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Old 06-26-2006, 02:32 AM   #16
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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Undómë's post - Zagra & Mazhg

‘Scared . . . big scared.’ Zagra’s voice, hushed and strained already, trailed off into silence. She leaned against Mazhg as her sister chopped at their shifts. Mazhg was shortening them with a knife she’d stolen from the cook shed, making them into what she hoped would pass for boys’ tunics.

‘I know you’re scared,’ Mazhg, whispered back, nuzzling Zagra’s cheek with her nose. I’m scared too! she thought to herself, though to her sister she spoke in an assured tone. ‘Things will be alright. You just stick to me . . .,’ she said, smiling at Zagra.

‘. . . like a pink tail on a rat!’ Zagra finished. She scooted around so that she could lean her back against her sister’s. ‘Tell me . . . tell me again, Mazhg. What we doing under old white face t’night.’

Though she’d heard it already several times, Zagra’s eyes went wide as Mazhg retold her story of stealing two pairs of breeches, each from two different sides of the camp. And how she’d managed to slip into the cook tent and the storage tent near it – to take a knife from the one, and dried meat and travel-bread from the other.

What Mazhg hadn’t made part of the adventurous tale was how one of the Uruk who was hanging about had spied her crawling out from under the back of the tent. And how he’d hit her hard with his club on the small of her back. The blow had sent her flying. She’d barely scrambled to her feet before he got to her. By some stroke of luck or his own laziness, he’d elected to hurl insults at her retreating form, rather than expend the energy to run her down. She expected he was most likely drunk. Quite drunk, from the smell of fermented mash spirits that hung in a thick cloud about him.

Many of the men were drinking. Getting up their courage for the coming battle against the Easterlings. In the distance, on the other side of the camp, she could see many little fires dotting the plain, and the shadowy forms of Orc men, big and small, wavering in the garish light. Drums, too. They beat loud and louder as the night progressed. A booming heartbeat, strong and mighty; savage it was meant to seem . . . to make the Easterlings’ blood run cold with fear.

Mazhg snickered. She was in no way fond of the Easterlings. But she hoped their knives were sharp and would slit the throat of every man-Orc. She brought her attention back to her sister.

‘Once we’re dressed like I told you, we’re going to sneak off on an adventure. Me and you. To a place where we’ll be safe. Together.’

‘Try this on, Zagra,’ she said, handing one of the shortened shifts to her sister. ‘Let it hang loose about you.’ Mazhg pulled her own on hastily, modeling it for Zagra. ‘Like this.’ She nodded in approval as Zagra stood before her. ‘Come here, now. Let’s put this pouch over your head.’ Mazhg flattened the leather strap that held the rough made pouch across Zagra’s chest. ‘This has a little skin of water in it, some meat and some bread. Now throw your blanket over your shoulders . . . like the boys do.’ Mazhg reached for the ends of the blanket scrap and tied them in a loose knot so that material fell about her sister’s form like a little cape. She handed Zagra her stick, telling her to hold tight to it.

Mazhg quickly got herself ready to go, tucking the knife into a raggedy sort of sash she’d tied about her middle. She picked up her spade, checking one last time in her own pouch for the sharpening stone.
With a quick smile of assurance, Mazhg took her sister’s hand firmly in her own and let her eyes dart about the nearly empty northern part of the camp she’d staked out as their little place. Most of the others who bedded down in that area were at the fires in the southern part of the camp.

The moon was bright on the eastern horizon. Fat and bulbous like some great swollen spider, it hung in the dark sky. Its light ate the little lights of the stars, swallowing whole it seemed those ones that had the ill luck to be near its web.

Hunched over, skittering like dark little bugs from one pool of shadow to another, the two sisters headed west. They hurried as fast as their legs would take them; away from the madness of the coming battle and toward the meeting place the loosely organised group of rebels had agreed on . . .

Last edited by piosenniel; 06-30-2006 at 08:13 PM.
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