The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Roleplaying > Elvenhome
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-10-2003, 12:05 PM   #81
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

There had been no time to talk when the traders returned from The Painted Sands camp. The evening meal had to be seen to, and two of Qamar’s children were feeling ill. Too much monkey-fruit for their stomachs to handle. And then, of course, there was the presence of Husam, who now seemed to hover relentlessly close to Qirfah, affording her no time to speak in depth to her sister.

The night passed, and day dawned with a dull glow in the east. Husam and Nasr had swallowed a hasty breakfast then gone hunting near the watering hole. The two sisters sat near each other by the small cooking fire, their heads close together talking softly. They did not hear the approach of their mother as she padded up behind them.

Startled, they turned to see her worried face, as she crouched down and touched them each on the shoulder. ‘Keep your children near, daughters. I have had disturbing news from a rider from the Painted Sands.’ Chani, Ishak’s older daughter, had gone missing, and could not be found. Men from the Painted Sands had been out looking for her without success. It had also been discovered that fifteen of the youth from the tribe had stolen away in the night.

‘Pah!’ Qamar spit into the fire. ‘It’s that Jasara girl, isn’t it. Her and her raggedy bunch of ghost children.’ She looked out beyond the northern perimeter of Baobab camp. ‘We were too kind to them. We should have been more like the Painted Sands and left their bodies to the jackals.’

Jamílah opened her mouth to retort, but then thought better of it. Were she to be true to her feelings at this point, she too would say the very same. Instead she pressed her cheek to Qamar’s and bade her and Quirfah help her. There had been a quick meeting of the Elders after the messenger had come, and a decision had been made.

‘Take the north section of tents, Qirfah. Qamar, you take the east. Duha and I will take the south and west. Tell all the women to bring their children in close. And to pack up their tents. We are moving today.’

‘Moving!’ cried Qirfah, frowning at the news. ‘But we have only been here a short time.’ ‘Where, Mother?’ asked Qamar, tucking her skirt band in securely as she stood.

‘Faruq has sent runners to the Painted Sands Tribe. He and Ishak had discussed this as a possibility yesterday.’ Jamílah shivered and pulled her shawl closer about her. We will move our tribes into the same camp. It will be easier to guard against trouble if we are all together.’ She lifted her eyes to where the morning’s clouds threw slow moving shadows over the grasses. Her hand moved to the knife in the sheath at her waist.

‘Once there, we will join in the hunt . . .’
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-10-2003, 06:02 PM   #82
Nerindel
Spirited Weaver of Fates
 
Nerindel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: In an endless sea of dreams!
Posts: 827
Nerindel has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Nerindel Send a message via MSN to Nerindel Send a message via Yahoo to Nerindel
Sting

"Get up! we're moving out" Ghurdan barked kicking the nearest soldier who was still sleeping, the men hurried to carry out their captains orders. Ghurdan could see that his men were still uneasy about taking orders from Sammael, they looked between the two leaders every time Sammeal issued an order. "The Eye requires that you take orders from both myself and Sammael, so take orders from us both you shall and without question" Ghurdan yelled his booming voice carrying a dangerous tone to every mans ear. He did not look at Sammael, he didn't care if his intervention offended the younger man, if this group was to come across any resistance they would have to work together, whether either man liked it or not.

He turned his back on the group and gathered his own gear, throwing his pack on his back he caught sight of Zasfal, his whole left side of his face was swollen and dry blood crusted his lower lip. Ghurdan shook his head in disgust, this feeling was not only towards Zasfal's stupidity but also to those who in only two days had managed to make his first mate completely useless. What use will he be to us in battle if he can not see his enemy he thought scathingly.

The men were all but assembled when Sevora, Rahvin, Dristi and Naramarth returned. Ghurdan took eight men making sure that Zasfal was one of them and assembled them to march infront of the cart, while Sammael ordered the others to the rear. Ghurdan was unsure if Sevora meant to head the march on the village or not so instead of taking his usual position at the head of his men he stood a little off to their right and waited.

Ghurdan watched as Dristi and Naramarth mounted the cart, he took little notice of were the other warrior positioned themselves, but he did watch as Sevora closely followed as ever by Rahvin came around the cart and took position at the head of the group, she then nodded her readiness to leave. "Move out!" he boomed and they began their march on the village, their spear tips glistening in the morning sun.
__________________
"Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live" ~ Mark Twain.
Nerindel is offline  
Old 07-10-2003, 06:26 PM   #83
Durelin
Estelo dagnir, Melo ring
 
Durelin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 3,121
Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
The Eye

Durelin's post

Rahvin stared straight ahead, keeping pace jut behin his mistress, his great mistress. It was true that he would follow her to his death, and follow her into the grave. Only the Eye did he hold above her, and that was because of her insistance.

He remembered this Ghurdan, called the Black Heart. Why? What was the point of these little...attachments to their names? Was it supposed to put them in a higher position, or at least make them seem of high rank? It was nonsense. If they could not earn rank through their own work, they did not have a place on this earth.

But this Ghurdan...he could be insolent, ignorant, disgraceful, yes, but he was one who had worked, if not so hard. And his first mate showed much more stupidity than he ever had. He brought himself down with his foolishness, a foolishness that he was blind of. Blinded of by what...Rahvin could not put his finger on. The man was doing much better, though, much better, at following the Great Mistress's orders...and the will of the Eye.

Rahvin fell back in the line of march to where Ghurdan walked near the head of his crew. His acrobats, as Rahvin had heard Sammael call them. Rahvin had many doubts about that man, but he was sure there was more to the utter...goofball than on that grinning surface.

The sea captain did not seem to notice Rahvin and kept walking carelessly. Rahvin eyed him for a moment, searching the man's eyes as if he could see the shroud that blinded Ghurdan of his folly. Still the man ignored Rahvin, but not blatantly so. The man was not a complete fool. "You're first mate seems to follow in your footsteps, Ghurdan. But, still, he is much more foolish than you ever were."

_____________________________________________

Nerindel's post: Ghurdan and Rahvin

"You're first mate seems to follow in your footsteps, Ghurdan, but, still, he is much more foolish than you ever were."

Ghurdan was not sure if Rahvin was trying to goad him into losing his temper or if he was fishing for and insight to his sudden change in temperament towards his first mate. Indeed Ghurdan had been foolish in his youth, most probably the only reason his mother had allowed his father to take charge of their son and to this end Ghurdan was glad, he learnt much from his father.

Had he not been so foolish his mother would have forced him into priesthood or even worst the mindless Citadel Guard, but as it was he was his own man and held himself under no one but the Dark lord himself , oh, off course he was clever enough not to flaunt this under the noses of the devotees of the dark religion, Who sat in their dark citadels praying and sacrificing hoping to gain the eye's favour, yet sending others to do his bidding.

The enemy, Gondorian scum were held at bay by the corsairs and armies of Umbar and well the eye knew it, but he uses his little puppets to bring him more fighters and to mould and shape others to his will , so for this reason Ghurdan tolerates the citadel and carries out their petty orders when they come. Yes, Zasfal is much like he once was and it did explain his sudden leanancy,'Yes, maybe I am seeing my younger self in this young lad' he thought amusingly to himself.

Ghurdan turned a regarding eye on Zasfal, who marched with the others, if not some what sulkily. "Do you think!" Ghurdan replied, as if it was something that he had not noticed or considered, as he turned his black eyes back to the growing village on the horizon, he added calmly "He is young, he will learn with age to become less foolish" Rahvin studied him for a moment this was not the response he had hoped for. "If he does not get himself kill first off course" Ghurdan added coldly.

Ghurdan walk a little ahead of Rahvin leaving him to contemplate his words as he saw fit, Ghurdan cared not of what this man thought of him. Yes, Ghurdan knew that many in the Citadel believed his favour was his mothers doing and he cared not, but if any dared to accuse him of lack of service to his country or his dark lord they did not live long enough to regret it.

A fire burned inside at those thoughts, but he felt something else within him, as if a dark cold hand wrapped itself around the flames starving the fire of oxygen, Ghurdan inhaled deeply under his scarf and the feeling left as quickly as it had come taking all his rage with it.

[ July 12, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
Durelin is offline  
Old 07-10-2003, 07:45 PM   #84
Tinuviel of Denton
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Tinuviel of Denton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Amid the hills and dales of the Shire... or not.
Posts: 609
Tinuviel of Denton has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Tinuviel of Denton
Sting

The priests of the Eye ordered that everyone in the village assemble in the square when they arrived. None of the villagers knew why. Many were suspicious of these priests. Oh, they worshipped the Eye and everything, but no one really cared all that much. It didn’t seem to have much to do with their daily lives, after all.

“People of the Eye, hear me! We go on a quest to the Southlands, to fight for the glory of the Eye and the progression of Umbar. To fight the barbarians and turn them to the true path. We require of you but one thing. A human sacrifice, to bring luck to our quest and glory to the Eye. We will give you till sunset to think on it.”

Abdul-Shihab smiled. A human sacrifice? How perfect. He approached the younger of the two priestesses. “I believe I have the perfect answer for you, Holiness. I have a daughter, eighteen years of age and unmarried. Indeed, I fear that she will never marry. Her one ambition has been to serve the Eye in whatever way she can. This would be exactly what she’s always hoped for.” All during this little speech, he was rubbing his oily hands together greedily. At last, he would be rid of Falia.

Dristi looked at this dirt-grubber with disgust. He offered someone else, rather than himself, and if he weren’t so repulsive, she’d be tempted to sacrifice him to show the villagers that to offer another was to offer oneself. But the Eye would not be pleased with such an inferior victim. A young, unmarried female, on the other hand, was promising. And from his words, the young woman did not sound willing. Even better.

“We will see.”

****

Falia, meantime, wasn’t even in the village. She was a few miles away, looking for one of the lost kids from her father’s flock, which was a boy’s job. And she was singing. And not a hymn to the Eye either. This was just a simple song of how the springtime made her feel, lighthearted and carefree.

What Falia wanted more than anything else was to be left alone. Not to raise a horde of dirty children, not to go into service to the Eye, certainly not to be married; simply to live her life without the complications of extra ties to anyone, be it family or god. And if she could continue to care for the goats and keep the young men away, she would be perfectly content.

Pity her father hated her so much.

****

When Falia returned to the village later that evening, goat in tow, she was surrounded by grim-faced men in red and black uniforms. They grabbed her and pinioned her arms. The rest of the villagers made no move to help her; they would rather remain alive. A tall woman in blood-red and black robes glided up to her and looked her over carefully. Falia had the feeling that the woman was looking for flaws, and somehow, she knew that she wanted this woman to find them. Her life depended on it. She also received the unsettling impression that this woman looked on her as no more than a thing, on a level of worth with the goat that Falia had just brought in. For the second time in her life, Falia was d*athly afraid.

Then the drums began. A steady, blood-chilling beat, designed to bring to mind a heart beating in fear. There was an altar set up in the middle of the village square, and Falia shuddered to think what it meant. There was no one who would help her, no one who could, but she called out anyway. There was no response, save a quickening of the drumbeat.

The woman beckoned to the men holding her, and they laid her almost gently on the altar. They couldn’t risk damaging the sacrifice, after all. The knife the priestess held aloft was black and discolored near the end of the blade. The red stone in the hilt gleamed dully in the light of the setting sun.

The drums quickened once again, a staccato rhythm that matched the tempo of Falia’s heart. She looked once more at the villagers, imploring them to help her…and she saw her father. He was standing off to the side, smiling a little, wicked smile that told her more than she’d ever known about him. He’d given her over to this and was enjoying it.

The drums quickened once more, and as the last light of the sun slipped under the horizon, the Red Flame plunged the knife deep into Falia’s heart. It was done.

Sevora motioned to Abdul-Shihab with the bloody knife. “Kill him.” The sort of man who could cheerfully sell his daughter into slavery or sacrifice was usually useful to the Eye, but not him. He was groveling, weak. Worthless. Such a man did not deserve to breathe the same air as the Eye’s Chosen servant.
Tinuviel of Denton is offline  
Old 07-11-2003, 04:39 AM   #85
Helkahothion
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The inside of Legolas' lungs
Posts: 1,100
Helkahothion has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Helkahothion Send a message via AIM to Helkahothion
Eye

Ghurdan wanted to step forward, but was beaten to Abdul-Shihab by Thorgom. The man was a terrible monster to sell his own children. Even a barbarian like the old Thorgom knew that betraying your children was the biggest form of treachery. If he was able to give away his daughter and smile at her struggle of death, then Thorgom would be delighted to break his little neck. Abdul-Shihab saw the big man walking towards him with his hand patting a throwing axe.

"Go ahead, make a run for it. How far do you think you will get in this crowd?"

They eyes of Abdul-Shihab where streaming with fear and he walked backwards slowly. The people around him did not go out of the way and he was faced with his back to the crowd. No one did anything. Abdul-Shihab begged for help.

"These intruders have not kept their promise, they said they wanted a sacrifice, but this is plain murder."

No one made a move and he felt the heavy foots of Thorgom pounding towards him slowly. Thorgom enjoyed this moment. He took his time. He reached the pathetic man and reached out for him. In a flash a dagger went for the arm. Thorgom pulled back but the blade made a cut wound in his arm. Thorgom's rage was awoken and stirred inside him. He wanted to make the fear get the best of him. With a swift swipe his smashed the dagger out of the hands with the back of the throwing axe.

Abdul-Shihab lunged at him, trying to punch the big man down. Thorgom ducked, grabbed the arm and punched in the side. His side cracked and Thorgom had broken three ribs. He turned the man's arm on his back and pulled up hard. A loud crack came once more and Abdul-Shihab's shoulder was dislocated. He screamed in pain. Thorgom used the back of his throwing axe once more and smashed the Abdul-Shihab on his shin, which resulted in a broken leg.

Thorgom took Abdul-Shihab by his hair, pulled his head back wards and dragged him by his hair to Sevora. He lifted the man by his hair from the ground and nodded at Sevora.

"What are your orders oh Sevora, high priestess of the eye? Will you grant him the same dagger as his daughter?" Thorgom mocked to get Abdul-Shihab driving insane.

To this Sevora laughed. Extending death, and destroying the nerves of the man.

"He is not worth the dagger. Take care of him in you own ehm, special way." Sevora said with a mocking disgusted tone

Thorgom raised the man by his hairs again. He screamed for mercy. Thorgom dropped him and kicked him hard in the stomach. He was thoroughly enjoying. But they were wasting time. He took the man by the neck and dragged him to the altar. All the eyes followed the big man. He placed Abdul-Shihab's on the alter.

"If you only dare to move, I will burn you alive while stab you with a burning torch you got that?" Thorgom said in a terrible voice.

Thorgom took his two-handed axe and went standing behind the man that was crying of pain and fear. His tears dropped in the sand that was still a bit hot. They immediately disappeared, just like his life would in a few moments. Abdul-Shihab was glad that it was going to be quick.

Thorgom raised his axe, but instead in the head, he smashed it with full power in Abdul-Shihab's back. The man screamed to the fullest of his voice and was moving around like a spider that was being pushed to his death slowly. Thorgom took the axe out and left the man bleeding to death. He wiped it clean to the pants of his victim and went back to Sevora with a big smile of satisfaction on his face.

"Order completed as you wished oh high priestess of the eye."

Thorgom went back to the line and joined on Gurdhan's side.
Helkahothion is offline  
Old 07-11-2003, 11:54 AM   #86
Arien
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Arien's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: London/Leeds UK
Posts: 419
Arien has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via MSN to Arien
The Eye

“Interesting…” whispered Dristi from beneath her robes. She was again wrapped deep within her priestess robes, and all but her gleaming, straight hair was hidden behind them. She watched the spectacle Sevora had arranged with amusement, an altar, drums and all! And Sevora doing her usual duty, killing a helpless person for sacrifice, how hard and strenuous on her physical and mental self. That was no sacrifice, it was simply cutting up the already dead meat for service to The Dark Lord. Kitchen duty as Dristi had recently nick named it.

The real sacrifice was when you hunted for the meat and then killed it, you efforts paying of and a little of your strength surrendered to the Dark Lord. Hey, but whatever riveted Sevora, she was not complaining. As the girl died, now Sevora ordered that idiotic gofer to kill her father. Hard job to seeing as the village was now filled with their company and running would surely result in a punishment worse than death. She continued to watch the play before her, smiling with delight at the insolent people she was bound to travel with.

“Dristi?” Sevora had turned to her and now looked into her eyes.

“Yes, oh high priestess?” smirked Dristi her eyes dancing with laughter.

“Dristi, you remember to see me in my quarters….” she drawled, seemingly oblivious to what Dristi had just said, but Dristi remembered not to take Sevora at face value.

“Yes, after I have a little exercise, pray if you will. You see Sevora,” she said menacingly, “ some of us have the skill to catch and slay the sacrifice, others need it laid down in front of their pretty eyes." She laughed and walked off before Sevora could reply. Dristi made her way quickly to the outskirts of the village, she swept across the sandy streets as if gliding. Night was falling and that torturous sun burnt the sky with and orange glow. As she came to a sandy clearing she sat herself down. And taking out one of her knives she drew a circle around where she sat. Then sitting upright she pulled back her sleeve to reveal a deep mark just above her wrist.

It was an eye, delicately carved by herself and the wound reopened every time the moon disappeared. When it was nearly all darkness, but for those blasted stars. She carefully gathered some dry leaves and twigs and made a fire. She sat up right, the small fire in front of her. She took her kife and carved into the wound, the blood spilling into the fire. A sweet smell of burnt blood rose into the looming darkness.

“Oh Dark One, envy I have, greed, lust, pride and anger. Receive these good things I have and make them more powerful. Tell me your wishes if you want, but to be kept in the darkness is your wish. For those who worship the light have never experienced your darkness.”

[ July 12, 2003: Message edited by: Arien ]
__________________
"...still, we lay under the emptiness and drifted slowly outward, and somewhere in the wilderness we found salvation scratched into the earth like a message."
Arien is offline  
Old 07-11-2003, 01:01 PM   #87
Lyra Greenleaf
The Diaphanous Dryad
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: R toL: 531, past the wild path
Posts: 1,180
Lyra Greenleaf has just left Hobbiton.
Silmaril

"Finally we're going to civilisation" Sammael said to Damodred, eyes shining. And the sea captain's minions were finally listening to his orders. It was galling that Ghurdan had had to order them, but the end result was the same, anyway. Yes, things seemed finally to be smoothing out in this complicated party. Swirling currents still lurked beneath the surface, but it should be possible for the careful man to save himself.

He was so happy that he winked at Essenia when he saw her walking beside him. Her eyes showed contempt but her face remained smooth as usual. Sammael could hardly credit the story that she had lost her temper so that she slapped both Zasfal and some man in an inn.
The cold fish feels after all!, he thought with something akin to triumph. It made her more human and so, more accessible. Meanwhile the village was getting closer and closer.

*********************

Damodred watched Sammael with something approaching paternalism. Standing in this crowded village square he was even now gazing at the maidens, winking when he saw one he liked the look of. He wasn't paying any attention to what was going on between the Priestess and a sly looking man.

"Do what you want with her" the man was whining. "She's no good to me in life, perhaps her death will help us gain the favour of the Eye"

Damodred grimaced. Sacrifice. It was a part and parcel of the Dark Religion, but a part Sammael never seemed to have accepted. Damodred had rarely known someone more devoted to the Eye, but this... Quickly he made a decision. This was no time for heroics.

"Sammael, come with me" he said quietly, putting a hand on the boy's sleeve. Sammael turned reluctantly but saw the absolute command that rarely appeared in Damodred's eyes. Without anyone noticing, the two men left the square. Quickly Damodred led Sammael through the eserted village until they reached the tavern. there was no-one there, but Sammael served the two men, leaving coin by the glasses.

"What is it?" Sammael asked.
Damodred knew he had to answer.
"Sacrifice, lad" he answered. "There is NOTHING you can do, unless you want to be killed yourself. It's probably happened, but if not there are 20 armed men out there and not just half trained country men."

Sammael's face was black. Damodred watched in terror as he stormed from the inn. All he did, though, was kick the whitewashed wall, then put his head in his hands and sink to the ground.
__________________
“Sylphs of the forest,” I whispered. “Spirits of oak, beech and ash. Dryads of Rowan and hazel, hear us. You who have guided and guarded our every footstep, you who have sheltered our growth, we honour you."
the Forbidden Link
Lyra Greenleaf is offline  
Old 07-12-2003, 04:41 AM   #88
Ealasaid
Wight
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: under a large pile of dirt & gravel
Posts: 193
Ealasaid has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Ahmad walked away from his conversation with Qamar, his emotions a tangled knot. More than anything, he wanted to stay and talk with her, press her about what Qirah had said about him, how she felt, all of it, but too many other, more pressing matters pulled at him. Leaving Qamar in the marketplace, he had spent the remainder of the afternoon in a thorough search for his missing sister, Chani. No one had see her. By the time he had passed back through the marketplace late in the day, Qamar was gone.

Then,in the night, the rebellious faction of young people of his own tribe had departed, leaving the Painted Sand camp in favor of the camp the young Baobab people had formed in the old campsite near the stream. They had taken many arms with them, as well. Ahmad had a sinking feeling that that camp would be where he would find his sister. He hoped they would find her there alive, but he had already begun to doubt. She was a proud girl and not terribly prudent when her ego had been injured. He had always been able to protect her in the past, fight her battles for her as an older brother should, but this time... he only hoped he would be able to find her in time.

Then, runners had arrived announcing that the two camps, Painted Sand and Baobab, would be uniting as one against that the young ones now posed. As the morning stretched on and the Baobab tribesmen began to arrive with their tents, Ahmad went to find Yusef. As Chani's fiance, Yusef was as much bound by duty as Ahmad himself to do everything possible to locate the missing girl, and, if necessary, avenge her.

Ahmad found Yusef hard at work, for a change, assiting a Baobab family who were attempting to pitch a tent with a a pait of broken poles. He called Yusef aside with a gesture.

"What is it?" asked Yusef as he joined Ahmad. "Any word of her?"

"None as yet," answered Ahmad. "I suppose you have heard that many of our young people have left our camp to join the Baobab rebels in the old campsite by the stream."

"I know." Yusef nodded grimly. "So much for our mission of talking to them, turning their minds back to the traditional ways."

"As if we really could have," Ahmad rejoined bitterly. "We shall have to go to there."

Again, Yusef nodded. "I had figured as much. It's the only place we have yet to look for Chani. You know they are well-armed now."

"We shall be as well," answered Ahmad. He told Yusef that he had already spoken with a handful of cousins and other young men, many of them the strongest and most experienced warriors of the Painted Sand tribe. They had agreed to ride out to the rebel encampment together. Although the intent of the visit would be to talk and to search for Chani, all of them knew that they must be prepared to fight.

Taking all of this in, Yusef frowned. "When do we go?" he asked.

"Now," answered Ahmad. "The others await us already."

"Then let us go," agreed Yusef. The two of them walked off to saddle their horses and join the other warriors.

[ July 12, 2003: Message edited by: Ealasaid ]
Ealasaid is offline  
Old 07-12-2003, 07:53 AM   #89
Arien
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Arien's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: London/Leeds UK
Posts: 419
Arien has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via MSN to Arien
The Eye

Nerindel's post

Ghurdan watched the sacrifice unimpressed, he had witnessed many and some more gruesome than this one, this girl had been lucky and her death was swift. Ghurdan knew that to give up your children for the eye was a great show of faith, but he had never seen any parent give up their child as readily as this one, he watched Abdul-Shihab with growing loathing as he saw the man enjoying every moment of his daughters death.
"Kill Him!". Ghurdan grinned at Sevora's cold words and reached for his sword, but before he could advance on the now panic stricken man someone passed in front of him, it was the large tribe man who had struck Zasfal. Any anger he felt at being denied this kill ebbed away as he watched events unfold. He was interested to see what he could learn about this man from his actions.

Ghurdan was impressed by Thorgom's actions, the dark one could use a man like that he thought to himself , but just then his eyes widened in disbelief as Thorgom lead the snivelling man to the alter. "or not" he whispered darkly as Thorgom buried his axe into the mans back, defiling the alter with the mans unworthy blood.

Ghurdan looked to see Sevora's reaction but as Thorgom approached her grinning with satisfaction, he saw that the priestess remained calm. "Order completed as you wished oh high priestess of the eye" he heard Thorgom tell her, totally oblivious to what he had just done. Sevora nodded but Ghurdan did not miss the evil look she gave the large man as he walked back to stand beside him.

with the ceremony obviously complete Ghurdan ordered his men to make camp on the outskirts of the village, it was then that he noticed that Sammael and Damodred where not present, "so they think themselves above paying homage to our lord" he heard Zasfal spit behind him "Or maybe he just hasn't the stomach for it" he continued laughing coldly.

Ghurdan grabbed the young man by the throat and dragged him to the Alter, were the body of Abdul-Shihab still lay drenched in his own blood, "Take a good look, this could be you someday, if you do not learn to hold that forked tongue of yours" he hissed in Zasfal's ear.

Zasfal's eyes were wide as he realised that the man before his eyes was still alive and looked at him pleadingly to end his pain, he nodded viciously, now understanding fully Ghurdans warning. Ghurdan grabbed him up "Now go help the others set up camp, and keep out of trouble" he spat throwing Zasfal in the direction of the rest of his crew. Ghurdan shook his head as he turned back to the defiled alter, he was still not convinced that the message had sunk in.

Ghurdan kicked the now dead body of Abdul-shihab from the alter "He did not deserve such honour" he hissed, then abruptly he turned and made his way not to the camp but to the small inn too see what entertainment this small village could provide.

_____________________________________________


Arien's post

As she finished speaking the fire jumped and the heat from it became intense. She smiled and sat back, her sleeve still pulled up from her dripping arm. She stayed there for a while sitting at the night drew in, while there she covered the fresh wound in a bandage covered in oils. There was no need for it to be infected with disease. And now after and hour or so the fire had died down to it former size, and she felt energized, fresher, darker. Slowly she stood up, knife still in hand, he sleeves falling delicately to her sides. She stepped out of the circle and the fire ceased to burn, embers scattered into the night air, but no more was left of it.

Now Dristi slowly walked back up to the village. Her bloody knife still slightly dripping. As she came nearer she could see a shadow ahead of her, it seemed to be one of the soldiers that had travelled with them. Or then again not. As she drew closer she could see clearly in the dim light of the stars that it was that man who persisted to annoy her by walking beside her on the previous days.

She had not said anything to him, it would only fire his aspirations of actually even having a chance with her. She laughed, men were stupid, they would fall head over heels for a woman and be blinded by what they were doing. And as a consequence when this happened with Dristi they were most likely to be toyed with and then but to death in any way she deemed.

The High priest knew she did this, often. But he did not have any objection to it as she was valuble to the Citadel’s assets and to loose their chief strategist in war would be a blow that was not worth all the trouble. She walked swiftly passed him as he stood looking at here. He nodded, but she could only see him out of the corner of her eye, then he winked. She stopped still frozen and turned to him.

“What is you name?” she whispered. He shuffled and then replied to her.

“Thorgom….” he answered.

“Ok then Thorgom, don’t even try it, if you do you might wish you were dead….” she trailed off and smiled sweetly at him. She was slightly taken aback, but didn’t show it. The man seemed to look more confused than scared of her remark. She sighed heavily and continued to walk on.

She made her way through the seemingly empty streets to the Inn where they were to be staying. She opened the door, and the usual smoke and ale smell greeted her. She hated these places. People were so uncivilised, unclean and the men looked upon her as if some sort of wonder they had never laid there eyes upon before. So without saying a word she walked to Sevora’s quarters.

She walked down a dank, dark corridor, filled wit the lingering smell of ale, as she came to Sevora’s door she stopped, pausing before knocking on it lightly. With a quick swing the door was opened in front of her, Sevora smiling curtly.

Dristi raised and eyebrow to the contented priestess. “And what are you so happy about?” she said standing in the door way.

“Shut up you stupid girl,” she scowled, her eyes narrowing. “There is no point showing off anymore no ones here to watch you now, you won’t get the attention of any of the men. They are far away now.” she smiled as she walked into her room. Dristi shut the door behind her and followed Sevora, eyeing the room.

“What do you want Sevora?”

[ July 23, 2003: Message edited by: Arien ]
__________________
"...still, we lay under the emptiness and drifted slowly outward, and somewhere in the wilderness we found salvation scratched into the earth like a message."
Arien is offline  
Old 07-13-2003, 03:02 AM   #90
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

‘Briellah, I have noticed your warriors are gathering. Are they going after Chani?’

Once Jamílah had put up her tent and seen to the tents of her daughters’ families, she sought out her friend. Many of the men of the Painted Sands were heading toward where the horses were picketed. Their blades, hanging from their waists, caught the sun as they hurried toward the mounts, their robes parting as they strode along.

Briellah dabbed at her eyes, and nodded her head yes.

‘Come, sit with me,’ Jamílah said gently, leading her friend to the rug by the small brazier in front of Briellah’s tent. She took her time making some thick, dark coffee, talking her way through the process in an effort to draw Briellah’s thoughts into some ordinary state. When the ritual was done and each held their cup in their hands, Jamílah looked toward the west, where the young ones had gone.

‘Have you ever seen the lions hunt,’ she asked softly, as she sipped her drink, and rocked slightly on her mat. Her voice was low, the tone of her words like the start to some old story. Briellah said nothing, knowing that the question did not need an answer.

‘The pride gathers near their target, and the great maned males lie down, to protect their declared area, and the young. It is the smaller females, the aunts and sisters and mothers, who go out to hunt, together. They pick their intended prey and work together as one to bring it down. One or two of them will single it out and drive it toward the others who wait in ambush. All their thought is on the kill, and how it is needed for the survival of the pride. Death is swift, a crushing bite to the spine or a choking grip to the throat. Their thoughts are focused, colored neither by mercy or hatred. It is simply a necessary thing for them.’

‘Why do you tell me this, my friend? This story of lions?’ asked Briellah, a frown creasing her brow.

Jamílah turned briefly toward her, her dark brown eyes unreadable in her smooth face. ‘The sun moves toward its rest. Night is coming, Briellah. And night is when the lions hunt their prey.’

Her gaze turned again to the west, a considering look now on her face. She would say no more, but turned the talk to those little things that pass between friends . . . the little things of women’s lives that knit their families and friends together . . . .
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-13-2003, 06:52 AM   #91
Helkahothion
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The inside of Legolas' lungs
Posts: 1,100
Helkahothion has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Helkahothion Send a message via AIM to Helkahothion
Eye

“What is you name?” she whispered. He shuffled and then replied to her.

None of your damn business

"Thorgom….” he answered.

“Ok then Thorgom, don’t even try it, if you do you might wish you were dead….”

Whatever you say backstabber. No dagger will be my end. My, this girl is a danger to herself. She will get herself in great danger with this arrogance. If not with me than with Sevora.

Thorgom feared the idea of the beautiful girl being killed. She looked at his face and Thorgom realized that it had fear in it. Of course, her arrogance made her misinterpret the thing and she walked passed him with a smile. He played with the idea of nailing her in the back with a throwing axe for a second, but it might not be possible to fight his way out. The villagers could join in and that way he would not make it.

Thorgom pitched his tent at the outskirts of the village. Partly using an overhanging rock. It was quite cosy. The chair was in the corner, the bed in the back, and the big axe underneath it. It was always the same, but Thorgom liked it the way it was. He had more room due to the rock; it proved a hiding place behind the tent if needed. He could crawl underneath the back and not be seen when people went into his tent.
Not trusting anyone, he decided to take his bed and place it in the hidden part of his tent. Why he did it, he did not know. It was a feeling. A hunch so to speak. He flattened the bed and pushed it trough the back of the tent. He placed it up again, took his axe and went over to the Inn. He could use a drink by now.

The Inn looked dusty, but as long as they had booze, Thorgom was not complaining. He took out his two-handed axe and placed it next to his chair. Soon the Innkeeper came walking towards him.

"Weapons are not allowed." He said firm.

"Neither is killing and I just did that too. Stop the lecture and give me some ale. Please." Thorgom said threatening.

The man turned white and went back to the bar. Soon Thorgom had an ale in front of him. Thorgom gave the man a gold piece.

"Just keep it coming." He added with the piece.

The Innkeeper started filling the amount of mugs that Thorgom could get and soon his table was filled with ale. Thorgom leaned back on the chair and laid his feet resting on another chair. Of course disapproved by the Innkeeper, but the man did not have the heart to tell him. Thorgom emptied a tankard when he realised that the Priestess' were staying here. His mood lowered a bit. If one came here they would surely lecture him on how he should be more loyal to command and stay with the other man. Thorgom was not in the mood, but the ale was paid for and there was no one that could drag him away from it.

Outside, the sun was setting. The blood-red light coloured the horizon and the plains while the father and daughter were still lying on the altar. Thorgom walked passed them. The sight of the father near his daughter disgusted him. He regretted that he had placed him near her. He now understood Gurdhan's look.
He dragged the body of the man away from the altar and threw it in the dust, leaving it for the birds and other creatures. He apologised to the daughter, made a bow to her lifeless body and went to his tent.
Helkahothion is offline  
Old 07-13-2003, 12:47 PM   #92
Lyra Greenleaf
The Diaphanous Dryad
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: R toL: 531, past the wild path
Posts: 1,180
Lyra Greenleaf has just left Hobbiton.
Silmaril

Essenia watched the ritual sacrifice with little emotion. She had never seen the point, really, but if the Dark Religion was the way that Umbar would get glory, then the dark Religion was important. She sneered as that oaf of a tribesman half killed the girl’s father. Neither were worth her consideration. He sold his daughter into sacrifice- just as her own father had done. Yes, Essenia’s slavery had not involved death but providing children- still in the end it made little difference. Unlike this girl she had escaped. She had a purpose in life, this girl obviously hadn’t.

When at last the Priestess decreed that they could go, Essenia moved unhurriedly back towards their camp. There was talking around her; village people shocked and scared, sailors awed or excited by the bloodshed. They were all pathetic. One life should not have such a command on their senses! Walking towards her she saw the loud man, the one who had sent her to flirt with the merchants and began to walk slower, to try to avoid him. She did not wish to be disturbed by his advances. He made no effort to approach her, but was walking so slowly that they converged anyway. Still he made no effort to talk.

Surprised, Essenia weakened enough to look at him. His dark eyes were shadowed, his face grim. Maliciously she smiled. She remembered a conversation in which he had told her that men were required to save women.
So he disapproves of this sacrifice! So he disapproves of this sacrifice! she thought. So he disapproves of this sacrifice! she thought. He dislikes to see women die. This could come in useful for revenge for what he forced me into.

Silently she sped up, soon leaving him and his faithful shadow far behind in the desert.

[ July 13, 2003: Message edited by: Lyra Greenleaf ]
__________________
“Sylphs of the forest,” I whispered. “Spirits of oak, beech and ash. Dryads of Rowan and hazel, hear us. You who have guided and guarded our every footstep, you who have sheltered our growth, we honour you."
the Forbidden Link
Lyra Greenleaf is offline  
Old 07-14-2003, 02:48 AM   #93
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Ealasaid's post

Ahmad and around a dozen of the men of the Painted Sand tribe rode out of the combined Painted Sand/Baobab camp toward the location where the young ones had chosen to place their own encampment. All seasoned warriors, the men were heavily armed, some with swords, others with bows. Even so, they rode warily, keeping a close eye on their surroundings. Conversation was kept to a minimum. None of them were sure what they expected to find at the young ones' camp, but whatever it was, they knew better than to take the children lightly.

As the warriors approached the camp, the archers remained to the rear where they could cover the others, while maintaining a wider perspective of the scene. Ahmad and Yusef rode in the front of the remainder of the delegation. They noticed sentries posted around the perimeters. Backed by the archers, five of the Painted Sand men rode directly into the camp, where they were intercepted by two young girls and a boy of about fifteen. One of the girls stepped forward, raising her hand for them to stop. The men reined in their horses, waiting for her to speak. Ahmad's hand rested on the hilt of his sword. Behind him, the archers all had arrows notched to their bowstrings.

"Halt!" ordered the girl, Jasara. "Who are you and why do you enter our camp under arm?"

Ahmad looked at her with interest. So, this was the leader of the Baobab rebels. "We are merely a search party," he told her calmly. "I am Ahmad bin Ishak. We come in search of my sister, Chani, who has gone missing." As he spoke, three of the warriors behind him broke rank and began to ride between the tents. They all carried their swords drawn, but casually placed across their laps or saddle horns. "Have you seen her?"

The two girls cast a fast glance between them, which answered Ahmad's question without words. For an instant, they seemed to be weighing their chances, their options, whether they should lie or be truthful, let the search continue or attack. A distant look came over Jasara's face as she seemed to listen to a voice, inaudible to anyone but her. Abruptly, she came to a decision.

"We have seen her," Jasara answered, finally. "She came upon us by surprise."

"And?"

"She is here," the second girl, Khasia, broke in, a small smile playing around the corners of her lips. The smile gave Ahmad the creeps, as though he had just seen a spider walk over his sister's grave. He noticed the way she stroked the hilt of her dagger as she spoke, and tightened his grip on the hilt of his sword. If this girl had slain his sister, she would be the first to die, he promised himself that.

"Here!" a voice cried off to his right. It belonged to his kinsman, Adhem. Ahmad could see the crown of a tree in the direction from whence the voice had come. Rising in his stirrups, Ahmad turned his horse in that direction.

"Have you found her?" he shouted back.

"You'd better come!" Adhem answered.

With a nod to Yusef, who had remained at his right hand, Ahmad gave his horse a kick with his heel. He and Yusef rode in the direction of the tree. The two girls and the boy simply stepped out of the way, letting them pass. Once they had gotten out of earshot, Yusef muttered under his breath, "Watch your back around this place."

Ahmad nodded, his attention already concentrated on the scene at the base of the tree. Chani lay in a heap on the ground where Adhem had apparently just laid her down after cutting her loose from the tree. Rope bindings still hung from her wrists, bloody from her torn fingertips. Adhem said nothing, but stepped back as Ahmad dismounted and went to her, gathering her slender form in his arms. Yusef followed close behind.

"Chani?" Ahmad whispered, cradling his sister's head gently against his bicep. Her face was badly bruised and a bloodstained rag protruded from between her lips. When he tried to remove the rag from her mouth, she cried out in pain. Her eyes flickered open, then closed again, as tears streamed from the corners of her lowered lashes. Her hand found Ahmad's and squeezed it. A flash of fury raced through Ahmad's body as he realized what they had done to her. They had cut her tongue out.

Rising, with Chani still in his arms, he turned and thrust her toward Yusef. "Take her!" he ordered, handing her over to him, bodily. Yusef took her, but Chani struggled against Yusef, refusing to let go of Ahmad's hand. Unable to form the words anymore, she cried out inarticulately, trying to say "No!"

A tussle ensued between the three of them as Ahmad tried to break away, his only thought being to exact revenge against the person who had done this to his sister, but she refused to let him go. Chani's one hand held his in a deathgrip, while her other arm wrapped around his neck. She kicked at Yusef. Finally, Yusef released her and backed away. Ahmad took her back, and, holding her, his eyes scanned the small crowd of young ones who had assembled around them.

"WHO DID THIS?" he thundered at them. For an instant, there was no response at all, just silence and wide, watching eyes. Then, from somewhere in the rear, he heard a thin, watery chuckle. He turned to Yusef, his face black with rage. "Kill them. Kill them all."

Yusef shook his head. "No, cousin," he said softly, turning his head so that the assembled young ones could not hear his voice. "We mustn't. Not yet. Take her home first. She needs you now. We come back later."

Ahmad looked down at Chani, at the blood and tears drying on her face, then over at Adhem, who nodded grimly. "This won't go unpunished, Ahmad," Adhem said quietly. "Take her home."

Finally, Ahmad nodded. With the help of Adhem and Yusef, he remounted his horse and set Chani on the saddle in front of him. They would go. For now.

[ July 15, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-14-2003, 02:50 AM   #94
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

When she left Briellah, Jamílah made her way to Ismat and Duha’s tent. ‘Are you there?’ she called, standing outside the entry way. She could hear the sound of mats being placed on the ground, and the sound of people moving about within. In moments, Duha poked her head out of the tent, smiling when she saw it who it was.

‘Oh! We are just getting straightened away in here. But come in, come in! The mats are rolled out and we can sit and have a cup of tea.’ She held the tent flap open wide and motioned Jamílah in. Ismat was not there, but Munir was. He stayed close by his Mother now, since he had come back from the young ones’ camp. He drew back to his little sleeping area, intending to give the two women space to talk to one another, but Jamílah called his name, asking him to come sit with them. She wanted to speak with him as well.

Duha went through the ritual for making tea and serving it, and once that propriety was out of the way, Jamílah, turned to Munir and asked him several questions.

‘Tell me, Munir,’ she began, her eyes on his face, ‘were there others of the younger ones, besides you and the two girls, who also wished to leave Jasara’s group?’ There was a sharp intake of breath as Duha heard the question. She looked quickly at Munir, reaching her hand out to comfort him, though if truth be told it was more for herself than for him that she sought to touch him. ‘I can answer, Mother,’ he told her. ‘It will be alright.’

He leaned in closer to Jamílah and spoke quietly, as if he were still afraid that the others youngsters who had not come back would hear him. There were several others, he said, all of them the very little ones who had followed their brothers or sisters. They were afraid, they missed their mami’s, but they knew better than to try to get away. Punishment was swift and harsh, and so they kept quiet. Even their tears had stopped when the others had chided and threatened them.

‘What are their names, Munir, and do they keep to a certain place when they sleep?’ he listed their names for her, and she repeated them back until she was satisfied she remembered them all. And, ‘yes’, they were herded together, and ringed by older youth who kept an eye on them. Usually to one side or the other of the main group is where they slept, away from the noise of the main group since they tended to go to sleep earlier and where it was more convenient for them to step away with one of the older youth when nature called in the night.

Jamílah thanked him for his answers when he had finished, then rose to go. Duha stepped outside the tent with her, a worried expression on her face. ‘What is it you are planning to do? Will you tell me?’ Jamílah put her hand on Duha’s arm and gave it a reassuring squeeze. ‘Just keep your family close tonight, Duha. The wind is picking up, there is likely to be a sandstorm.’ ‘I will see you again tomorrow,’ she said as she waved farewell.

During the course of the afternoon, she made the rounds of the Baobab tents, speaking quietly to the women. Many she encouraged to stay safe inside their tents that night. To the rest she spoke other words. And they, in turn, nodded their heads to her and went to make their preparations . . .

______________________________________

That night . . .

Under cover of darkness, the fourteen women she had gathered met at the outskirts of the camp. Seven horses had been lent them, mounts belonging to the women of the Painted Sands. Dressed in dark breeches and shirts, their jewelry removed, they moved out silently, heading west, along a route north of the small spring and its stream. At their belts they carried a sheathed knife, coated with the sticky dark substance Jamílah had given them, and a short length of thin braided cord, wrapped in a coil. Five of them carried the small bows they used for hunting birds and lizards.

They stopped some distance from the youth encampment, behind a small rise, and Jamílah sent out two of the younger women to scout the perimeter of the camp. The rest waited silently as the two split off from their group, crouched low, moving swiftly in the shadows of the sparse trees and the intervening rocks and sandy hills. One to the north and one to the south.

The wind was picking up when the two returned. ‘There are sentries posted along the northern line of the camp,’ one said. ‘Five by my count, armed with knife and spear; two of them are drowsing. The group of smaller children I did not see. Most of the youth are bedded down, their blankets pulled over their heads to hide from the winds and dust that is rising.’

‘The little ones are on the southern side, in a small group at the western fringes,' reported the other woman. 'There are three older youth who are sleeping among them. And again there are guards along the perimeter on that side, spaced well apart. Six of them, armed. All with their faces hooded in some manner as a barrier to the flying dust. Most of them are seated, their backs turned against the wind.

Under cover of the rising wind and sand, the women moved west along the southern edge of the encampment, leading their mounts, keeping well away from the infrequent watch of the guards. When they reached the position of the little children’s area, two of them stayed back with the horses, while the others crept closer to the camp. The wind had intensified, and the swirling clouds of stinging sand and dirt beat against their exposed skin.

There were three guards nearest the little ones’ group, older youth nearing adulthood. Bellies to the ground, three of the women crawled as close as they could to each one. Cord in hands, they sprang up as they neared and moving swiftly to the rear of their prey, they pulled the cords tight about their throats, cutting off any cries for help. They left them lifeless, huddled on the ground, as if they had lain down to rest for a few moments. The other nine women moved in quickly at the sound of a short sharp call.

B’kweet . . . b’kweet . . . the call of a guinea hen to her little ones, bringing them in.

The three older youth who slept with the little ones were dispatched silently, their cries cut off with an efficient slash to the throat. The little ones whimpered and some cried out, and the women gathered as many as they could to them and shushed them gently. ‘We’ve come to take you home,’ they whispered softly. ‘Leave your belongings, and come quickly with us.’ Knives in hand, they led the little ones to where the three women who had dispatched the guards crouched, bows in hand, arrows nocked. The two women trailing the string of horses rode in swiftly at a sharp whistle.

The nearby guards had been roused by that time, hearing the movement of many feet and the sounds of the children as they cried out before the women hushed them. They rushed they group of children and their rescuers, grabbing away those that they could, and slashing out at the women. Several of the women were injured getting the children away from the guards, and one was killed – speared in the back by another of the older youth who had roused nearby. He was cut down by an arrow to his chest. A superficial wound at the most, and he laughed at it as he pulled it from him and charged after the escaping group. His laughter turned to horror as the burning poison on the arrow’s tip crept through him, and he felt his limbs grow numb, then icy cold, and at the last he could not breathe. His companions now roused ran to him, and some ran after the women and children, who by now had a good lead on them.

When they finally reached the horses and mounted up, drawing their small charges up to them, the stinging curtain of sand had grown thicker. They moved out, the wind at their backs, heading east toward the Painted Sands encampment. Nineteen little ones had been gotten out. Pulled close against the warmth of their rider’s body, the little ones huddled beneath blankets, safe from the storm . . .

The horses moved slowly through the sandstorm. Just before first light, the women reached the outskirts of the camp. A growing ululation rose from the women who had stayed behind, and who had watched for their return. It was answered in kind by the riders as they drew near.

Blankets were thrown back, and the heads of the little ones peeked out at the familiar sound. And many burst into tears of relief as the women swarmed about the riders, familiar hands reaching up to bring the children into the safety of their arms.

_____________________________________________

Lyra Greenleaf’s post

“Anyone care to lose a little money?” Sammael called in the middle of the camp. He wanted to forget what he couldn’t prevent; the image of a faceless girl screaming in terror kept appearing in his mind. He waved his cards at a member of Ghurdan’s crew who glanced his way, then again at Zasfal. Both looked uncertain.

“Come on” Sammael called again impatiently. “I’ll play with my eyes shut if it’ll make you feel better!”
“No need for that” answered a tall man, another of the acrobats. He was broad as well as tall, slow moving and slow speaking.

Sammael grinned widely at the thought of easy money. Quickly he lit a torch and put it into the ground, then sat cross legged on the floor and began to deal. Calmly his opponent sat himself down. They played a hand, and Sammael won easily. The man paid, showing no signs of ill-will, then gestured Sammael to deal again.

“Deal for three” Zasfal said from behind Sammael, then sat between the other two men. Sammael grinned wolfishly at him and did as he was bade. This hand was harder fought- the crewman had good cards, and Zasfal was a sneaky player with some talent. Sammael won, but the next went to Zasfal. During the fifth game, Zasfal smiled maliciously.

“I didn’t see you when the Priestess performed the sacrifice” he said with a sideways look.
Sammael ignored him.
“I would have thought that someone as dedicated as you would have been watching keenly” Zasfal added with feigned nonchalance.
Sammael shrugged, but the visions of a girl screaming were back.
“Why don’t you tell him about it Arun?” Zasfal asked the crewman.

The monosyllabic man looked surprisingly eager, and began to recite had happened in great detail- the strike of the knife, the site of the blood as it dripped slowly to the ground, the convulsions of the dying body, the look on the girl’s face from the first realisation what was happening to the pallor of death.

Sickened, Sammael lurched to his feet and vomited. Zasfal snorted, then began to laugh. He was soon joined by the other man. Anger coursed through Sammael.
What kind of a man will watch as a woman is killed? he thought with disgust, eying the two men still seated on the ground. Slowly he drew his belt knife and walked towards the crewman Arun. He jumped to his feet, drawing his own knife, but his shoulders were still shaking from laughter. His glance told Sammael that he expected a weak opponent, one who would not kill- one that would show mercy.

Without warning he lunged and caught the other man off guard. He withdrew, then lunged a second time, knocking the man’s knife from his hand. Finally Sammael looked into the man’s eyes and slowly drew his knife across his throat. With satisfaction he watched the body fall, and life leave the man’s face. He looked around. Zasfal had run, that was not surprising. Maybe one day it would be his turn, but not now. Feeling much better Sammael cleaned his knife on the fallen man’s sleeve and walked away to his tent.

[ July 17, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-14-2003, 01:57 PM   #95
Aylwen Dreamsong
The Melody of Misery
 
Aylwen Dreamsong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: The Island of Conclusions (You get there by jumping!)...
Posts: 1,162
Aylwen Dreamsong has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Jasara had been roused by the noises made and once she saw the damage she knew she had made a terrible mistake in feeling comfortable so close to the camps. Eight of the older young were dead, either strangled to death or slain. The plan had been well-thought and had depended greatly on the hope that the youth would be unorganized or unsuspectings. The attackers had done well, Jasara knew.

"Most of the children under twelve have been taken," Nasir informed Jasara emotionlessly. In his left hand was a bloody spear, and with his other hand he held a little boy tightly by the wrist. Uri followed Nasir, two young children in tow, and Khasia carried another young one in her arms. Some were whimpering slightly, and the others were holding back tears. They were the only ones forgotten or recaptured.

Jasara turned away from them, her head began to ache and she began to seriously doubt her defiance of the elders. What was she supposed to do? She had to stay strong, or Khasia would take over, most likely leaving Jasara to die by herself in the process. Jasara's eyes began to hurt along with her head, when the familiar voice returned to her.

Retaliation, Jasara. Show them that you are willing to fight back after a loss. Show them you children are adamant.

Jasara wanted to discard the voice and somehow be rid of it. If it were not for the voice, the visions, and the premonitions, Jasara would not have gotten anyone, especially herself, into this mess. But her voice was not like Fouad's rock. She could not toss a magic stone away and be rid of the evil that plagued her, it was with her forever.

"We will retaliate," Jasara informed the leaders after a moment for consideration of the voice's orders. Her voice was shaky, but strong as the others nodded. "Take the children away, put them under competent guards. I need to speak with you all. Nasir, bring Najah. The five of us will talk."

Nasir nodded and went to go get Najah as the rest of the leaders took the fastest way to the nearby stream. When Najah and Nasir had joined them, Jasara was finally prepared to inform them of her plan. She knew Nasir would never accept it willingly, she knew Najah and Khasia might enjoy it, and she knew that Uri would be skeptical but would accept for the greater good of the tribe.

"We've lost eight able warriors and many children. We probably have only thirty or forty left. However, we need to show the elders that we are not afraid to take drastic measures," Jasara began, preparing the other leaders for her slightly radical idea. "We kill them. Any child who can not readily and properly wield a weapon will be killed and left in the centermost area of the Baobab-Painted Sand Tribe. They waste food and time, and would only subject us to further weakness."

Najah had a wicked grin on her face, and Khasia looked indifferent. Nasir was already shaking his head defiantly, while Uri looked at Jasara critically, as if considering something she had not thought of. Jasara nodded; she had expected these reactions. She didn't even feel the need to further push her campaign and idea in their faces.

"I accept!" Khasia and Najah said simultaneously. Khasia answered as if it were a grim admittance, but Najah seemed rather excited and anxious. Nasir was still shaking his head violently, but Uri was the next to add to the proceedings.

"Jasara has a good point and a good idea. This could only strengthen our tribe, not weaken it, as the sacrificed would be young who are of no use. I accept, for the greater good of the tribe," finished Uri, with a look to Nasir. "Nasir, you are outnumbered four to one. Jasara will not lead us to our downfall, friend. Trust."

Nasir said naught, but he sent an evil look Jasara's way. Jasara dismissed it, knowing that deep down Nasir knew it would be best and that he would be loyal to the tribe no matter what decision were made. The group had an agreement: they would sacrifice any useless young and leave them at their parent's tent, and Uri would lead the way into the familiar camp. Only capable soldiers would be left.

"The first to go will be the four who were left behind by the attackers. Najah and Nasir will have a late practice, and determine who will be useful and who will be useless. Remember that this is mostly to show the elders what we are willing to do, so don't give up a warrior if they are decent enough to fight when the time comes. Then while they try and get some last sleep before dawn, we will slit the throats of those chosen to be sacrificed. Uri, you'll lead us into the tribe of elders and we'll leave them towards the center," Jasara went over everything one last time and was glad to recieve nods of agreement and understanding around the group.

The four children had tentatively fallen asleep while the group had been talking, and when they got back they were killed swiftly and silently with a mercy strike to the throat. The children's bodies were pulled behind a tree while Nasir and Najah began the late training lesson.
__________________
...Come down now, they'll say. But everything looks perfect from far away - Come down now! But we'll stay.
Aylwen Dreamsong is offline  
Old 07-15-2003, 10:38 AM   #96
Sophia the Thunder Mistress
Scent of Simbelmynë
 
Sophia the Thunder Mistress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Aboard Highwind, bound for Traverse Town
Posts: 1,834
Sophia the Thunder Mistress has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Sophia the Thunder Mistress
Sting

Khasia's eyes were narrowed and expressionless as she listened to Jasara's plan. It was wise, Khasia was surprised to hear such wisdom from her sister. She had been so concerned about numbers, so concerned about strength. But killing the young ones would be the right way, the way of the strong. She nodded resolutely as Najah chimed in her agreement. "I accept."

The four youngest children were killed quickly, mercifully. Khasia wiped her knife on a tuft of grass and stepped back from the widening pool of blood where she had slit the throat of the youngest boy. Grabbing his limp wrists she pulled him across the hot ground to the place where the other bodies had been left.

Najah's late training session was strenuous, but Khasia fought hard, not doubting that her sister would order her death too, should she fail. The broadsword was too heavy for her, and as she sparred with Najah her hands shook and the other girl struck it quickly from Khasia's nerveless fingers. But her aim with the throwing spears was deadly, and her bowshot was true. Sweating, she shook her braids back from her face and nodded in grim satisfaction. Bare feet padding silently across the baked earth, Khasia watched the other children train, eyeing them idly as though it made no difference whether they passed or failed.

Khasia winced as one girl sliced across her arm with her own sword blade. A quick mental note added her to the list of failed warriors. Another boy, fairly young, hit nothing with six consecutive spears. Khasia pursed her lips unhappily. There were so many. So many who were helpless with their best weapon. So many who needed much training to fight competently. Najah's voice pierced the afternoon, calling the sparring children to a halt, sending them to the stream for a drink.

Khasia made her way to where Jasara, Najah, Nasir and Uri stood. Jasara gazed after the sweatsoaked line of children disappearing in the direction of the stream. "How do they look?" Najah, Khasia, and Nasir exchanged looks. They hadn't looked great.

"How many can we spare, Jasara?" Najah asked calmly. "The Painted Sand group is much stronger and better trained."

"That is to be expected," cut in Uri, smoothly. "But there are a few of ours who could be spared. And six or seven of yours." A catlike grin spread over his face, satisfaction with his own recruits' comparative preparedness. Khasia wanted to smack him, suddenly, but she restrained herself, speaking instead.

"Marah is terrible with a sword. And Qitan is too small to lift one properly." Jasara nodded, as she glanced at Nasir and Najah. After much deliberation, two more Baobab youth and one Painted Sand were selected as unnecessary to the tribe's defense. Exchanging one final meaningful glance, the five youth separated, each headed to find one of the condemned children.

The firey red of the sunset sky was cooling to an ashy grey as Khasia approached the boy, Qitan. He was small, weak, pitiful, useless. Khasia stared at him with impassive eyes as he turned from his work to face her. The blade of the dagger in her hand was a matte grey, she almost wished it would glint ominously, give away her plans, give her cause for chase. But no. Jasara was right, it must be done quietly, mercifully. There could be no struggle. "Qitan." she said softly, tonelessly. He nodded in the fading light, his large eyes inquisitive. "You have failed in your training, Qitan. You will never be a warrior. We have decided you are no good to us."

His breath quickened, but he didn't move or show fear. "Am I to be sent home?" he asked, with a glint of anger lurking in his eyes. Khasia nodded, stepped closer.

"Yes, Qitan, that's it. Sent home." She stepped closer still, slashed her dagger across his throat. Her eyes remained impassive as he crumpled to the ground, last breaths rasping in his severed throat. Leaving the body where it lay, Khasia looked with disgust at the blood spattered all over her skirt and tunic. She spun in her tracks and made her way back to where she could see Jasara and Nasir sitting together beside a fire.

She had barely reached them when Najah and Uri approached from another direction. Uri's hands were boodstained, and Najah carried a bloodied knife in front of her. Her words carried the sentiment they all shared. "They were never warriors, they died like children." Jasara spat on the ground as Nasir and Uri went to gather the bodies together. "We will need more youths to carry the dead, Jasara." Najah pointed out sagely.

"Yes." Jasara confirmed. "Go find them, Najah. Two of ours and two of Uri's, strong and closemouthed. Khasia and I will prepare the dead." A tremor went down Khasia's spine at the sound of those words, prepare the dead. She nodded at her sister, and the two moved to the place where the bodies of the youngest children had been left. Jasara had procured a coil of rope and a pot of grease mixed with red pigments. Khasia watched as Jasara moved to the body of the first boy and painted an angry red eye on the skin of his bare chest. Khasia followed Jasara's lead, tearing away the clothing from the next girl's stomach and marking her with the symbol of the eye. After each child was marked their hands were tied above their heads with Jasara's rope.

Soon the little company was ready to go, each figure clothed in dark colors, and carrying a corpse slung across its shoulders. Jasara nodded at them, and they crept through the desert dark in single file. Stopping a far cry from the edge of the larger tribe's camp the nearest outlying sentry was silenced by one of Khasia's spears, and they crept onward. The encampment was silent, the dark silhouettes of tents against the sky contrasted with the orange glow of flickering fires. The young people moved cautiously to the center of the camp, where a small tree grew.

Dropping their burdens, Khasia, Jasara, and Najah hoisted themselves into the tree's lower branches. Each rope was passed up to them, each knot stealthily tied, each body left to hang, hair and tattered clothing flickering in the light breeze. Light as cats the three girls descended from the tree, and the small party slipped away, nine shadows departing into the openness of the night, leaving nine smaller shadows swaying suspended behind them.
__________________
The seasons fall like silver swords, the years rush ever onward; and soon I sail, to leave this world, these lands where I have wander'd. O Elbereth! O Queen who dwells beyond the Western Seas, spare me yet a little time 'ere white ships come for me!
Sophia the Thunder Mistress is offline  
Old 07-16-2003, 06:11 AM   #97
Ealasaid
Wight
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: under a large pile of dirt & gravel
Posts: 193
Ealasaid has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

BRIELLAH

On the morning after the rescue of the children from the other camp, Briellah awoke just as the first fingers of dawn reached into the sky over the eastern mountains. Her family was in turmoil. Her older daughter had been mutilated, her husband and son were stalking about in horrible rages, and her younger daughter had descended into a fit of hysterics at the sight of poor Chani. The two girls were both resting now, thanks to a potion Briellah had learned earlier from Jamilah. Sighing, Briellah looked over at them. Poor Chani. She had lost a lot of blood and there was a danger of infection. She would have to be monitored closely. As for Shushila, Briellah had a feeling there was more to her distress than just empathy for her sister. Perhaps a touch of guilt? Briellah decided to let it go for the moment, but if life ever returned to normal, she would get to the bottom of it then.

Pulling her robes closer around her to ward off the morning chill, Briellah stepped out the flap of her tent to start a small fire. She wanted to have hot water ready for Chani the moment she awoke so that she could brew hot, salty water for the wound in her mouth, herbal tea for the wound in her soul. She had no sooner bent over the fire pit went a keening wail split the silence of the morning. Dropping her handful of kindling on the ground, Briellah ran in the direction of the sound. When she arrived at the foot of the great tree that stood on the edge of the market ground, she stopped short. Her mouth fell open in horror and disbelief.

At first she thought they were just bundles of old clothing, the nine shapes that hung from the old tree branches, twisting in the breeze, like some kind of overgrown seedpods. Then, she saw that they were children. Dead children. Strung up like criminals. Each one had been mutilated and marked with the sign of the eye. Knowing it was pointless even as she did it, Briellah made a sign with her hand that had been used for centuries to ward off the evil eye. Such things would be useless against this eye, but still she did it. She moved forward toward the woman who had wailed, recognizing her as a young woman of the Rain clan. She was still wailing at the top of her voice, holding the dangling foot of one of the children against her heart. Briellah went to her and wrapped the woman in her arms.

"Hana, is it?" asked Briellah. The woman nodded through her tears, the wailing choking off for a moment into sobs. "Is this your child?"

Hana nodded again. Briellah tightened her hold around the woman's shoulders, but said nothing. The rest of the tribe had already begun to join them. Other mothers, recognizing their children had already begun to wail. There was nothing she could say.
Ealasaid is offline  
Old 07-16-2003, 10:26 AM   #98
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Jamílah rubbed the middle of her forehead with her first two fingers. A headache was brewing behind her eyes - it made her face pale, her features look pinched and worn. No tears came from her eyes. They were dry now, all cried out since she first had heard what had been found. She had already cried all she could for the three little ones of her tribe whose bodies had hung from the tree . . . she had cried for their mothers and fathers, for their families . . . and she had cried in frustration for herself, because they could not bring them all to safety.

There were no more tears left in her, and surprisingly, no hatred for the ones who had done this . . . only the resolve that this would not happen again.

Qirfah and Qamar stood to either side of her, leaning against her, their heads on her shoulders, their arms twined about her waist, as if they were still little girls and she, the mother who would somehow bring them comfort.

But comfort was something she had naught to give either.

‘Daughters,’ she said to them, slipping from their embrace. ‘Help the other women bear the little ones away, and help them clean and clothe them. Later we will honor them and say farewell, singing their spirits away from us for now.’

‘And you, Mother. What are you going to be doing?’ asked Qamar, wiping her own eyes with the edge of her shawl. Her eyes flicked to her sister’s teary face, and she held on tight to her hand.

‘The Elders must meet now,’ said Jamílah quietly, drawing them close with her hands, kissing each softly on the cheek. ‘We have some things that must be decided and soon.’ She would say no more, just urged them toward the stricken families as she turned and left the market ground.

____________________________________

Faruq’s tent was where they all agreed to meet. Jamílah, not standing on ceremony, pulled aside the opening flap and ducked her head in, stepping in quickly without waiting to be asked in. No lamps had been lit, and the only light was from the dawning day outside as it shone in mutedly through the thin fabric of the tent. She was surprised, as her eyes grew accustomed to the dim light, to see many of the clan leaders of the Painted Sand tribe also present.

She had expected just a brief discussion to occur about what was needed to be done, and then some further talk on how they would implement their plan. But there seemed to be a heated exchange already going on between the leaders of the Painted Sand and the Elders of the Baobab. ‘What has happened”’ she whispered to Hafsa of the Civet clan. Hafsa leaned in close to her and spoke low.

‘The Elders proposed the plan we had briefly discussed the day we moved the tribe here to the Painted Sand encampment. The women and children would be gathered together with their belongings, and accompanied by a small troop of warriors, would travel swiftly to a safe place far from here. Many of us would stay here, to hunt out the remainder of the young and eliminate enough of them until they no longer present a danger to us.’ She thrust her chin upward toward the side of the tent where the Painted Sand leaders sat, anger washing openly over their features. ‘They want to combine forces and attack and annihilate all the young who have joined Jasara’s group as soon as possible.’

The debate went back and forth between the two tribes for some time, each representative standing up to promote his tribe’s own feelings on the matter. Jamílah’s headache grew stronger as precious time dragged on and the arguments became more entrenched.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Some time later, as Asim, of the Wild Dog clan spoke, there was a sound of hooves, come clattering up to Faruq’s tent, and a loud, hurried conversation, two voices, just outside the tent’s flap. One of the Wind Scorpion men standing guard at the entry to the meeting, poked his head inside the tent, saying Latif, the goat trader of the Baobab, was outside and had some news he must share right away with the Elders.

Normally a neatly dressed, calm person, the man who presented himself to the Elders was one whose raiment and mind were in a state of disarray, turmoil, and fright. He excused his appearance saying he had ridden quickly, stopping briefly only once for the sake of his mount, from the village he had gone to, the one just two days ride from here to the west.

‘A great dark army . . . they named themselves the Army of the Eye, I think . . . terrible, terrible,’ he said as he described them. He spoke of the sacrifice that had been demanded and done, of the talk of devotion and obedience to the Eye, and of the dark Priestess. It was a grim picture that he drew, made grimmer and more chilling with his last words.

‘We must get away,’ Latif pleaded, searching the faces of the Elders for understanding. ‘The Priestess and her Army are on the move again. And they are heading our way . . .’

[ July 17, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-18-2003, 09:27 AM   #99
Ealasaid
Wight
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: under a large pile of dirt & gravel
Posts: 193
Ealasaid has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

"We must get away!" pleaded Latif. "The priestess and her army are on the move again. And they are heading our way..."

A burst of commentary rose from the elders on both sides, some arguing for flight, others for standing firm. Slowly, Ishak bin Ishak raised his hand in a gesture for silence. "How many do they number?" he asked, his deep voice calm and grim.

Latif shook his head. "I don't know, but they are many. You mustn't think of staying. You will be slaughtered." His eyes scanned the many faces. "Please believe me. To stay will be to die."

Ishak nodded sagely, looking toward Faruq, the acknowledged leader of the Baobab. "Your people are a brave people," he said after a fresh burst of argument had died away. "I know you would not flee if danger were not imminent. But we have unfinished business here at hand. What of the young people who have turned against us in favor of this eye? Do we let them slaughter and maim our children with impunity? Do we let them go to this priestess, proudly, with blood on their hands, and tell her how they, a small band of raggedy children, put the great Baobab and Painted Sand tribes to flight?"

He looked around the tent at the gathered faces. "I say no."

"We are a warrior tribe. We are born warriors. We live as warriors. And we die like warriors." He stood. Drawing his sword from its scabbard, he held the shining blade in front of him like a challenge. "We will resist this Eye. We will ride against the murderers of our children. If it be our fate, then our blood will paint the sand of this desert." He waited again as a murmur of reaction rose and fell amongst the other elders. "But it will be the blood of warriors."

"Yet I also agree with Faruq," he continued after a moment. "I agree that we should send our women and children south and east into the mountains. I know of a haven in the high land that can be easily defended by few. We will send them there. The rest of us will stay and attend to our unfinished business, but we must act at once, before this new army arrives. Once we have exacted our revenge against these murderers of children, then we will decide what to do about the new threat." He looked around the room. "Are you with me?"
Ealasaid is offline  
Old 07-18-2003, 02:23 PM   #100
Helkahothion
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The inside of Legolas' lungs
Posts: 1,100
Helkahothion has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Helkahothion Send a message via AIM to Helkahothion
Eye

Sammael was on his way to the tent, he opened the flap, but was dragged to the side by a strong arm. He was thrown to the ground and re-pulled his dagger. He looked up in a stern face. His thoughts were ravaging as he realized he looked in the stern face of Thorgom.
This man surely would not show mercy and was a dangerous foe. Sammael had a bit of doubt if was able, but knew he could handle him. He stood up and took a threatening pose. Thorgom did not seem impressed. Sammael had heard how the man had slaughtered the father. Sammael made a strike and his blade made a cut on the cheeck or Thorgom. Thorgom licked the blood and watched. Sammael looked at him and punched him to the ground. Thorgom got agitaed and suddenly made a swing with his throwing axe and Sammael's knife went flying. He felt a bit cornered and wanted to shout for help, but Thorgom walking away and beckoning him to follow caught him of.

Sammael was led to Thorgom's tent and took the chair in the corner. Thorgom sad on the ground with crossed legs. Sammael had no idea why he was here and why he followed, but he was interested in a way in what the man had to say. Thorgom was looking at Sammael as he was taking a seat.

"As a leader, I don't think it will get you much respect if you stab a disobedient to death. Even if he is pulling the blood from underneath your nails. If your soldiers hold a grudge against you or have fear, it will only leave you watching your back. And that is not a pleasant feeling." Thorgom said in a calm voice.

"You think you can tell me what to do? I will lead in my own way."

"Yes whatever you say. Didn't that other leader need to tell them to listen to you? But it's up to you to do with what I tell to you. You don't approve of these sacrifices do you?"

Thorgom's question came as a surprise to Sammael and before he could help it he had already said "no".

"I don't either. It is a cruel fact that has no use. She could have done much more use instead of dying. Here father was even worse. He sold his daughter and that is why he deserved to die. If she hadn't given the order he would have got the axe anyway. What I just want to tell you, for some reason you look like a decent man and I would be eager to follow you. I don't trust any of these man here, they would sell their own mother if it was profitable to them. When the time is there, I'll watch your back."


"That's all? That's why I am here?" Sammael thought.

"Ehm okay. I'll keep that in mind. Well, I'm heading back to camp. You want to join me?"

"Yeah sure, I could use some distraction of this damn place. Nothing happens here."

[ July 19, 2003: Message edited by: Helkahothion ]
Helkahothion is offline  
Old 07-18-2003, 03:59 PM   #101
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Faruq motioned the other Elders to gather round him, and for a few moments they stood together in a tight knot, the murmur of their soft voices rising and falling in the tent. Hafsa, the Elder of the Civet clan, had shaken her head ‘no’ in a determined manner. Jamílah leaned in close to her, putting her hand on the woman’s arm, and spoke quietly to her as the others waited. Her head shaking ‘no’, still, but in a resigned manner, Hafsa said a few words to the Elders, then turned to face the others in the room.

‘We have decided,’ said Faruq. ‘We wish to join you in this unfinished business of the children.’ Curious glances slid Hafsa’s way, unasked questions about her decision. Had she counseled against the action, saying that they should flee? Hafsa colored under the scrutiny, but stood tall and spoke out.

‘Know this! I thirst for revenge against those murdering ghosts of my tribe. And were it my choice, we would ride out this very moment and destroy them.’ She paused and there were murmurs of approval on the lips of many. ‘But I am an Elder of the Tribe, and I have been asked to take up another task.’ Her fist slapped down hard against the palm of her open hand. ‘My heart rides with you when you do this thing, but I will be with the women and children of the Baobab tribe as they flee to safety. I will be the Elder that ties them to the old ways in their new place.’

She turned back to the Elders who stood behind her. ‘We will lay out the mats for you in our meetings, and look for your swift return.’ Saying that, she went out the door of the tent, already making preparations in her head what must be done.

Faruq nodded his head to her as she left, then turned back to Ishak. ‘We will send some of our warriors with the women and children. Shall we agree to send the treasures of our tribes together on this journey? Will you also spare some warriors for your women and children? And perhaps the horses to see them all swiftly on their way.’

‘Once this is done, then let us go out together and strike down the murderous jackals. The sooner done, the better . . .’

[ July 21, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-18-2003, 04:39 PM   #102
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Ealasaid’s post

ISHAK BIN ISHAK

Faruq turned to Ishak bin Ishak. "We will send some of our warriors with the women and children. Shall we agree to send the treasures of our tribes together on this journey? Will you also spare some warriors for your women and children? And perhaps the horses to see them all swiftly on their way."

"Once this is done, then let us go out together and strike down the murderous jackals. The sooner done, the better."

Ishak bin Ishak nodded. "What warriors we can spare will escort our women and children. Our treasures, both living and otherwise, will be well guarded by warriors of both tribes. What horses are not needed by the warriors who stay behind are at the disposal of you and your people. We have been blessed with a large herd. There should be enough horses for all." He bowed to Faruq. "You and I, Faruq, have always been friends. We shall now be as brothers in this time of crisis. My sword and the swords of my tribesmen are yours."

Faruq bowed in return. "My sword and the swords of my tribesmen are yours, as well, brother Ishak. But now we must make haste."

"Yes," agreed Ishak. "We must make haste." There were few formalities as the meeting broke up and the elders hurried to break their camps.

[ July 20, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-19-2003, 10:37 AM   #103
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Nerindel's Post

Ghurdan soon grew bored of the inn, there was no entertainment to be had this night and the company staying at the inn kept to their rooms, He ate the inns poor excuse for a meal and some of it's substandard ale, before joining in a game of cards with some of the locals, but he gained no satisfaction from beating these villagers and taking their money.

Just then, an out of breath warrior burst into the inn "Captain!" he cried trying to catch his breath, Ghurdan recognised him as one of his crew but he could not recall the name. "What is it?" he hissed pulling the man to a dark corner of the inn. "Sammael" he puffed, Ghurdan glared at the middle aged man "what has he to do with me!" he demanded, "He killed Arun !" the man before him spat. Now Arun was a name Ghurdan remembered, the blood thirsty young man had killed many Gondorian soldiers in their last mission for the eye.

"how did this happen?" Ghurdan fumed Rufan proceeded to inform Ghurdan of the events leading to Aruns death in great detail, not daring to embellish the truth under his captains dark watchful gaze, "The crew are calling for blood?" he finished. "no doubt they are !" he chuckled, but they are to do nothing, the crew man looked at him incredulously "that's an order. Ghurdan shot warningly "I, will deal with Sammael" the man, now wearing a wicked, almost knowing grin, nodded his head curtly and headed back to camp.

Ghurdan finished his ale in one gulp and made his way swiftly across the inn and through the door that lead to the inns guest rooms, he found Sevora's room and knocked sharply on the door, As expected Rahvin opened it, he did not speak but simply waited for Ghurdan to tell him what he wanted. past him Ghurdan could see Dristi slumped on the ground holding her neck. 'Sevora has just dealt out her punishment' he thought pleased that he may have caught Sevora in the right fame of mood for what he was about to ask.

"I wish to speak with our dark mistress, but if she is otherwi...." "No, no " Sevora grinned coming to the door herself, "Dristi was just leaving " She said shooting the priestess a cold look as she left. he could not see Dristi's eyes as she tried to pull the collar of her robes higher to hide the burn marks around her neck. "Come in Black Heart, have a seat" she grinned gesturing to a wooden stool that sat under one of the wooden ceiling beams, Looking from the beam to the stool to the pieces of rope still lying on the floor he decided instead to just stand.Both Sevora and Rahvin seemed to find this highly amusing, but he went on "A great injustice has been delivered to me this night!" Sevora raised an eyebrow in interest "how so ?" she asked nonchalantly "One of my crew has been murdered by another of our company”

Sevora's eyes widened with glee "and you wish me to punish the murderer" "No, oh great one to the eye, I humbly request that I be allowed to deal out a punishment of my own choosing." Sevora was curious, nearly all Ghurdans punishments resulted in death. she fixed him with a steely gaze and in a commanding voice she said "Do not kill them, we will need every warrior we have, if we are to meet any resistance." Ghurdan nodded curtly and went on, "I mean not to kill them, but to abject them to a little humiliation to appease my blood thirsty crew, who cry for revenge." Yes, I see" she sneered, realising the problems that would occur if Ghurdans crew revolted.

Ghurdan was pleased that this conversation was so far going well, but then the question he had not wanted to answer came, "So who and what caused this incident?" Sevora asked him, her eyes shining with anticipation of the answer, "Sammael, Zasfal and the murdered man Arun had a disagreement during a game of cards, It was Sammael that murdered Arun." he answered carefully, he did not include the reason of the disagreement for he knew that if Sevora knew of Sammaels dislike for her Sacrifice she would surely wish to punish the young man herself. He watched as the priestess mulled over his words "Very well ," she said at last. Grinning Ghurdan made to leave, "As long as Rahvin aids you in your punishment" she added coldly. Ghurdans grin dropped abruptly at her words and as she started to chuckle he realised that she had played with him once more. "Very well " he said curtly and turning to Rahvin he added "Come to my tent Before the others awake". Bowing respectfully to Sevora he left.

He already knew how he was going to punish the pair, yes he was going to punish Zasfal for his part too, he had all ready warned him but it had obviously not sunk into his thick skull, so he was left with on other recourse. As he walked back to the Camp he saw Thorgoms tent and his thoughts turned to the tribes people they would soon face, This man could tell him much of how these people fight, so he made his way quietly to Thorgoms tent with the intent to question the large tribal man, But as he reached it he heard voices inside:

"You don't approve of these sacrifices do you?"
"no".
"I don't either. It is a cruel fact that has no use. She could have done much more use instead of dying. Here father was even worse. He sold his daughter and that is why he deserved to die. If she hadn't given the order he would have got the axe anyway. What I just want to tell you, for some reason you look like a decent man and I would be eager to follow you. I don't trust any of these man here, they would sell their own mother if it was profitable to them. When the time is there, I'll watch your back."

Ghurdan had heard enough, once out of ear shot of the tent he laughed, "Thanks for the warning old man" and slipped silently into his tent, a few of his men where there waiting of his return, he glowered at them, telling them only the he would require six of the strongest among them to return before first light with the heavy ropes. "Now leave me" he ordered sharply.


Ghurdan was awake long before the sun started to rise, the six crew soon arrived with the rope, followed almost at once by Rahvin, He told each of them what he required of them turning last to Rahvin, "Seeing as you believe Zasfal to be foolish you can punish him, in the same way off course," he said emotionlessly.

Rahvin and two of the six crew made their way silently to Zasfal's tent, as Ghurdan and the other Four went to Sammaels, " is someone watching the tribesman's tent" He whispered to the large man beside him, who nodded his affirmation. So with the first ray's of the sun piercing the horizon they entered Sammael's tent swords already drawn.

Sammael and Damodred woke up immediately reaching for their weapons, But the four crewmen surrounded Domodred, their swords wavering level with his throat, "What is the meaning of this !" Sammael demanded waving his dagger threateningly at Ghurdan. "I do not believe you are in a position to demand anything" Ghurdan said calmly, and as he did one of the crew men lowered his sword to Damodreds heart, Seeing this Sammael reluctantly lowered his dagger.

"You are the one who committed a crime and you are the one to be punished" he said coldly to Sammael, " "Take the other one out of here!" he ordered " and he is not to be harmed, but he is not to interfer. he said looking again to Sammael. He could feel Damodred looked to Sammael, who nodded curtly. "Now are you going to remove your weapons or am I to remove them for you.

Sammael raised his dagger in defiance, but Ghurdan just made one swift stroke, Sammael began to laugh at Ghurdans obvious miss but stopped as his belt and Scimitars fell to the ground, He did not try to kill him only disarm him as he had said. He knew that if he reach for his scimitars he would be vulnerable to any attack Ghurdan made, so instead he advanced on Ghurdan wielding his dagger, the pair parried blows for a short while, Sammael lunging once or twice, but Ghurdan was quick and as Sammael lunged again Ghurdan grabbed his wrist and turning around behind him, pulled his arm up his back until he eventually dropped the dagger. And then with his sword under Sammael's chin he calmly walked him from the tent, were two men hurried to bind Sammael's hands tightly infront of him, "It's nothing personal" he whispered darkly in Sammaels ear as he led him to the back of the cart.

As they got there they could see Rahvin tying Zasfal to the back of the cart, Ghurdan did likewise with Sammael, then he jumped up on to the back of the cart to address the now gathering warriors. "These two men are to be punished for their crimes, They are to stay bound until nightfall without food or water and anyone found aiding them will be punished likewise " He growled, deliberately directing the last words to Damodred and Thorgom.

Ghurdan returned to Sammaels tent and picked up his weapons, As he had expected Damodred had followed him, "I had to do it" he said not caring if the older man believed him or not "you do not Kill a member of your crew and not expect the men to want recompense!" he slowly turned to face Damodred, the older man was considering his words. Ghurdan held out Sammaels weapons, "He will still need these" he said handing the weapons to Damodred. Also you should advise your young friend to be more careful with his tongue if The Red Flame had heard his words regarding the sacrifice he would have had more to deal with than a little humiliation.

Within an hour the camp was packed up and ready to leave, Sevora, Dristi and Naramarth returned shortly afterwards and ordered them to leave, with Zasfal And Sammael still tied to the back of the cart.

[ July 20, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-20-2003, 05:35 PM   #104
Ealasaid
Wight
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: under a large pile of dirt & gravel
Posts: 193
Ealasaid has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Not invited this time to the counsel of elders, Ahmad spent the duration of the meeting hanging about the outside of the tent with a group of other young warriors and hunters of both tribes, listening and trying to determine what was happening. When Hafsa, the Elder of the Baobab's Civet clan, came out early, they all rose and moved toward her for news. She shook her head at them and hurried away, her face stern. The young men all went back to their earlier postures and waiting.

"What do you suppose is happening?" asked one of the Baobab hunters. "I hear a lot of talk about fighting or staying or leaving, but I can't tell what has been decided. I know I didn't much like the sound of what Latif had to say."

Ahmad nodded. They had all heard the tidings brought by Latif, the Baobab goat trader, of the approaching High Priestess and her army. "I can't imagine we will do anything but fight," he said finally. "It's the way of my people. But I, too, can't say I like the sound of it."

"Nor I," rejoined Adhem, Ahmad's kinsman, the one who had found Chani tied to the tree the day before. "It's an evil wind that blows out of the west."

The others merely nodded their agreement and went back to listening. When the meeting broke a short time later and the elders of both tribes came out, the young men all stood again and stepped forward to learn what would happen next. The four riders, two from the Baobab and two from the Painted Sand, were selected and sent off at once. Seeing that Adhem was one of them, Ahmad caught his arm as he turned to go.

"Ride fast, cousin," he said softly. "May your eyes and ears be sharp. I wish that I rode in your place."

Adhem smiled grimly. "I wish you were riding with us. There is no one else I would rather have at my right hand. But we will ride together when the time comes."

"We will." Ahmad released Adhem's arm and watched as he and the Grass clan warrior, who had also been chosen, turned and departed. Ahmad's dark eyes filled with envy as he followed the movements of the two as they made their way back to their tents for their saddles and leather armor. Ahmad wanted desperately to ride with the scouting party after the group who had maimed his sister. He needed the action, hated the waiting. Finally, he turned and walked back toward his family's compound. There was packing to do and many preparations to make in haste in order for his mother and sisters to get underway. He and his father would remain behind.

On his way back through the massive combined encampment of the Baobab and Painted Sand tribes, he passed close to a small grouping of familiar tents. When he saw the now-still obsidian windchime hanging on the tentpost outside of one, he stopped. It was Qirfah's tent. He hesitated for only an instant, then he changed direction and walked purposefully in its direction. If this High Priestess was coming with her army and if his tribe rode out against her, odds were that he would be riding to his death. If that was the case, then he owed it to himself to speak with Qirfah one last time.

Almost as if she knew he would be there, Qirfah appeared suddenly through the tent flap, carrying her toddler son in her arms. Ahmad's breath caught in his throat at the sight of her. Over two years had passed since he had last seen her or held her in his arms. She was as beautiful, more beautiful, than he remembered. An instant passed before she noticed him. During that time, he simply gazed at her, the curve of her cheek as she kissed the child in her arms, the sun shining off her lustrous black hair. When she looked up and saw him, their eyes meeting, she straightened, then grew perfecty still. A slight flush rose in her cheeks.

"Qirfah," he whispered. And she smiled.

Putting the child down, she bade him to go find his sister. Once the boy had disappeared back into the tent, she looked again at Ahmad. "Did you see him?" she asked softly, moving toward him.

He nodded, a pang of jealousy running through him at the thought of her husband. "Your son is a fine boy," he said, fighting to keep the bitterness out of his voice.

"Your son," she echoed, with a soft, knowing smile. "Is a fine boy." She reached him and, taking his hand, laced her fingers through his. He looked down at her with first bewilderment, then a dawning understanding.

"Mine?"

When she nodded, it was all he could do not to take her in his arms right there, but, as it was, he pulled her, laughing, to a relatively hidden spot between the tents. When he was sure they were not observed, he did take her into his embrace and kissed her, slowly and deeply, with all the emotion he had been forced to deny for the past two years. When they parted again, she smiled up at him, her eyes shining.

"I knew you would come," she whispered. Her fingers reached up and touched the shard of obsidian he wore on the cord around his neck. "I saw you the night you came to my tent. I knew you would come back."

"I will always come back for you," he said gently, pulling her closer against his chest. If it were up to him, he would have stayed like that, with her, forever. She was the only woman he had ever loved. When he had refused his family's urgings that he marry, it was because of her. If only she knew how often he had daydreamed of simply galloping into her camp and carrying her off, she would have laughed out loud. Instead, she pulled away from him, a new sadness rising in her dark eyes.

"Will you?" she asked. "Will you always come back?"

"Always," he vowed, knowing that she was thinking of the days that lay immediately ahead of them, of murdered children, and an army that grew nearer as they spoke. "I promise you, Qirfah, as long as there is even a breath of life in me, I will come back to you." He caught her hand and drew it to his lips.

She smiled again, but sadly this time. "Don't make idle promises," she chided him gently and carefully withdrew her hand. "I was wrong to ask you such a thing when I am already bound in marriage to another." She moved a few paces away from him. "My husband, Husam, is a good man. Later, today or tomorrow, he will ride into battle beside you and face the same perils you face. If you love me --" she looked deeply into his eyes "-- you will make me another promise."

"Anything, my love."

"Promise me that you will look out for him."

Ahmad laughed bitterly. "Lady, that is a difficult promise."

Qirfah nodded. "It is through no sin of his that I cannot love him. He has always treated me well and been a good father to my children. I cannot wish him ill. And this is the only promise I can ask of you with honor. Will you promise me?"

"I swear by the blade of the sword of my forefathers, I will do what I can."

"I ask nothing less." She walked back to him and laid her palm against the side of his face. "And, no promises," she whispered, leaning up to place her lips against his ear. "But I will wait for you. As long as there is a breath of life in me."

_____________________________________________

Pio's post

Later that same day, the two warriors from the Painted Sands joined two hunters from the Baobab tribe. Mounted on fleet steeds from the Painted Sands, the hunters tracked the movement of the youngsters since the murders of last night.

Their faces were grim, seeing the blood that had been spilled on the sandy soil in one area where the youngsters had been. The four men had been instructed only to find where Jasara's group had gone, not to engage them, but hands tightened on their weapons and dark eyes flashed with barely suppressed anger, as they sought the clues that would lead them to the lair . . .

[ July 21, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]

[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
Ealasaid is offline  
Old 07-20-2003, 07:26 PM   #105
Aylwen Dreamsong
The Melody of Misery
 
Aylwen Dreamsong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: The Island of Conclusions (You get there by jumping!)...
Posts: 1,162
Aylwen Dreamsong has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Aylwen's post

The time that went by tormented Jasara. It was the silence and the serenity that had overcome the grasslands that aggravated her and made her feel like something was happening that she did not know about. However, the worst of all this was what the young did while they waited. Every waking moment was spent either with Najah and Nasir practicing with weapons or out hunting for food. Neither task was perticularly difficult, but each seemed to be merely something to fill in the time while they waited for something to happen.

For nothing had happened since the leaders had tied the dead to the trees.

They had waited for days and days, for there was a simple feeling that told them that they had either done something so incredibly horrendous or so incredibly unimportant that the elders were struck into immobility. They were not certain which they preferred. Or there was the feeling Jasara had; that the elders had already begun their planning and that the young would have no way to know of it.

Time was taunting them.

~*~

Rijal had luckily escaped with his life. The only thing that had saved him from hanging upon the children's tree was Nasir. Nasir had convinced Uri and Najah (for they were the ones who truly objected exceptions) that Rijal was necessary for reconnaissance and spying. Which was what the little boy had been doing ever since the murdering.

He had not wanted to go back. He was afraid of Jasara. It was scary to know that he would have been dead were it not for Nasir and his crafty words and dislike for rashness. At the same time, however, Rijal hardly thought it mattered whether or not he died. The killings were a rude awakening for him. He did not matter to the young. He was useless save for his size and good eyes. He did not matter to the Baobab anymore either...he was dead to them.

But he did chance to see something useful as he was out wandering during the desert. What looked to be two scouts and two heavily armed and boisterous warriors. The two scouts Rijal recognized; he had often spoken to them and learned things of tracking from them when he was still alive to the Baobab tribe.

Despite his horrid feelings towards Jasara, Rijal felt the distinct need to tell her about his findings. So he sprinted away from his hiding place in the bushes near the trackers and warriors. He was going back to Jasara. Back to where he was wanted by one and needed by no one.

~*~

You have seperated yourselves from the elders, and still they feel the need to look after you.

Jasara could not stand it any longer. She was on the end of her rope, and it was fraying quickly. The voice filled her with rage for the elders, but the elders scared her deep inside. Deep inside, she knew she had gone way too far by killing her own tribemates. Kin slaying was something Jasara did not want to have to pay the price for in the end, but it was too late. And Jasara could not blame the voice, because she had every chance in the beginning to deny it. It was all her fault.

The worst part was that it was too late to say no to the voice.

Give yourselves to the servants of the Eye. They come now. They will offer you protection. Allign yourselves with them! The voice said, chilling Jasara to the very bones. It haunted her, and Jasara had no idea why. Jasara blinked her eyes several times after this inner question, but for several minutes she could not clear the vision of a red, flaming, lidless eye blanketed on a banner that was so dark it went beyond black and crossed into utter nothingness.

"Najah," Jasara called weakly but loudly. The girl came jogging over, sweat on her brow and bow in her hand. "Go out with three or four of your best bowmen and see if you can catch some of the trackers out there. Take Rijal with you. Do not get too close unless you feel you can take on two fully trained Painted Sand warriors without any losses."

Najah nodded and left Jasara, calling out orders in an unmistakeably wicked voice. Why hadn't the eye chosen Najah? She was evil! But Jasara had been chosen. Jasara rose from her spot by the stream with a new resolve that because she had been chosen, she was destined to success against the elders. Why else would the eye have possessed her?

"Khasia!" Jasara screamed, with new vigour that was not present when she had called for Najah. Her sister ran up, out of breath with a spear in her left hand. "Go tell Uri that there is an army of the Eye coming near here. When it is close enough we will meet up with them. We will crush the elders."

Khasia nodded, but at the same time she was rolling her eyes and sneering at Jasara and her ability to see the future or see visions. Khasia ran off to find Uri, while Jasara left herself alone to be tormented by the eye and the horrid voice.

The Eye will always protect you, Jasara...

___________________________________________
Sophia's post

Khasia heard Jasara’s cry from across the camp. Pushing her sweat-soaked braids out of her face she wrenched her spear from the target it had recently lodged in. She crossed the camp quickly, finding her sister with a look of near panic on her face. “Jasara?”

“Go tell Uri that there is an army of the Eye coming near here. When it is close enough we will meet up with them. We will crush the elders." Jasara’s words were hurried, and Khasia couldn’t readily identify her expression. Her tone though was confident, and obediently Khasia ran across the camp to where the Painted Sand youth had set up their sleeping spots.

Several minutes later, she and Uri left the Painted Sand area, Khasia set out around the edge of the camp, her bare feet sending clouds of dust billowing behind her. She could see Uri running the other direction, toward where Nasir’s group were practicing with the longsword. As she ran, Khasia barked orders to the children she passed. “Go to Jasara! Pack your things and gather at the stream! Go! Now!”

A group of the young formed around the place where Jasara stood. As Khasia reached the place where her own things were, she dropped to her knees and began stuffing things haphazardly into her large carrying basket. Jasara’s words were beginning to reach her, she was beginning to think about their implications. The army of the Eye. She shuddered, thinking about Jasara’s face, Jasara’s confidence, confidence she didn’t always share. But this army… Khasia tightened her lips. There might be opportunity there, for the ambitious. Ambition was one thing Khasia had in quantity. Slinging the basket over her shoulder, Khasia made her way over to the stream where Jasara was beginning to speak.

“For too long the old have held us captive. For too long we have lived in fear of them and their revenge. We need fear them no longer!” The confidence in Jasara’s voice was unmistakable, but the crowd of children stirred uncertainly. “An army draws near.” She called, over the voices of the muttering youth. “An army that will side with us, an army that will protect us! We will go to them as soon as Najah has returned. Gather your things, we will move soon!”

The group dissolved, nearly silently. The murmurings of the children followed them across the grounds. None of them entirely trusted whatever voice led Jasara, but all were confident of her leadership skills. Khasia surveyed the camp, watched the young pack the remainder of their things, kick sand over the fires. “What is in this for us, Jasara? Why are we giving ourselves over to them?” Khasia spoke under her breath so those that followered wouldn’t hear her doubt. Jasara’s face grew still, as though she listened.

“Great glory, sister.” She answered, the glint in her eye brightening. Khasia smiled.

The running form of Rijal jerked Khasia out of her musings on power. “Najah is coming!” he cried. “They are here!” Jasara and Khasia exchanged glances, and Khasia moved out around the camp, whispering to the leaders, nudging along the slow. Shortly all traces of a camp had vanished, only a trail of footprints in the dust pointed to where the young had gone.

[ July 22, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]

[ July 30, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
__________________
...Come down now, they'll say. But everything looks perfect from far away - Come down now! But we'll stay.
Aylwen Dreamsong is offline  
Old 07-21-2003, 05:57 AM   #106
Helkahothion
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The inside of Legolas' lungs
Posts: 1,100
Helkahothion has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Helkahothion Send a message via AIM to Helkahothion
Eye

Thorgom looked at Sammael and Zasfal tied up on the cart. They were still sleeping since they were not hungry. Not yet. Thorgom went to gather up his equipment and broke of his camp. As he had the tent, chair and bed wrapped up again in a tight package and hanging from his left side, he went over to the caravan that was already leaving. Ghurdan was counting heads to see if anyone was there and smiled as Thorgom walked towards him.

"Ah Thorgom, you have made our party complete. If you would camp a bit closer, you might be on time for a change. But then again, people could hear out on your little councils."

"Hush up sandworm. Maybe Sammael could have seen this coming, but the young Zasfal had nothing to do with this. He was just a spectator."

"Yes, but he did not intervene." Ghurdan said coldly.

"Neither did the rest of the camp. I don't see them tied up on that cart now do I?" Thorgom replied as he climbed the cart with the two men.

"Thorgom! What in the name of the great eye are you doing? Get of that cart!"

"I am not allowed to feed them, none of the rules forbid me to sit here and keep them company sandworm! If you don't like it, why don't you come and get me?!"

With that, Thorgom took out his throwing axe and waved it around menacingly. Ghurdan did not reply, his nickname was already bad enough as it was. Some of the man snickered at Ghurdan, but a foul look from his face were enough to keep the silent. Thorgom sad on the cart, waving his legs back and forward like a little child sitting on a chair. He took a mouthful of water and wiped of the sweat.

They were progressing slow, but steady and the sun was burning on their heads. Sammael was strong enough to keep this up till the day, but Zasfal was having a lot of difficulty. He was muttering in himself and looked hopefully if someone was going to give him some water. Thorgom took another swig of water. His gaze wandered about and met the looks of the young Zasfal. He stood up in the cart and walked over.

"No one is watching, quick." He said.

"More people are watching than you think. Just insult me while I am drinking and keep your mouth open. That's all if you want some second hand water."

Thorgom sat a while opposite Zasfal with a grin on his face. He slowly took his sack with water and placed it on his lips. Slowly teasing he placed the sack on his lips and poured water in his mouth. Zasfal saw his opportunity.

"You really are a slimy rat Thorgom!" He shouted.

Immediately Thorgom sprayed all the water from his mouth into Zasfal's mouth. Thorgom had a big mouth so Zasfal got more than a mouthful. The boy swallowed quickly as Thorgom was insulting him right back. With a little wink of course. The man looked at the two, as Thorgom kicked Zasfal. They all laughed in a howling roar. Zasfal smiled to, it was worth this. His face was wet and he had gotten some water. Even though the kick was not necessary. Thorgom walked to the back and let his legs hanging again. Ghurdan was looking at his face for a while and Thorgom stared right back.

"Something wrong sandworm?" Thorgom asked with a happy tone in his voice.

Ghurdan growled in himself and walked on while Thorgom was taking another swig of water.

[ July 21, 2003: Message edited by: Helkahothion ]

[ July 22, 2003: Message edited by: Helkahothion ]
Helkahothion is offline  
Old 07-21-2003, 02:45 PM   #107
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Jamílah, Qirfah, Qamar- the day after the meeting of the tribes

‘Come, Mother,’ called Qamar, as she opened the flaps of two large, woven panniers. ‘I have the children’s and my bags packed. The tent is taken down and rolled, and Qirfah is almost done, too.’ She began to take Jamílah’s clothes from the woven chest at the foot of her mat and stuff them in the satchels for the horse. ‘I’ll help you pack, just roll up your mat and get down what other things you want to ta . . .’

Her words were cut off by three short words. ‘I’m not leaving.’

Qamar’s hand stopped, a shawl of her mother’s clasped in her hand, and looked up at her as if she had just spoken in another language. Qirfah, just entering the tent, stood still, holding her breath at her mother’s words. ‘What do you mean, you’re not leaving?’ Her words strung out across the silence in the tent.

‘Come, sit down,’ said Jamílah gently, going to Qirfah, and bringing her to where Qamar crouched, the shawl now lying in a heap on the floor beside her.

Qirfah sat close to her sister, taking her hand in hers. Jamílah crossed the tent to take down two old baskets from the shelves there, and returned to sit opposite her grave faced daughters. She pushed the familiar baskets toward them. They knew what was in the gifts she gave them: her herbs and medicines, the worn pieces of bone she cast to see what the day held in store; the knotted cords that told the orders of the rituals, all those old familiar things they had fingered in play as children and now would take up in solemn duty for the well-being of the clan and tribe.

And they drew back, not wanting to touch them, hoping that in their refusal it would make her relent. But she simply leaned forward, pushing the worn containers until their tattered sides touched her daughters' knees.

‘Daughter, these are yours now. I give them to you freely, knowing I have taught you all I can.’ The opening words to the ritual of passage fell between the women. Qamar stifled a gasp as she heard them and clasped Qirfah’s hand tighter. Do not go on! she thought to herself. I cannot bear it.

It was Qirfah, leaning across the space between them to touch the older woman’s cheek with tenderness, who understood her mother’s need to complete the circle with them as her mother had done with her. She patted Qamar’s hand, placing both of their hands on the gifts. ‘Mother, we accept,’ she said in a clear, quiet voice, ‘and in turn, will hand these down to our daughters.’ Jamílah placed her hands over her daughters’. ‘So it is done.’

Tears that had threatened at the edges of Qamar’s lashes now spilled down her cheeks, and she fell sobbing into her sister’s arms. Qirfah held her close, her chin resting on the top of Qamar’s head, her own tears wetting the dark curls that lay against her.

[ July 22, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-21-2003, 02:45 PM   #108
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Jamílah and Briellah

Jamílah had left them sitting there in the muted light that filtered through the tent’s thin walls. There were things to be done before they faced the youngsters. Rituals to be observed to make the hunt favorable, to protect them from the darkness flowing from the west that seemed to swallow up all in its path. She caught herself, for one moment, desire flaring in her to see her daughter’s children grown, to step back into the comfort of her life. She shook her head at this fleeting temptation. Her daughters would soon be leaving, to the safety of the lands from which she’d come. They would carry her on in their hearts as she had carried her mother. The tribe and clan would be safe and prosper. Her footsteps now moved in another direction.

Her last stop for the day was to see Briellah. Her tent had been taken down, and all was packed away, except a small, oil stove which held the kettle for hot water. ‘Come, my friend, have one last cup with me, before we must leave.’ Briellah rolled out a nearby mat on the ground and the two sat down content to be in the quiet of each other’s company, as they sipped their coffee.

It was Briellah who broke the silence, giving her friend the chance to voice her request. ‘What is it you wish of me, Jamílah. Ask, and it is yours.’

‘I will stay here with the other Elders to join in the hunt.’ Briellah nodded her head at this. ‘The old ways must stand against this darkness that comes against us.’ She put her hand on Briellah’s arm. ‘I will not return to the east to be with my family. I have seen the signs for this growing daily in the bones I cast.’ Briellah’s face grew grave, expecting these words, but not wanting to fully accept them. Still she made no comment to deny the truth of Jamílah’s statement.

‘Watch after my daughters and their children, Briellah. Lend them your strength and your wisdom when they need it. Will you do that for me?’

Briellah took Jamílah’s hand and laid it against her cheek. ‘You know if I thought it possible I would talk you out of this. Look at us! We are growing old. We should not have to think of these dark things. Our thoughts should be turned to our children’s children. And how we will sit, toothless old crones, our bones creaking on the mat, as we cackle over ripe gossip and suck on the sweets our grandsons will bribe us with to tell them the old stories of their fathers.’ Her voice broke, and she turned away for a moment, wiping her eyes on the hem of her scarf. She kissed Jamílah’s palm and placed it against her heart. ‘They will be my daughters. My tent will be their tent. I will stand in your stead.’

They sat for a while, finishing their drink in silence. Then Jamílah rose as did Briellah, and embraced her friend a last time. ‘Thank you,’ she said simply, her voice fading as she walked away.

[ July 21, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-21-2003, 02:46 PM   #109
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Ealasaid's post

BRIELLAH and AHMAD

Briellah watched as Jamilah walked away, fighting against the feeling in her heart that she would never see her old friend again. As Jamilah disappeared into the bustle of the breaking camp, Briellah turned her attention back to matters at hand. The stove would have to be packed. Shushila and poor Chani were both veiled and ready to travel. All that was left were the final goodbyes. She had already spoken with her husband, Ishak. He had gone now to the tent, which would henceforth serve as both his lodging and his headquarters. Only her son was left.

Ahmad had worked hard through the majority of the afternoon to pack up Briellah’s belongings and those of his sisters. When Jamilah had arrived for their final talk, she had sent him away on a errand to his aunt in the Grass clan, but now she could see his tall figure returning. Watching him approach, she fingered the vial in her pocket. Jamilah had given it to her some days earlier, before her daughter had been maimed, before the little children of both tribes had been eviscerated and hung like slaughtered game from that tree. She would give it to him, she decided, as she walked forward to meet him. Perhaps she could not save him, but she would help him as much as she could.

Thinking back, she remembered how Ahmad had always been a joy, a good boy, even as a baby, the pride of her life. As a young boy, he had been a mischievous lad, bright and diffident. Now, watching him make his way through the camp, she saw the man he had become. He was strong-featured like his father, but taller, with the same air of leadership. All his life, he had been groomed to succeed his father as the head man of the Painted Sand tribe, but it had been at a cost. His father treated him more as a captain of the guard than as a son. And Ahmad responded in kind, taking orders and carrying out his duties emotionlessly, but the streak of rebellion remained. She saw that in his refusal to take a bride, his stubborn insistence on taking his turn watching after the tribal horses, and in riding side by side with his cousins into battle, rather than leading the women and children into flight.

Reaching him, Briellah embraced him and, drawing his face down to hers, kissed each of his bearded cheeks. “Come,” she said, gesturing to the two mats she had earlier laid out for herself and Jamilah. “Sit with me awhile. We should talk before I go.”

Ahmad smiled and kissed the top of her head. “I would love to, mother, but time grows short. You should be going. Are Chani and Shushu ready?”

She nodded. “Yes, I sent them on with Tamira. They wait for me with the others.”

He looked around at the stove and the mats still open on the ground. “These things should have been packed hours ago.” He walked over and began to roll up the mats. Briellah watched him with tears rising in her eyes.

“Leave the stove,” she said abruptly. When he looked over at her in surprise, she nodded. “Leave it. You or your father may need it.”

He opened his mouth to argue, but she shushed him with a gesture. “Besides,” she finished softly. “It’s still too hot to bother with. I have another stove. Now, if you can’t sit with me, at least walk with me a ways. I am still your mother.”

Tucking the two mats under his arm, Ahmad retrieved his mother’s horse from its tether a short distance away and helped her into the saddle. Once she was settled, he lashed the two mats to the back of the saddle. Briellah caught his hand and pushed the vial she had gotten from Jamilah into his palm. Closing his fingers around it, she said, “This was a gift from Jamilah. She told me to use it cautiously. I choose instead to pass it on to you. It is a poison from the tree toad of the south. Do not let it touch your skin, but dip your blades lightly in it. It will paralyze and stop the heart of your foe.”

Ahmad opened his hand and looked at the clay bottle with its cork stopper. When he looked back at his mother, she smiled. “I can no longer protect you as I did when you were a child. I cannot stop you from fighting at the side of your father if that is what you wish to do. But I can give you what aid I have at my disposal. Use it well.”

She laid her hand by the side of his face. “You are a good son. I will be waiting by the shore of the inland sea.” With that, she chucked to the horse and rode away, feeling as though her heart had been torn.

[ July 23, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-21-2003, 02:46 PM   #110
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

The women and children and their necessary possessions were packed and stowed on the horses. It was night now, and many men from both tribes were saying farewell to their families. The sounds of sadness filled the air, as the women and children mounted up, surrounded by a band of armed warriors. There were last minute embraces, and tears shed, and promises made that each hoped would be fulfilled.

Husam kissed Qirfah’s cheek as he helped her to the saddle; then hugged his children and kissed the tops of their heads as he handed them up to her. Their little hands reached down for him, and he kissed their fingertips, telling them of the new sights they would see with their mother. When he looked up, he could see Qirfah’s gaze go to one who stood at the far edge of the crowd. She turned back to Husam, her eyes filled with such sadness that his heart broke at the sight of it. ‘Take care of the precious little ones,’ he told her as he kissed her finger tips and faded into the throng.

Then they were off, moving swiftly eastward into the starred darkness of the desert night.

[ July 21, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-21-2003, 02:54 PM   #111
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
piosenniel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
Posts: 7,815
piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Sting

Jamílah and Husam

‘Come, little Mother,’ said Husam, putting his arm about her shoulders. Nasr and I are going to the meeting in Ishak’s tent. The young ones’ camp has been found and we must make a plan to set upon them.’ Jamílah leaned against him, feeling suddenly old. ‘I promised Qirfah I would look after you.’ She started to protest, but he went on. ‘As did Nasr promise Qamar.’ He laughed grimly. ‘No use to fight us. There will be foes aplenty to spend your strength on.’

The meeting was short. Their camp had been found, but the youngsters were on the move, it seemed - west. They would have to ride quickly if they were to engage them before they met the army of the Eye.
__________________
Eldest, that’s what I am . . . I knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
piosenniel is offline  
Old 07-22-2003, 04:48 PM   #112
Lyra Greenleaf
The Diaphanous Dryad
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: R toL: 531, past the wild path
Posts: 1,180
Lyra Greenleaf has just left Hobbiton.
Silmaril

Essenia

Essenia did not know she was no longer alone in her tent until a voice spoke to her. Wheeling around, her heart beating fast, she saw Rahvin.
"I have instructions from Sevora" he repeated again, calmly.
Essenia nodded, watching his face and willing herself to calmness. Here was a man who made her feel emotional in comparison- and that would not be true of many people.

"Sammael and Zasfal are to be punished for the incident in the night"
Essenia nodded again, impatient. That had nothing to do with her, surely?

"They are attatched to the cart. You will take care of them. They are not to eat, but water will be necessary a few times during the day. Sevora wants no more deaths. You will walk with them, assure they live, and make sure they know that the minimum is all they will get. All wrongs will be punished in time."

With that, he turned and left the tent. essenia had to bite her lip to stop herself yelling in frustration. This was punishment to her, of course. That last sentence was meant for her ears- Sevora finally had her chance to take revenge for the fiasco in the village. And hadn't she found the perfect way? Beatings would mean little to Essenia, just as everything else that happened to her body seemed disconnected from her true being. This- a punishment for her head- was the ideal. She felt a grudging respect for the priestess.

***************************

Sammael

Sammael groaned. This would truly be a day of punishment. Walking behind the cart was all very well- unpleasant but bearable- having to do it next to Zasfal was little short of torture. He had already started to complain, protesting his innocence and blaming Sammael for his ills. Sammael grinned at him in a parody of good humour.
"There was a simple solution, Zasfal. Had you remained instead of running with your tail between your legs, I would have killed you too and you would have had no punishment. You would be the late-" he paused consideringly "perhaps lamented- you have a mother, do you not?- Zasfal, and your spirit would have had the satisfaction of seeing me doubly punished."
Thankfully a combination of outrage, fury and hatred shut Zasfal up. Sammael was just about to breathe a sigh of relief, when the refrain began again. Sammael decided to try and ignore it.

Gnashing his teeth he turned to Damodred who was standing with Sammael's weapons to his other side. He smiled thinly at him, and the tribesman with him.
"No need to say anything- "I told you so" would not be suitable since you didn't."
Damodred grinned back.
"I'll leave you with your friend, shall I?" he asked, nodding at Zasfal.
He's enjoying this! Sammael thought with a groan. Probably thinks it's exactly what I need to knock some sense into me.
"Yes, you go," he answered with mock resignation. "There's no reason for us both to suffer."

Damodred began to answer, but was interrupted by the call to move out. He merely patted Sammael on the back and left. The cart began to move with a jerk, and Sammael felt his shoulder joints click as he was pulled along. It was hard to stay on his feet. Zasfal tripped and cursed as he was pulled up again. Sighing, Sammael resigned himself to a very long day.

Sammael was startled to see Essenia come up to walk alongside him, a metre or so distant, but clearly meaning to remain there. He stared, and she must have felt something since she turned to glare at him. Sammael looked forward again, worried of falling over his feet.
No doubt she wants to see me punished, he thought grimly, and determined not to give her the pleasure.

"I knew it was just a matter of time" he said with a wink.
She regarded him blankly.
"My charm never fails" he continued. "Although I have to admit you had me doubting. Well, I'm a little tied up at the moment as you can see- but I should have the use of my hands back tonight."
Still she kept silent.

Determined to crack her, if only to find out what she was doing, Sammael kept up his patter for the next few minutes.
"Believe me, it wasn't my idea!" she finally snapped, eyes flashing.
So there is a little passion in there! Sammael thought exultantly.
"So why are you honouring me with your presence?" he asked curiously.
"Orders" she answered, again a block of ice under the desert sun. "I have to give you water when it looks like you're dying"

"How thoughtful" Sammael answered sarcastically.
So she's being punished too he thought with interest. Perhaps this day will have it's distractions after all...
__________________
“Sylphs of the forest,” I whispered. “Spirits of oak, beech and ash. Dryads of Rowan and hazel, hear us. You who have guided and guarded our every footstep, you who have sheltered our growth, we honour you."
the Forbidden Link
Lyra Greenleaf is offline  
Old 07-22-2003, 10:22 PM   #113
Ealasaid
Wight
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: under a large pile of dirt & gravel
Posts: 193
Ealasaid has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

The crowd in Ishak’s tent had swollen to such a number that many of the warriors and hunters of both tribes who had elected to stay spilled outside into the darkness. Adhem and the other three members of the scouting party had arrived back with news of the movement of the young ones’ camp toward the west. The meeting was brief. The warriors of the combined tribes were to ride through the night and attack at dawn. The ghost children were to be destroyed before they ever reached the priestess or her army.

As the warriors rode westward into the moonlit night, Ahmad found himself in a group that included his cousins, Adhem and Yusef. Adhem rode easily, his reins in one hand, his other hand resting casually on his thigh or the hilt of his sword. Yusef, on the other hand, had pulled the tail of his head shawl up to conceal the lower portion of his face, even though it was a windless night, and rode with a studied determination, his eyes fixed on the western horizon. Ahmad attempted to speak to him a few times, but finally gave up and let his horse fall a few paces behind Yusef’s. He stood up his stirrups. Looking back, he could just make out the shapes of Husam, Nasr, and Jamilah some distance behind. Remembering his promise to Qirfah, he was determined to keep them in his sight.

The riders arrived at the old campsite, the one where they had found Chani, well before dawn. It had been deserted long before. They wasted little time there and were quickly underway again, riding due west.

Adhem’s horse fell into pace beside Ahmad’s. “Their new camp was barely a half day’s march from here,” he told Ahmad. “On horseback, it will be but an hour or so.” But, when the riders came to the place where the scouts had sighted the young ones earlier in the day, they found the site deserted. As the first rosy fingers of light caressed the eastern sky, the riders came to a stop. Nothing remained of the camp but swaying grasses and a few cold fire circles. Ahmad watched as the trackers from both tribes dismounted to study the ground. He edged his horse closer to Adhem’s.

“They must have seen us,” Adhem muttered. “How? We were sure we passed unseen.”

Ahmad shook his head, remembering the way Jasara had looked so distant, then spoken with such authority. She heard the voice of The Eye, just as Fouad had. Who knows what the Eye had told her. Frowning, he nodded to the west. “We know they’ve gone west. Why are we wasting time here?”

Adhem shrugged, but he, too, looked into the western darkness.
Ealasaid is offline  
Old 07-23-2003, 08:50 AM   #114
Nerindel
Spirited Weaver of Fates
 
Nerindel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: In an endless sea of dreams!
Posts: 827
Nerindel has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Nerindel Send a message via MSN to Nerindel Send a message via Yahoo to Nerindel
Sting

Zasfal still walked bound to the back of the cart he stumbled many times and complained constantly, more because it annoyed Sammael than anything else. He had expected this, no that's not true he had expected much worse, infact when Rahvin had entered his tent he had his weapons drawn in readiness, but the surprise at seeing Rahvin and not Ghurdan had caused him to lower his guard and Rahvin easily over powered him.

Zasfal watched his captains back as he walk ahead of them, his eyes narrowed as he squinted against the bright light of the sun reflecting of the desert floor, it looked to most that Zasfal drew malicious looks towards his captain, but infact Zasfal was puzzling over Ghurdans apparent leniency. Most who had wronged Ghurdan were not around to tell of it, yet both he and Sammael were to live, he could only assume that Ghurdan had been ordered not to kill them.

As he turned back to facing the back of the cart he saw Thorgom watching him, Zasfal regarded him with a questioning eye, he was thankful to the large warrior for the spray of water that had relieved his thirst earlier, second hand though it was. Though they were supposed to be receiving water, the warrior woman, Essenia seemed content to keep them waiting for it.

"So Thorgom are all the warriors of the tribes a like to you, or are you unique to your people ? He croaked, there was nothing but genuine interest in his voice. As they drew nearer their destination, Zasfal wondered what sort of resistance they would face and who better to ask than one who may have been there! he thought to himself.

As he asked Thorgom the question he saw that other were also was interested to hear what the tribes man had to say, both Sammael and Essenia turned to listen.

[ July 23, 2003: Message edited by: Nerindel ]
__________________
"Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live" ~ Mark Twain.
Nerindel is offline  
Old 07-23-2003, 09:46 AM   #115
Arien
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Arien's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: London/Leeds UK
Posts: 419
Arien has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via MSN to Arien
Question

Dristi walked just behind Sevora again, the previous night had been an embarrassment and she had kept her sarcastic speech subdued thus far since her punishment. Her neck was still raw, the mark as Sevora had said a memory, a memory of her insolence. Dristi hated it, she had looked at herself the night before, her looks no longer perfect, she hated it, she hated Sevora. That smug smile that the woman now wore was almost unbearable as being hung, she walked with an air of conceit around her knowing what pain she had caused Dristi.

Her head hung, her hood covering her blackened hair, her feet delicately stepped along the ground. She could not take this anymore, she had lost count of how many days they had been travelling. It did not seem too long, but she could not remember. Why she ever said she would come on this escapade was beyond her, it would have benefited herself more to stay at the Citadel and fight and teach. She did none of that now, she had not killed for a few days and every time Sevora annoyed her she felt her hands reaching for her concealed knives. But she held herself back, self control is almost as powerful as attacking, but not quite. Sevora might just tip her over the edge and Dristi relished the idea.

Dristi’s eyes wondered far ahead, the sun blinded them with her light so they fell towards the floor again. And she kept walking her eyes now transfixed on the swaying of Naramarth’s robes. She sighed, if she did not fight or kill soon she would go mad. Her head hurt so much, it pounded and her neck still ached and the beating heat of the sun did not help matters.

“Sevora…” she whispered, her mouth drier than she thought.

“Yes?” she kept walking straight ahead but was intently listening to Dristi.

“How far?”

“Why are you getting tired, is your neck aching?” she said, laughter in her voice.

“No,” scowled Dristi, “ I hunger to kill, and if I don’t soon….”

“Calm down,” she sighed, still walking. She was now level with Dristi. “not long, don’t worry you are not the only one.” Dristi wondered at what Sevora had meant, she knew very well she was not the only one.

“Sevora…”

“Yes Dristi I am listening…” she said exasperatedly.

Dristi’s eyes narrowed with anger, though Sevora could not see them in the shroud of her hood, “ If we are to get these converts, we can not seem as though we are fighting. It seems weak, and it is not just us,” she motioned behind them.

“So you are smarter than you look?” Sevora smiled, “ of course I knew this, we will appear friend to the converts when we meet them. And only when we meet them. No other time.”

Dristi had clutched her knife tight under her robes. She was not the only arrogant one here now. How date she think that she wanted to be…be her friend! To full of herself…she would pay.
__________________
"...still, we lay under the emptiness and drifted slowly outward, and somewhere in the wilderness we found salvation scratched into the earth like a message."
Arien is offline  
Old 07-24-2003, 09:34 PM   #116
Aylwen Dreamsong
The Melody of Misery
 
Aylwen Dreamsong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: The Island of Conclusions (You get there by jumping!)...
Posts: 1,162
Aylwen Dreamsong has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

The children and young moved quickly. They never stayed in one encampment for more than a few hours to half a day. Jasara knew what was following them and how close they were. She dared not tell anyone but the other leaders how frighteningly near the elders of the Painted Sand and Baobab tribes were coming. The elders came too close for comfort on several occasions. It was then that Jasara let Najah take over and get the young really moving at almost a jog.

Jasara began to fear her own ideas and doubt her judgment. She was no longerin control of her mind. But Jasara had come too far to back down, and for some unknown reason she still wanted to prove to whatever was inside of her that she could handle it all. She wanted to prove it to the elders, too. More than anything Jasara wanted to change what the elders thought, and show them that they underestimate their young.

The Eye's perfect plan was unfolding through Jasara, and it was visible and audible in every move and every run the young made to narrowly avoid the elders. The young were in far too much of a hurry to cover up their tracks well, but that would become necessary at some point. But that point had not come yet. Jasara was told and knew exactly when, where, and what to do by whatever haunted her.

Relax, Jasara. Run with ease, be carefree. Your time of ultimate power will come. Your proof will be shown to the elders in their last breaths as they die before you and the Eye that has chosen you...Jasara heard the hissed words, though she learned long ago that listening was wrong. The words were always ringing in her ears and lindered in her mind.

"Uri!" Jasara shouted above the din of the young packing up from another temporary camp. It was time to cover their tracks. The voice had shown Jasara how in a vision, and all would be well. It was false hope that Jasara had lost faith in long before, but it had to do for the time being.

Uri jogged against the wave of children moving west. Khasia was leading them now, hollering out orders that echoed the ones Jasara or Najah had originally given her. Uri was stained with dust and sand, his dark hair was sweat-soaked and plastered to his forward in every direction as he reached Jasara.

"We need to pause for a moment. We need to get the elders off our tracks. What we do is split up for only about a half mile. Khasia, Najah, and Nasir will take one group and take a more north-westerly route. You and I will take a more north or north-easterly route. Only for about a half mile. Then we'll take reeds or something to cover the tracks once we establish to the elders that the group has split," Jasara explained, finding the most complicated and yet simple way to tell Uri her vision. Uri blinked at Jasara, then nodded slowly.

"So, in a nutshell: We pretend to split up, giving the elders a choice to make and two fake trails. Then we meet back up at about a half mile west?" Uri simplified perfectly, sending Jasara into momentary self-pity and wonderment at why Uri had not been chosen by the Eye. Jasara nodded her reply and Uri immediately went off to tell Khasia, Najah, and Nasir.

The plan was under way quickly, for by then the young knew that this was no time to waste precious moments and seconds. Teenagers or young adults were appointed to cover the tracks as the groups made their fake trails. It had gone perfectly. Again. The Eye had never failed Jasara.

The groups met up as planned a half mile down and across their false pathways. Jasara felt relief course through her as she realized that they had bought precious time that would be of good use. Soon they would find the army; Jasara knew it.

"Khasia, when we find the army, I must speak with the priestess alone," Jasara whispered to her sister at one point down the short grasslands. The Eye had told Jasara who she would be meeting, it was all planned and ready. All Jasara had to do was prepare her people for it.

"No Jasara!" Khasia snapped angrily, causing her sister to lift a brow. What had come over her sister? "I will go with you! I've come too far now to be left behind just because of whatever voice you think is inside your head!"

Jasara frowned. Why was she even having this conversation with her sister? Khasia had no right to insult what had brought them this far in the first place. Nothing of the split would have occured if the Eye had never manifested itself in Jasara.

"I have not killed children and broken ties with my family for nothing. I would never have done any of this if I had not been truly called to do so. Speak unwisely against the Eye once more, if even in your sleep, and your fate will be that of the children hanging from the tree, sister or not." Jasara replied shortly.

She is power hungry. Nothing more. Let her go along with you and show her that she is not worthy or ready for being a decision maker...

Khasia was looking darkly at Jasara, about to protest. Jasara hesitated for only a split second, then thought better of it. Had not the Eye shown her the right way since it had first spoken to her?

"But very well. You may come along. Only you and me. We will talk to the priestess when we reach the Army. It will be soon, Khasia," Jasara added hurriedly, but then continued forward to lead the children.

[ July 26, 2003: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
__________________
...Come down now, they'll say. But everything looks perfect from far away - Come down now! But we'll stay.
Aylwen Dreamsong is offline  
Old 07-25-2003, 07:00 AM   #117
Helkahothion
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The inside of Legolas' lungs
Posts: 1,100
Helkahothion has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Helkahothion Send a message via AIM to Helkahothion
Eye

"So Thorgom are all the warriors of the tribes a like to you, or are you unique to your people?"

Thorgom sat on the back of the cart and raised an eyebrow. He looked at the younger man. He had obviously not been paying attention.

"They'd wish. I don't belong to those pathetic people. They argue over goats and tents and get mad if there neighbour has his home a few inches to their own. I left them a very, very long time ago. The warriors are proud people and I hope most of them will not convert. It will prove a nice adventure for us."

Zasfal stared at him, obviously confused. Thorgom did not care. Everywhere he went, he was pointed to the exit. People would stare at him or point at him, but never would they come up and talk to him. Except if they wanted him to do some dirty work. Thorgom was an exile of the world. This question had been the best thing he had in days, even tough he did not knew the intention behind it. But it was not mocking since the question seemed to satisfy Zasfal. The priestess' were stupid not to ask Thorgom about the camp.

Those cocky women think that they knew everything just because they are in favour with that eye of them. Thorgom thought. No pathetic dagger will take down one of the Haradrim. Only the bigger blade will have an effect. But they will find out their mistake once it is too late.

Thorgom looked to the side of Essenia and she looked back at him, just like all other people, with a mocking smile. Thorgom looked at her and started tapping his throwing axe against his shoe. She seemed to be annoyed by the fact that she was stuck with Zasfal and Sammael. It could have been worse; she could have been walking with that Ghurdan. And that would have been the biggest punishment of all. Thorgom jumped of the back of the cart and gave both Sammael and Zasfal a pat on the head.

"Don't loose it, the end of the day is near." He said while turning around and walking to the priestesses.

They had their hoods over their heads again, being their mysterious selves once more. Thorgom walked to Sevora and tapped her on the shoulder. The woman gave him a death glare and then looked back. Ignoring him. Oh how Thorgom wanted to smash her head to bits. He restrained himself and tapped her on the shoulder once more. Dristi squeezed her daggers to the fullest of the capacity, hoping that Sevora would give the order to kill Thorgom.

"What do you want now?" Sevora asked as if she was talking to a bug that kept flying on her shoulder.

"Well, seeing that we want to gather enough men for our cause, it would be wise to look as friends when we enter. And a band of armed men and two people bound behind a cart dying of hunger doesn't really look friendly now does it. I suggest that you think this over or consult someone that has a bit more experience with the people you are about to face. For that important priestess thing is not going to have as much effect against a village with armed forces."

Thorgom finished and did not give Sevora the chance for a sneering reply and was not in the mood to get laughed at either. So instead he immediately made a left turn and went back to the back of the cart were Essenia was now giving water to a dried out Zasfal. Thorgom shook his head over the fate of Zasfal.

"And she call's herself a priestess. All she has done is murder and hurt." Thorgom said loudly so that anyone who was interested in his words could hear it. He doubted anyone was.

[ July 25, 2003: Message edited by: Helkahothion ]
Helkahothion is offline  
Old 07-25-2003, 12:46 PM   #118
Lyra Greenleaf
The Diaphanous Dryad
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: R toL: 531, past the wild path
Posts: 1,180
Lyra Greenleaf has just left Hobbiton.
Silmaril

Sammael arched his back, trying to work out the kinks that being tied up for hours had created. Looking down at his arms, bare nearly to the elbows where his tunic had slipped back, he saw the unmistakable signs of sunburn beginning to show red. He groaned, remembering the only other time he got burned- the first time he had gone to sea with his father. Something to do with the glare of the sea, it had been agony. Desperately he tried to roll his shoulders and make the sleeves fall.

He almost felt Essenia's eyes on him and turned to see her regarding him, and raised an eyebrow quizzically.
"A little help?" he asked, unsure of her reaction.
It seemed she had understood what he wanted, because grudgingly she pushed his sleeves down to his wrists, holding her own arms high to make sure she didn't brush his skin.

Interesting...the ice-woman melts? he wondered.
"I have a terrible crick in my neck..." he said, winking at her.
With a sniff, she shot him a look full of daggers, and slowed her pace slightly so that she was again walking slightly behind him.
"Well, it was worth a try wasn't it?" he asked, turning to Zasfal and shrugging.
Zasfal just stared at him balefully.

"I don't think I'm particularly popular at the moment" Sammael told the back of the cart, the only thing he didn't expect to glare at him. "Even the old man has gone off!"
__________________
“Sylphs of the forest,” I whispered. “Spirits of oak, beech and ash. Dryads of Rowan and hazel, hear us. You who have guided and guarded our every footstep, you who have sheltered our growth, we honour you."
the Forbidden Link
Lyra Greenleaf is offline  
Old 07-25-2003, 02:35 PM   #119
Nerindel
Spirited Weaver of Fates
 
Nerindel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: In an endless sea of dreams!
Posts: 827
Nerindel has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Nerindel Send a message via MSN to Nerindel Send a message via Yahoo to Nerindel
Sting

"And she call's herself a priestess. All she has done is murder and hurt."

Ghurdan laughed darkly, fool does he not know that our dark master specialises in death and pain. But he will when the eye deems him unworthy and releases him from his service a cold dark voice echoed in his head. And you Ghurdan shall have the command you desire, Now go to Sevora and Do as she commands.

"Ghurdan" Sevora called sharply, still obviously angered by Thorgoms words. He quickened his pace to join her, "yes, oh loyal one to the eye" he grinned, she raised an Eyebrow as her suspicions about the sea captain grew in her mind, 'So he too is favoured by the Eye' she chuckled to herself wondering what promises their master had offered the sea captain.

"There is a village west of here that is loyal to the eye," Ghurdan nodded he knew of this village "take two others and go, recruit soldiers for our dark lords army," she ordered. As he turned to leave she whispered so that only he could hear "the tribal warriors already know of our coming!"

Ghurdan nodded knowing the source of her information, He looked at the warriors before him and decided to take Damodred and one of his crew. He respected the older man's self control and wisdom.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Lyra's Post

“Damodred”
Damodred turned with surprise at the sound of his name. Sammael surely hadn’t been let off his punishment? No, it was the Sea Captain, Ghurdan.
“Damodred, I want you to come with me. I understand you know this area?”
“Yes” Damodred replied uncertainly.
“Very well. I need to find a village which I understand is somewhere around here. We need reinforcements to fight the savages. You can show me the way.”
Oh can I indeed? Damodred thought privately. Would you talk to Sammael like this? Well perhaps you would, he recollected, but I have a feeling you think I'm just a useless old man anyway. Well, we shall see.
"I can show you the way, yes" he answered with little enthusiasm.

Luckily the village was not very far out of their way- only about 3 miles. The rest of the party continued their journey as Ghurdan, Damodred and one of Ghurdan's crew broke off over the sand dunes.

When they reached it they saw a dusty little desert town, slightly bigger than the last. At the sight of strangers, townspeople appeared, standing around egarding them or peeking out of doors and windows. Once they reached the central square, Ghurdan motioned to the crewman, who pulled a large bell from the bag he had slung over his shoulder. He rung it, twice then put it away and stood silent.

Curious townsfolk began to pack the little square, until Damodred estimated there were about 150 of them talking quietly.
"Friends before the Eye" Ghurdan began "I am here to tell you of an important mission. We are going to convert the heathen tribesmen of the South to the great Dark Religion. We call for your help as loyal subjects of the same master. You receive great freedom here, now it is time for you to repay your debt to the great Eye! Volunteers come and report to me."

Damodred looked up at him. That was a clever speech- the hint of a threat was inherent in the mention of their freedom. Yes, no doubt about it, Ghurdan had brains. But then, so did Sammael unlikely though that often seemed. Between the two of them, there was a good chance that this mission would go very well.

[ July 25, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
__________________
"Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live" ~ Mark Twain.
Nerindel is offline  
Old 07-25-2003, 03:01 PM   #120
Helkahothion
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The inside of Legolas' lungs
Posts: 1,100
Helkahothion has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Helkahothion Send a message via AIM to Helkahothion
Eye

"Look further than your crooked nose Master Sammael, for I am right in front of you." Thorgom said amused.

Sammael looked up and saw the man sitting a bit more to the front of the cart. Thorgom now stood up and went to the back. His legs hung down and Thorgom smiled. No one in punish was popular. There wasn't such a thing as popularity in this group. Nobody envied someone, although some soldiers were in awe with the priestess'. Thorgom smiled down at Sammael and Sammael looked back.

"What is it old man?"

"I tolled you so. As a leader you should be an example, what if the men would do exactly what you did, we would surely have a much smaller force now."

"Ohw shut up."

"Just a moment ago you were nagging about the lack of attention. You really should get your priorities straight. If you want me to talk, let me talk, if you don't tough luck, I'll talk anyway."

"Well then, it doesn't seem like I have much of a choice then do I?" Sammael said smiling.

Damodred was called off to lead the way to a village. It was dead obvious that he didn't completely know the way. But it was not very far so even a child could lead them. Thorgom was glad that they did not ask this of him. He was in no hurry to with Ghurdan and one of his stupid henchmen. They were all piece-by-piece empty minded, just following orders without question. That is the worse thing you can do. Thorgom looked around and saw nothing interesting. He went up to Sevora again and tapped her on the shoulder.

"What is it now?" Sevora snapped.

"Patience ohw blessed one, I was just wandering where captain Ghurdan was."

"That is none of your business, now go back in line." Dristi suddenly answered.

"I can answer for myself Dristi. But she is right old man, it is none of your business." Sevora said.

Dristi smiled at Thorgom as he walked passed her. Thorgom growled at her. In a reaction she reached for her dagger but Thorgom was already gone. He walked back to the cart and sat down again. Sammael and Zasfal were beginning to look very bad. The hunger was getting to them and neither of them spoke a word. Thorgom looked at Sammael with a very bad grimace on his face.

"What is it old man?" Sammael asked.

"Those two girls are getting on my nerve. None of my business, where my so-called leader is going is very well my business. I don't hope they are planning on something. We have enough scum as it is."

"Don't let it bother you old man, we need someone to cause annoyance to Sevora and Dristi. We need you." Sammael said with a wrangled smile.
Helkahothion is offline  
 

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:37 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.