Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Law of the Plains, chapter 13

This is chapter 13 of the Law of the plains. In the previous chapter, the tribe faced a huge horde of morlocks. According to the law of the plains, Kanaretah fled to try to save the tribe. Yahnee, his horse Wakaree, and the shaman Tabbaquena stayed behind to try to slow down the horde.)

Tabbaquena saw Wakaree and Yahnee rush at the kʉtsʉtoya. He knew that they were going to die, but he was happy in his heart that the kid would do so with honor, not petrified like a spineless city dweller.

He dismounted. His own horse was not nearly as gifted as Wakaree, he would not really realize his rider was dead, so the shaman slapped on his rump and sent it back to the rest of the herd. Maybe he would be able to save himself.

The horde was closing in. They were running fast, way too fast. The tribe would never be able to escape, loaded as they were. He had to buy them time. He prayed to his spirits and asked them to help him in this last fight. He got his drum out and started playing a beat, a mean and aggressive beat, the strongest beat he had in him. As he did so, he felt his spirits come to him and lend him their powers. He started feeling as if anything was possible and in some way it was true. He was a Friend of the Wind, like Towasi, but a much more powerful one. So he mustered all the power he had in him, all the power of the spirits that walked with him, and in a great display of will, he manifested the vision he had in his mind's eye, a great tornado that would sweep the morlocks aside.

The winds started to rise and howl and scream their rage at the blasphemous presence of the morlocks. The monsters were shoved aside, they tumbled and collided against each other. For an instant, the rushing line of monsters was disrupted and fights broke out in their ranks as the winds slammed the lightest into the bigger ones.

Tabbaquena saw the disruption he had caused and he was happy in his heart. Maybe he would manage to slow them down enough after all. Sadly, he would never know. All of a sudden a great tiredness overwhelmed him and he fell to his knees. Magic was very demanding, which made it a very dangerous thing. There was always a price to pay for shaping reality and the greater the feat, the greater it was.

Creating a tornado was a great feat indeed.

Tabbaquena felt blood drip down his nose and eyes. His vision blurred, the sounds were muffled. He could only hear his heart beat like a drum against his ears, he could only faintly see his companions rush at the gigantic animal in front of him.

Yahneequena and Wakaree crashed into the kʉtsʉtoya with all the force they could muster. They had years of hunting experience and at the last moment, Wakaree jumped aside, allowing his rider to stab the beast with his short lance.  Yahneequena knew he had only one chance. Normally hunters would wear down their prey with multiple stabs but he was alone. So he went for his only chance to drop the thing. He thrust his lance in the beast's nearest eye. It was a small target but he miraculously hit it with his weight and his horse's combined, with all their speed behind it. Such a powerful strike could skewer a man, it was powerful enough to go through bone and it did. The long leaf-shaped blade punctured the animal's eye as if it was not there, destroyed the eye socket behind it then finally lodged itself in the kʉtsʉ's brain.

Yahneequena would have yelled his victory but the force of the impact was too great. He rammed into his lance's shaft, broke a few ribs and was thrown to the ground. He tried to break his fall with one arm, but he was falling way too hard. The bone shattered and he crashed to the ground. Stunned and barely alive, his body in excruciating pain, he managed to lift his face from the earth and take a look at his enemy. The monstrous animal had been killed on the spot, its legs had buckled under it and it fell heavily. Its rider had not been thrown down however, despite the momentum. Yahnee's heart sank. He had hoped he could have at least wounded him, but the only thing he had managed to do was to piss the  thing off.

The horde was still closing in. The morlock leader let himself down his mount, sliding almost gracefully to the earth. He started walking towards Yahnee, a burning rage lighting the strange golden rings that circled his eyes. He was almost over the young warrior when a massive gust of wind sent him to his knees, his face right next to Yahnee's. The young Nʉmʉ laughed and spat blood to the face of his enemy. "Our shaman is stronger than you, demon!", he croaked.

The morlock rose, standing his ground against the raging winds. He turned towards Tabbaquena and did a sweeping motion with his arm, growling.

"No."

To Yahnee's horror, the winds died down. He coughed more blood and screamed "What are you, monster?".

He had never heard a morlock say a single word before. They were supposed to be barely more clever than a horse! Then he started to realize. "We never had a chance, had we?"
"No." said the lipless morlock once more in his strange guttural voice. He started walking towards Yahnee again. Around them, the horde was surging, but it was avoiding its leader and circled around him like water flowing around a rock. The strange morlock grabbed his black sword ("morlocks never had their own sword" thought Yahnee frantically) and lifted it, point down, poised to plunge it in the boy's body.

A deafening neigh forced him to recoil by a step or two. Wakaree had turned around and had come back to protect his brother. He reared, trying to strike the comparatively small morlock with his hooves. Their enemy was too fast, way to fast. He moved back, just enough to avoid the deadly strike and as Wakaree's forequarters touched the ground, the dark creature ran toward him, jumped and landed a massive blow on the side of the horse's head. Wakaree fell down like a rock, his legs twitching in agony.

"No!" screamed Yahnee. "No, Wakaree, no!" +

He did not grieve for long. The morlock drove his sword in the young brave's heart, then pulled it out.

Yahneequena fell flat on his back. In his last moments, as his life poured out of his chest, he tried to turn around, reaching for and almost touching his brother's mane. "Brother Wakaree, I love you." he had the strength to tell his friend. "Brother Yahnee. Happy." answered the horse weakly. Then they were both gone.

Tabbaquena the shaman saw the amazing strike landed by Yahnee on the morlock's mount. It was his last sight. His spirit had put all its energy into this last magical act and he had none left to keep on living, so he died, like a candle blown by the wind. He died proud of his fellow tribesman and though he never knew it, him and Yahnee died as warriors, their back away from the enemy. He was on his knees but he was still gripping his lance and pointing it towards his foes, as it should be.

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