Jon Yonder’s quest for secret knowledge on a small out-of-the way world populated by squat, ugly beings

Death of the Old Gnarled Tree

I was an alien stranger here, the only passenger dropped off by the creaky planet hopper at the sole space port on this strange, out-of-the way world circling a somber reddish star. The local oki* were squat and ugly. They talked funny and treated me rudely. Thus, I walked their roads alone. As I walked through their villages, they gave me scant notice, despite—or perhaps because of—my strange…

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