligent face.
They had likely been watching us for decades, blending in effortlessly.
They were inoffensive in their habits, and generally left us humans alone – however, when my companion came too close to one of the creatures, it planted one stilt leg in the mud and waved his other eight-foot leg around with more vigor you would think a creature could with no visible muscles.
It could have easily have killed my companion and me, in two steps – the thing basically had javelins for legs.
My companion backed off, and the creature stopped its display and eventually moved off.
The purpose of these creatures is apparently that of cultivator; its long legs drive the seeds of the native plants deep into the wet soil. We finally discovered why so many of them were watching us: when we had taken what we needed, they would come to the area we had left and press what we had left into the soil, thus ensuring that new plants would germinate and fill the gap.
The hip-splints were not exactly what we expected as keepers of this wet Eden, but we are glad for them.
Another rendering and zoom-out of the week's amazing fractal in Apophysis ... still more to come!