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Old 07-27-2006, 12:47 AM   #116
Shade of Carn Dm
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Curled up on Melko's lap
Posts: 425
Tevildo has just left Hobbiton.

With the stern rebuke from Kwell ringing in her ears, Azhar had turned her face from the wooden grate and stared fixedly at the ground. At one point, she heard angry voices from the other side of camp and wondered if the slavers had found whoever had stolen their horses.

Despite the girl's initial resolve to remain awake and wait for her rescuers to appear, her eyes had gradually closed until she found herself fitfully dreaming. Her visions were a tangled mass: images of blood and battle, some real scenes she had witnessed, others dreary depictions from inside her head that bore little resemblance to reality. Twice in her dream she heard Kwell bellowing at her; at least once, the strange eyes stared down from the grate. Only this time, the eyes did not look friendly. They reminded Azhar of some hideous, angry beast out of a nightmare that had finally spotted his prey and was considering the best way to kill it. From nowhere, a lumbering brown bear appeared, growing larger by the minute. Its great claws outstretched, the bear turned upon the creature with a mighty swipe and swallowed the nightmare in a single gulp.

Jerked out of quiescence, Azhar opened her eyes. Kwell still lay sleeping on the other end of the pit. The girl had no idea how long she'd slept, but outside the sky had turned from black to grey, and she could no longer see the stars. Her skin was hot, burning with fever, and sweat dripped down from her hair. Wriggling herself into a sitting position, she slumped weakly against the stone wall for support. Her fingers splayed out and felt along the ground as far as the ropes would allow, almost like a bear groping for honey on the inside of a large tree trunk. In the midst of these gyrations, she was surprised to make contact with something that had not been there before: a bulky package wrapped in fern leaves. She stared over to where Kwell was sleeping and noticed a similar object laying near his feet. With difficulty, she ripped the packet open and found a bone inside.

Curious to learn more and desperately hungry, she stretched out flat on her stomach to get a closer look. The stench nearly overwhelmed her. It seemed to be a thigh bone of some unknown animal, raw and red. Yet something told Azhar that the bloody packet was a gift. Certainly the slavers would not have shared a generous portion of meat with the prisoners, not when moldy bread or porridge would work just as well at keeping them alive. Instinctively, she glanced up at the grate but saw nothing there.

Azhar had never eaten raw meat in her life. Meat was not often given to slaves, and frankly it had never appealed to her. The girl had been pampered by the slaveowners, usually able to pick and choose what she ate. The smell of the meat almost nauseated Azhar, but she was desperately hungry. For a minute she debated. Then she arched her body forward, opened her mouth, and reached out with her lips and tongue, nibbling on the end of the bone. The taste was sweeter and more appealing than she had imagined. Ravenous with hunger, she sucked in the juices, envisioning herself as a a wild beast standing guard over its fallen prey.

There was a blinding sensation inside Azhar's head. Whether something from within wanted to break free, or some unknown power had inexplcably overcome her, she was incapable of knowing. Whatever the reason for the change, Azhar could sense a power and a fury from deep within that had never been there before. One good jerk and she had yanked off her cords, her body collapsing in a tangled heap. An instant more and blackness caved in. She lay on the ground unconscious, a tiny figure caught in the clutches of an unrelenting fever.

Last edited by Tevildo; 07-27-2006 at 06:17 PM.
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