Somewhere in the Wastes
3 days ago
The small, wiry figure adjusted his grey cloak, pulling the hood further up to block the sun. His lips were parched, and his black, unkempt hair full of sand. With a slight limp he slid closer, his head on level with the dry bushes that covered this part of the desert. He had finally found her, the figure he had spotted on the horizon earlier. She had collapsed in the sand, her huge, muscular frame still twitching slightly. Five crossbow bolts were embedded in her back, and he quickly retrieved them, wiping off blood on his ragged cloak. The female mutant was twice as high as Ceres, and her arms were enormous. Earlier she had lost her weapon; a chain attached to a metal barrel, apparently a crude ball and chain, though he could barely imagine someone using the huge weapon. Ralkhara adjusted one of the black strips of cloth that covered his face, inhaling deeply as he did so. All of a sudden there was movement on the left shoulder of the beast, and Ralkhara noticed an eye there, blinking open then focusing on him. The right arm of the mutant jerked into action and all the nomad pathfinder could do was to hit the sand to avoid being crushed, and then roll quickly sideways and out of reach. The Troll, as mutants like this one were called, had several spasms, and then it stopped moving.
Ralkhara did not move over to make sure it was dead. He did not prod it with a stick, nor did he wait around to check if it moved again. Instead he limped hurriedly away, towards his motorbike. If there were others they would probably look for her, and he would do well to remove himself as far as he could from the beast before they found her.
Back at the Mountain Cabin
The shouting of Riv and the smell of breakfast woke the two concubines known as Hertha and Maliphene. Hertha was the first concubine of Abak Loett and her feminine charms were fading every year that passed. For a woman of her stature she was ancient, the very first that Abak fell in love with and, infatuated and smitten with love, nearly married. In the end his father had talked him to senses, for Hertha was a woman from a poor family and she would not make a strategically wise marriage. Thus she became his concubine instead and with time love and devotion turned to duty and routine, and Abak found younger arms to sleep in, and then yet another young woman. Eyeing Maliphene with an arrogant sneer, Hertha rose from her makeshift bed and made her way to the table.
“Mirshak uthan sinsiki!” she cried in the tongue of the eastern tribes, shaking her head while doing so. Ceres, the foul blood woman, had already seated. Never one to turn down a meal, eh, foul blood. But Hertha showed no of her contempt, instead the old woman smiled warmly to Ceres. “It is good to see you awake, Ceres. I trust you slept well”, her voice was warm and affectionate.
Maliphene looked at Hertha from the bed. Oh, how the old woman was bitter, and full of hate and envy, yet she hid it so well, in layers of sickening warmth and hospitality. Like having a serpent for pet. How she despises us all and secretly blames us for her lot in life. As for Maliphene herself, she had long since come to terms with her place. She even liked it, for did not master Loett provide for her well being and craved scant little in return? No. Maliphene would never become like Hertha, of that she was sure. And while the others ate, Maliphene brushed her hair and studied her appearance in a hand held mirror.
I wonder who this Riv is. He looks so strange, but it seems he is a friend of Kiph. Oh, where will you fit in I wonder. Are you a friend and an ally?