Saturday, November 29, 2014

The law of the plains, chapter 6

(This is chapter 6 of the Law of the plains. In the previous chapter, Yahnee stumbled on a stopped wind train and Spirit Walked to it to understand the situation. There, elite warriors from Gond managed to repel the horde of morlocks thanks to their ability to shape  reality)

"Brother Yahnee. Fear. Pointy teeth. Fear. Pointy teeth. Fight. Brother Yahnee".

Wakaree's cry snapped Yahnee out of his fascination, sending him back to his body. Under him, he felt Wakaree's muscles shiver with tension. It was a mix of fear and aggression, the natural response of a horse confronted to a predator. Wakaree was well trained and was used to battle so his response was comparatively calm but Yahnee understood the danger immediately. The swift and sudden movements of the long grass leaves left no doubt to a seasoned hunter.

"Carnirats. Wakaree, you did good calling me." said Yahnee. The horse held his ears straight and slightly turned towards his rider, waiting for further instructions.

A sound behind them, a high pitched cry. Yahnee reached for his bow, but Wakaree was faster and with a stomp of his hindquarters he crushed the head of the first carnirat foolish enough to try to nip his legs. Yahnee let loose an arrow with a twang of the sinewy string of his bow and killed another. Carnirats where the other plague of the plains, animals the size of a big cat that lived in burrows and hunted in packs, inflicting hundreds of small wounds to preys much bigger than them with their razor sharp teeth. The Nʉmʉ hated them with a passion and destroyed any nest they encountered. Like the morlocks, they were fearsome adversaries on their own, but they became really deadly in numbers. They could overwhelm any animal, even the towering kʉtsʉtoya, king of the plains. Fortunately, tonight, it was only a small pack. Yahnee let loose the war cry of the Nʉmʉ, a piercing, high pitched wailing sound that was so bone-chilling that even carnirats recoiled when they heard it. At this sound, Wakaree sprang forward. He trampled some of the rats and momentarily broke their ranks, but the small devils were soon to follow. They tried to nip at his heels again but Yahnee was faster and killed one after the other with well placed arrows. When finally he was out of ammunition, he grabbed his short lance, ready to skewer the closest rats. He did not have too, though, the rats stopped pursuing them: a prey that fought back this hard was not worth it.

Normally Yahnee would have turned back and killed the stragglers and every rat he could find, but he was alone, and alone, you just savored the victory of the day and did not push your luck too much. It was a small pack but more could be lurking around, too many for Yahnee to deal with maybe. The risk was not worth it. Thanks to his sharp vision, they retraced their steps, so that Yahnee could recover as many arrows as possible. Some he did not find, the wounded rats had probably crawled into a burrow to die.

His thoughts came back to the train and he wondered if it had managed to escape the horde of morlocks. He looked in the direction of the battle and was momentarily blinded by a huge explosion. He was many miles away, but he still felt the shock wave from this distance.

"Wakaree, I have to know what is going on." said Yahnee. "You be good my friend, be alert, carnirats are probably still near. You protect me, Wakaree. I'll be right back." The proud palomino was glistening with sweat. Wakaree did not manage to answer back, he was too excited, the pictures in his mind were too blurred. Still Yahnee was confident Wakaree would relax. He knew his partner well.

He closed his eyes and once again, imagined himself standing next to the train, imagined every detail of the scene, then pushed. His consciousness was displaced to that point and just like that, he was out of his body. Almost instantly, he was there, a few dozen feet in front of the locomotive, a ghost hovering above the smooth grass of the plains.

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