Isla Aukate
Slate (bottom) playing with Rainbow (snoot)
Slate (bottom) playing with Rainbow (snoot)

The various creatures that the darnathi use for work usually have a partner in some manner. This is to give the animal something to draw on for support, and something to keep the animal in line. In Slate’s case it was his ‘brother’, Shale. Slate doesn't know if he was biologically related to Shale, but the two considered one another siblings as the two were raised together and trained together and were as close as siblings could be.

Shale was the more aggressive of the two and also the most obedient. Slate was keenly intelligent but Shale often acted as the leader of the pair and took charge when it came to assignments. Because of this, Slate’s intelligence went unnoticed and Shale often took the credit for his plans or clever ideas. Slate was smart enough to recognize that the thurvines that were smarter than average were sometimes culled, so he continued to keep his mouth shut.

While on orders for what they thought were from Titan, but later turned out to be from Sagitar, Shale was killed by Cobalt. Slate retreated and waited for Cobalt to leave, and then buried his brother. He wandered the forest alone and unsure of what to do.

If Slate went back to the ship he would probably end up being culled for getting his partner killed, so eventually he opted to take things via the darnathi route and ask for an apology. He went to catch a fish in the ocean and badly damaged his gills. Cobalt found him, brought him back to his house, and nursed the thurvine back to health. Slate was surprised that Cobalt didn’t hold a grudge, and they both forgave one another.

Slate spends his time recovering from the damage the saltwater caused his gills, and raising a family with a maternal thurvine that had come to live with Cobalt after the animals fled the ship when Beryl was killed.