Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The law of the plains, chapter 9

(This is chapter 9 of the Law of the plains. In the previous chapter, the tribe received Wakaree's cry for help and sent a search party to rescue him and his rider Yahnee, unconscious after a morlocks attack.

I have to apologize for the wait, but unforeseen events have stalled me quite a bit. I should be able to post on a more consistent schedule now.)

The departing braves left around fifty people behind them. A dozen of them were children, two dozens were warriors, and the rest were non-combatants and elderly people. Non-combatants actually was not really the word for it : most people on Yaghan were trained to fight the ever-present menace of the morlocks, and the people of the Nʉmʉ tribes even more so since they lived in the plains without walls to protect them. Suffice it to say that hunting and fighting was just not their primary occupations. 

They all started packing the camp, a task they were supremely efficient at. Their very survival depended on their ability to outwit and outrun the morlocks as soon as they detected them. Usually a party of braves would attract the attention of the monsters and lead them away from camp while the rest of the band fled in the opposite direction. The incredible eyesight of some braves, the Gift they called the Eyes of the Eagle, was a great asset to coordinate such tactics. The fact that they were way more mobile than the morlocks thanks to their superior horsemanship also helped, of course.

It was a dangerous way of life still, one which depended on everybody's ability to work together. The tipis were easy to disassemble and their long poles were loaded on sturdy little chariots that were pulled by tough carthorses. Horses were the pride of the Nʉmʉ. The telepathic ability displayed by some of their horses enhanced their abilities to a supernatural level, as man and mount acted together as if they only had one mind. There was more than five horses for each human, all bred for various purposes. Some were tough workhorses, some were very fast, some were tall and proud steeds that carried their riders fearlessly into battle. Herding so many animals was a daunting task, that was made easier thanks to the help of the Gifted ones as well as of the many big Gifted dogs that were the other companions of the people of the Plains.

Very soon, everything was packed in woven baskets and ready to load on spare horses at a moment's notice. The fires were put out, the chariots filled to the brim and harnessed to their puller. Then started the worst part of the lives of the Nʉmʉ. The wait.

Everybody knew that in everything were morlocks were involved, death was not very far away. They all had lost somebody, a parent, a friend, a fellow tribesman or an horse to this scourge of humanity. Even with the best organization, even with the best horses, spears and warriors on their side, nothing was ever certain. Morlocks were a changing subspecies, they always evolved, always got stronger. In every encounter, there was always a new variation, with a new terrifying mutation. You could never completely be prepared and the only solution was to be ready to adapt as fast as possible, which was far from easy when fear clenched your gut.

A young woman drew out a little wooden flute and started playing softly. The drums were packed, and making too much noise was probably not a brilliant idea, so the people that joined her tapped with their palms against their chest or thighs. Manoeka, an elderly woman, started singing slowly an ancient tune, the  moon song. Maybe it would draw out Ebimʉa, the blue moon which was a benevolent presence in the skies, a symbol of good luck, to replace Epimʉa, that was known as Rust in Gond, and which was an ill omen. The soft song, even if it was not played loudly, warmed the heart of all the humans present. In turn, their Gifted four legged companions picked up on their mood and relaxed, which helped calm the other animals that did not share the Gift. The voice of the old singer was like a collective respiration, a deep breath that released the grip of fear on their hearts. Patiently, they waited.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey, don't be shy! Leave a comment, tell me what you liked, what you didn't like, and tell me your name :) I won't bite!