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Old 11-06-2006, 12:55 PM   #15
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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Lalaith's post

Embla stirred the fire and smiled to herself. It was not a very pleasant smile.
Briga, the senior wife - the hag, as she privately called her - had lit this fire in the hearth, and then told her to tend it. She, proud daughter of the Bairka, had obeyed - but she had her revenge. Small, unimportant victory, but sweet nevertheless.

Open conflict was not her method. After all, Khandr, her husband…she clenched her jaw in anger at this last word, now so empty of any meaning it had carried in her girlish dreams. In those days, she imagined she would wed according to the customs of her people. A hand-fasting with a young man of her own choosing, each cleaving solely to the other. Yes, in open conflict, her “husband”, Khandr would take, as always, the hag’s part.

When her worthless father had sold her into what she regarded as little better than concubinage, she was horrified. But she at least imagined her existence would be soft and pampered - that the ageing husband would dote on his new young bride. Inexplicably, her youth seemed to hold little allure for Khandr. Instead, he clung to the familiar, middle-aged comforts offered by the hag. His infrequent visits to Embla’s tent were due to his longing for a son, not for her nubile charms.

So, when ordered to sit by the hearth, Embla made sure her retort had nothing to do with the task at hand, nothing to which Briga could reasonably object. You will not choke on big words and pig fat, sister wife, she said grinning. The older woman was discomfited, Embla could tell, and puzzled. Was this perhaps a curse or insult among the Bairka? Then Embla gazed deep into the fire, rubbed her ear-lobes, touched the skin beneath her eye and muttered dark and obscure words.
Axe-time, sword-time, shields are sundered,
After the wolf do wild men follow.

Embla knew well that her people had a somewhat mysterious and even oracular reputation among the Borrim. And now this gave her great satisfaction – the older woman looked distinctly alarmed, and left the room hastily. Of course, it did not take much to unsettle or intimidate Briga at this time. None of the Borrim were comfortable in their current surroundings. None except Embla herself. She was used to living in an alien, hostile environment – she had, after all, been doing so since her marriage. In fact, she rather enjoyed observing the discomfiture of the rest of the party - her husband, the hag, and those two doltish hunters - watching them feel as unwelcome, as wary, as ill at ease as she herself had always been since she first arrived among the Borrim.

As for her menacing pronouncements….Embla smirked again. Many of the women in her family did indeed have the sight. She remembered well the gestures of the Bairka sybils, and the kind of words they spoke when their visions came upon them, and she knew how sinister they could be. But she also knew enough about the sight to know that her Eye – if she did possess the gift - was too clouded by hate and anger to reveal any real truths.

Last edited by piosenniel; 11-11-2006 at 06:43 PM.
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