Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Law of the Plains, chapter 4

(This is the direct continuation of chapter 3 of "The Law of the Plains")

Wakaree, sensing his rider's anguish, reared with a deafening neigh.

"By the Eagle Spirit, Wakaree, hush, calm down, sorry I yelled, don't be afraid buddy" cajoled Yahnee, forgetting his own fear and stroking the shivering collar of his partner. Then, to himself, "Where do they come from? I did not see them coming, what trick of the evil spirits is it? How is it possible?"

He knew he had to leave, he had to report the attack to his tribe and get them moving, but curiosity got the best of him. He had to see what was happening, it was too strange. Besides, the Veronica was probably defended by Gond's famed elite warriors, men and women trained in the legendary Battle School, an institution that had instructed the best warriors that had ever walked on Yaghan. He could not get close though, not with Wakaree, it was too dangerous and it would be too slow anyway. So he decided to Spirit Walk instead.

"Wakaree, calm down, calm down..." he repeated to his horse. Then he gave him instructions in a language that the horse could understand: "Listen Wakaree: you protect me. Yahnee sprit walks now, Wakaree calls Yahnee if Wakaree is scared. Wakaree protects. Wakaree protects. Wakaree calls Yahnee if Wakaree is scared. Tell me what you will do now."

Wakaree neighed his understanding and said telepathically "Good. Wakaree protects brother Yahnee. Wakaree protects. Wakaree scared, Wakaree says 'brother Yahnee'. Good. Wakaree protects. Good. Happy."
He was a battle horse, having clear instructions gave him purpose which in turn helped him to calm down. Yahnee relaxed a bit. He was so proud of his partner. They had grown up together and loved each other like siblings, despite being different species. It felt good, in the uncertainty of the night, to know that he could rely on the proud palomino and trust him with his life.

Spirit Walking was his second Gift, one that often came with the Eyes because they complemented each other perfectly. Any shaman could spirit walk, but all they could see was the spirit world, a reflection of our own where emotions held more significance than matter. It was different from what Yahnee was doing: people like him that spirit walked to something within their real line of sight saw it as if they were really there, like ghostly observers. Even weirder, they kept that clarity even if they went out of sight behind the object they were watching. Magic wasn't completely coherent or if it was, humans did not understand everything. Of course, all this meant very little to Yahnee. He only knew he could do it and how and that was enough for him. He took a deep breath, then took a good look at the scene of chaos that unfolded in the distance. Then he closed his eyes and imagined he was actually looking at it from a hundred yards away, as if he was standing not far from the Veronica. When he had a clear picture in his mind's eye, he displaced his conscience there.

When he opened his ethereal eyes, Yahnee was in the thick of the action, on the right side of the middle of the Wind Train. A lot of the passengers were outside and the sails were furled which did not make sense at all. Passengers never went out of a train usually, even if it stopped for a little time, it was too dangerous for city dwellers. They had been caught by surprise by the morlocks' assault. A lot of them where obviously not warriors and despite being armed like every Yaghanite, their feeble attempts to defend themselves with their daggers were futile… They were like children waving toothpicks in front of a kʉstʉtoya: weak and powerless. Predictably, their stronger, more vicious enemies slaughtered them. Yahnee gasped in horror when a 8 foot tall morlock killed a woman with a single punch to the face. As she fell to the ground, another morlock snatched her. A fight broke out among several monsters over her dying body. A smaller pʉetʉyai, a dwarfish parody of a human being that walked on all fours like a dog, slithered with uncanny speed and caught a young man that was running for the Veronica's nearest hatch. The disgusting, vile monster bit the poor lad's ankle, tripped him, crawled over his back in a heartbeat and bit his prey right at the base of the neck, killing him instantly. Then he started devouring the boy like a hyena eating carrion when other morlocks caught up with him. Again, as with the woman moments before, they started to fight for their prize. Sadly, this infighting was not enough and the vast majority of the morlocks kept coming at the humans.

Yahnee was a pure spirit, disconnected from his body's sensations, but even then, he felt like he was going to be sick. The young Nʉmʉ warrior had seen battles before, had fought against morlocks before, had seen people die even... But never a fight had been so uneven. He had never seen something as horrendous as those beasts dismembering the fallen to eat them right before his eyes. Yahnee was a brave, he faced the enemy resolutely, his lance and knife in hand… As a spirit, floating around the train, the invisible witness of the murder of innocent travelers, he feel desperately powerless. For the second time, he realized that he had to leave as fast as possible and tell his tribe to get moving. Given the severity of the threat, a few braves would then probably stay behind and bait the morlocks in the opposite direction. But he was stupefied, fascinated almost, by the drama that unfolded before his ethereal eyes.

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