Week 311: Rage and Purpose

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Apr 3, 2020
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Word Count: 1201

“Tell us tern... Are you strong?”

The young soldier grimaced, holding himself still as the staring match between himself and the spurii man dragged on. His eyes watered as stinging sweat beaded down his face and into his eyes. He wasn’t nervous, he wasn’t frightened, he wasn’t some child to be glared down no matter how big the other guy was. He’d gone beyond that years ago.

“Before I answer, where is Caniir?” Kaizaell asked, his voice calm and even. Holding himself straight was taking alot of willpower. The statuesque man before him had tremendous presence and, as disarmed as he was currently, there was no doubt that they could easily kill him if he did the wrong thing. “Where is my partner?”

The trio were before him, glaring down at him. He could feel something slithering up his leg but refused to look down, to be distracted. Staring up at them he could see the old woman staring at him with, what he’d assumed were, sightless eyes. She seemed intent, as if she were trying to appraise some object she’d found in the back stalls of a city, trying to make out if the pushy vendor was trying to fleece her or if she’d just found a true treasure.

“Buabh ámí,” the oldest fang said with a snap of her fingers, she turned towards the spurii woman that had guided him here. “Clitart clig ag”

The spurii girl bowed, then turned and stepped out of the yurt, allowing the flap to slap against the leather. The trio of elders continued to stare at the Sniper as he stood before them. He felt a shaking in his legs and resisted the urge to shake them out, or to stretch, or to sit. This was an important meeting and if they were to kill him he needed to be ready. The tent flap opened, allowing another bright flash of light before the darkness resumed again. The woman had returned with a pair of others who were carrying some kind of cloth gurney with a small feathered woman on it. She seemed like she was struggling to breath and was bathed in sweat. There was a small white cloth on her forehead. He reached out to her as the pair laid her down on the floor nearby. She cried out slightly as the rough floor made her body shift.

As Caniir’s body moved she the gray blanket that covered her slipped off slightly and, possibly for the first time, he saw the wound on her shoulder. Black tendrils seemed to be flowing from the bite wound and was slowly spreading and grasping deeper into her body. Anger rose within him and he had to stand up, to confront these monsters before him.

“Kaizaell...” the enlil’s weak voice said from the floor. He looked down and saw her eyes were opened slightly. Her pupils, at least what he could make of them, were dilated far too widely, and her body was flushed everywhere that was exposed. “You're safe... thank the... Serpent...”

Her voice was weakening in the end and she finally fell back into unconsciousness. He felt something inside of him writhe, anger he hadn’t felt in a long time rising up like a tidal wave. He’d never forgiven his family for abandoning him, never forgiven the adults of his village for leaving all of them alone in the harsh wastes, never forgiven himself for failing to save some of those children who hadn’t survived the cold or hunger they’d felt alone in the wild.

And now Kaizaell had to face another who he had failed to save.

“From what we have been told by Herryn,” the laicar man said, speaking for the first time. He seemed much more fluent in common than the rest of the people in camp. “You overcame challenges and survived an encounter with the garrow.”

The young man turned, looking at the trio before him. They had held him hostage, held Caniir away from him. Kept them separate and afraid. The relief he’d seen in her eyes told him what he’d needed to know. They hadn’t told her that they had also recovered him when they’d gone over the edge of the waterfall. She’d been kept alone in the darkness, and unlike him something was eating away at her slowly, making her suffer.

The anger flared again and he finally stood up before the elders.

“What do you want?” the young soldier asked coldly, his eyes flat and a dangerous tone creeping into his voice. He’d barely managed to grasp onto the anger rising up in him. If he attacked now there would be no one to protect Caniir.

“We wish an even trade,” the laicar elder said calmly, stepping forwards into the light in the center of the tent. He had sun darkened skin and grey colored hair, though his eyes were coal black. “If you want to save your partner, to keep her safe and healthy, we have a way to help. But we need you to do it.”

Kaizaell growled, taking a step forward before he heard a clinking noise behind him. He turned, keeping the elder in his line of sight to see the three who had guided him here raising their weapons, violence written clearly across their faces and in their eyes.

“If you can find another garrow beast we can concoct a medicine,” the laicar continued, seemingly unperturbed by the angry outburst from the younger man before him. “These beasts are crafty, using their skills to take the forms of those they consume. You are to find one and kill it. Bring us the heart of it, as well as a wild creature that you think represents your mate.”

“If you do this,” the giant spurii said, once again in his broken common. “We will... save.. Your mate from her fate...”

The young Sniper grimaced, his anger seething below the surface. They thought he could be controlled, how dare they? How DARE they?! He hadn’t done anything to deserve such treatment. He had done his best to save his partner, to save one of the few people he’d even dared to care about after he’d failed the others as a child.

Kaizaell looked down at Caniir, seeing her writhe for a moment, her breathing rough and a pained moan coming from her throat before she settled back down into her uneasy slumber. He deflated, a deep sadness welling up like a spring and smothering the hot anger he’d felt moments before. If he wanted to save her, this was probably the only way he could even begin to try.

“Where’s my gun?” he asked, purpose replacing passion in his eyes now. He saw the elders before him shift, then he turned towards the entrance and saw the scaled spurii woman stepping forwards and opening the yurt.

“Wren will lead you to your weapon,” the laicar said, smiling slightly now. “Return when you have finished your task.”

The young man stepped out into the light and towards his new goal, one last look back into the tent to see Caniir for what could be the final time before the flap covered the entrance again.


“His Mate, Bring her here."
 

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