NaNoWriMo: Posted November 26@10:45pm
Kalle and Toivo returned from Kupe’a Oraki exhausted. They sailed with the Roaring Fortes across the Far Sea on their Voyaging Canoe. The design of the canoe was specialized to handle the challenges the local winds and waters faired to Kupe’a Oraki. The distance between its long, narrow, double hulls generated stability. Each hull had an available sail. Compared to other boats the men sailed on the Roaring Fortes’s Voyaging Canoe could be quite fast while, when needed, capable of being paddled and sailed through rougher waters.
Without Bankim, they were the last members of Jaith’s crew. They hated each other and said little as the completed the transport of two abused women – a mother and her daughter. The women’s migration was very planned and very deliberate. Once set in motion, it was a four month process to complete. The man they escaped from thought the two had died in Lynthia. Kalle and Toivo smuggled the woman out of the city at varying times.
As the men returned home, the two women began new lives as a welcomed part of a new settlement on the northern island. The northern island’s people were still very tribal and primitive, but they were peaceful hunters, gatherers and growers. With Nom’s herbalism training the women were welcomed for their medical expertise.
Kalle had traveled from the tribe’s rolling farmlands up the island’s mountainous spine, which they followed to the sea. They slept some as the sailed the Far Sea then took to foot again on the mainland. They wanted to make it to Cureland before nightfall and spend a day relaxing with the natural hot springs there before regrouping their stabled horses.
Cureland was a clandestine hub of refuge and relaxation for any brave traveler that could withstand its peculiar smell of rotten eggs. Sunken mountains protected the majority of its side, although the nautical traveler could navigate in from those routes. At its main opening the terrain was wild and rugged. The land shifted, grinding into itself. Since the landscape outside of Cureland was gentle and sandy, many chose to follow its coastline. They missed out.
Toivo sat naked in a bubbling mud pool. He entertained a pair of women but paid particular attention to one, who sat on his lap while he braided her hair in a fashion Kalle rarely saw on anyone. Kalle preferred facial he received from the cloud of steam wafting from the natural hot spring.
The night’s traditional feast cooked in soil ovens while the local children gathered an older woman for the nightly Call of Welcome. She sang one word, three notes long. The local children responded like an echo then two left the group to gather any guest children. When the Call of Welcome finished the dinner line would form. Women and children would receive their meals first. The nightly Call ended when the last individual in line was kissed on the forehead by the older woman.
The formal procedure was too intimate for Kalle. He tended to pack food for his stay in Cureland.
With the night’s Call of Welcoming came an exorbitantly well-dressed boy. The child’s formal wear caught Kalle’s eye, reminding him of his youthful years in Port el’Reathsen. Never was he allowed to wear clothing of comfort. A young girl had been picked to leave the group and gather the visitor children; she immediately eyed this boy. He liked the attention.
His father…did not.
[I’ll need to make Zef’s age older. Also he’s Lord Protector of Ethantine, give him signature clothing]
The man stood closer to the back of the assembly and looked older than Kalle’s own father. His head was bald and his face was puffy, in contrast of his boy who had sharp, angular features. Kalle watched the boy again, the poor smitten boy. The girl pawed at his clothing, and he smiled coyly. The longer it went on, the more irritated his father appeared.
When the line started to form, the old man walked to his son. His every step thrusted forward, long and strong, and landed with the purpose of punishing the lad…or in the very least correcting his discomforting behavior.
Like Kalle, the family didn’t seem in making friends with the locals, who were uncommonly chatty. Kalle knew from experience that avoiding them actually took work and was never done without a reason.
Cureland morning always came too quickly. Kalle always overslept.
And Toivo was always missing.
Fed and packed, Kalle decided to see to the horses.
Ahriman ran his hand back and forth over the smooth portion of his bald head. He eyed his son who sat across from him without emotion or passion coursing through his veins. Ahriman wanted him emotionless, but he needed to spark a passion in the boy…or he’d be worthless.
Ahriman pinched the bridge of his button nose, its roundness reminding him that the boy wasn’t a child anymore. His sharp, angular features made his a very handsome young adult. One he’d use as a pawn to take control of Lynthia. His broad shoulders and chiseled jaw line controlled women with a certainty…he just needed Zef to control a certain one.
The Lynthian princess.
A heavy fist slammed against the carriage’s door. The sound of wood rattling on its hinges twice was a message signaling to Ahriman notice that they were close.
“You have a very important job today,” he reminded his son.
“I don’t really want to do this,” Zef said, staring at the carriage wall and not daring to look over at his father. This wasn’t his first murder. His lack of enthusiasm annoyed Ahriman.
“Nonsense,” Ahriman shouted, pounding his hand on his bench so hard one would never have guessed he sat on a thick pillow for comfort. “This is what power is! You have to make sacrifices for control.”
Zef locked his jaw. Ahriman knew his son wanted to argue more, but thought better of it. Why did he have to be like this? He lifted his heavy frame from the bench and pounced on his son, his hand roping around the boy’s neck and squeezing. His face snarled hot against Zef’s skin. Ahriman felt his son’s skin crawl under breath and spit. “If you cannot handle yourself the way a Lord’s son is expected, I’ll find someone who will. A funeral for one of your rank is cheap…if I’d even take the time to bother with your pathetic nature.”
Ahriman shook his son’s neck once hard and slammed his head against the back of the carriage wall. His lip knotted with his nose like an alpha dog’s. Zef’s face blotched red patches. His eyes rimmed red. Bisho’ur child had no idea what it meant to attain power. What one had to do to keep it.
The carriage slowed. Ahriman stood and whipped the door open.
A moonless, starless night greeted him. Lynthian sand started to thicken on the land below, and the Lynthian Royal Carriage prepared a fire to make dinner and keep the predators away.
Flames weren’t enough to deter Ahriman nor was Ahriman naïve enough to start his own fire when the evening’s black veil cloaked his presence so perfectly.
They waited, unmoving and silent as the King and Queen went about their evening routine. When the campfire’s flickers lowered from not being tended to, Ahriman’s men distributed their weapons. Most preferred a set of one-handed maces. One man preferred the close ranged daggers. One preferred the heavy hitting bash of a heavy two-handed mace. Ahriman had no trouble piercing a long sword through the chest of a sleeping King and Queen, especially the pair who promoted him to the position of Lord Protector of Ethantine.
He turned and handed his son his old sword. Zef looked at the blade then slowly raised his eyes to his father without lifting his chin or moving a muscle. “I don’t want your sword.”
“I don’t want it,” he shouted louder.
Ahriman snarled, stepping up to his son again and forcing the weapon into his hand. “Shut your mouth, boy. Whether you push this blade through skin or not you have blood on your hands. Now, order the attack.”
Zef glared at his father, his face a spitting image of Ahriman’s older brother’s back in the day.
“No,” the boy snarled.
Ahriman’s free hand whisked to his belt to unsnap his dagger, pulled it and stabbed his son.
Zef wailed in pain, his hands raising protectively to his wound.
Ahriman pulled the dagger away and eyed his men. They didn’t move.
“You heard the boy…attack!”
Kalle and Toivo’s reactions illustrated the extremes. Kalle – who had witnessed death before – stared silently as an unknown force attacked Lynthia’s Royal Carriage. Two men slept on the carriage’s topside with the luggage. Kalle heard the sound of skulls striking the rugged ground. The horses whinnied. On the ground, Kalle heard bones being crushed by the attackers’ blunt weapons. He heard Toivo screaming…dimly aware that he was screaming at Kalle, insisting they do something.
All those men.
“There’s a boy!” Toivo hollered.
Kalle knew that many people reacted the way Toivo did, with an explosion of emotion. He also knew that many dissociated like he had, but he wasn’t trying to self-protect himself. For whatever reason, images of his sister’s death returned to his mind like he was dreaming while wide awake.
Both reactions were dangerous – react or freeze.
Both reactions could get them killed.
Then the Queen screamed. She was a good woman, as kind as Kalle sister was with an artistic hand just like she had. And a wail of pain that sounded just like his sister’s too.
“Yeehaw,” Kalle clicked, kicking his horse’s shanks. The horse galloped toward the Royal Carriage. Toivo responded and followed.
Profound, irrational guilt is an extremely common reaction after a traumatic event, Kalle reminded himself just as he had after helping his sister die. He’d told himself that a dozen times over the years, as various situation invoked flashbacks to that day.
The two men pulled out their weapons, rushing by and slicing body parts of three of the attackers.
Zef stood at the carriage, his hand on his stab wound. His own father stabbed him, while not deep or endangering…Zef bled. He kept pulling his hand away expecting for the warm sticky blood to not be there, as if he had dreamed what was happening. Every time the blood was still there. After the fourth time of looking at his hand, Zef ripped his clothing and secured a strip of it against to the wound. His father and his father’s men swung weapons, attacking each other for the prize kills. Zef staggered slowing toward them although he wasn’t sure why. He wasn’t going to stop them.
But the closer he got to the gruesome acts, the more vivid the details of the slaughtering, the more quickly the perverted ideas came into his head.
His father promised him a wife if he killed the Lynthian King and Queen.
What other choice did he have?
The way things look and the ways things are are very different –Zef’s dad
WORD COUNT: 1868
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m excited to say that my daughter, Reese, played a role in working out tonight (and probably tomorrow night’s) word count. I needed to kill off Kalle and Toivo and asked both kids on a car trip how they thought it should be done. Reese wanted them killed together in a car accident. Well Atala doesn’t have any cars – carriages are the closest thing. I loved the idea of the two dying together since they have such a hatred for one another. So this is the start of that scene.
Copyright ©2010-2014 by Kristine A. Strauss, Amara SuraShakta. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Text, graphics, and HTML code are protected by US and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission.