For the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I'm posting alphabetically on things related to Shayla's world from my (unpublished) novel, Ghosts of Innocence...
We don't meet much native wildlife in Ghosts of Innocence - the focus is very much on the people - but one rather gruesome example does make an appearance:
Shayla turned to a screen and scanned the ground below. Small shadows flitted through the trees.
She shuddered. Hokloks! Curiosity had led her last night to the armored fence where the hokloks were penned. Long-necked flightless birds, standing three feet tall, they looked harmless, almost cute.
The guards released an antelope into the pen. At the sight of the hokloks, the animal snorted and bolted on trembling legs. The birds let out high, whooping cries and gave chase. Hunting as a pack, they cornered the terrified antelope and sliced it apart with razor sharp beaks and talons.
Hokloks have been bred and trained as hunting animals for aristocratic sport. Falconry on steroids.
In a hunt, the birds have their hearing blocked and sight partially blinkered so they are dependent on the skill of their human controller to ambush their prey. The huntsmen ride airbikes, each directing a pack of five or six hokloks.
In the more dedicated echelons of the nobility, the preferred prey is human, usually prisoners given the chance to earn their freedom by surviving a pre-arranged duration.
The preceding excerpt introduces a chapter in Ghosts depicting such a hunt, where Shayla learns more of the Emperor's character than she ever imagined.