Tuesday, November 08, 2005

15000 Words 3300 Today

Chapter Seven: The Blood Stained Pacifist

The celebration was in full swing, the members of the trading caravan were dancing side by side around a great fire. Stocks of wood that had been imported and purchased from far to the east were thrown into the great inferno. Not all danced, played, and drank. The fire, though a luxury, was not to be a complete waste and great stocks of food were smoked and stewed over it. The scant few that knew how played passionately on their instruments, others beat on skins stretched over pots to the time of the music, and still others danced, sang out from their hearts, and made love out of the sight of the ever-invasive light from the fire.
Among those brothers who played instruments there was a young man with a strong back and many bruises. His skin, visible as his cloak was cast aside in the night and in the passions of the music, was a dark shade of brown from the sun, though his hair was almost white from being bleached so blonde by the unforgiving sun during his broad travels. Dark on his back, even standing out from his dark skin was the black of his fading name, an empty circle, like a name that is not a name.
His fingers danced over the holes of the small pipe with a fury and the notes that flew from it were like pips and whistles that would lift the feat of every dancer. With cheeks puffed and eyes closed the light of the fire shone off his forehead in the glistening shimmer of the sweat from his passionate exertion. Women danced close to him and he opened his eyes and danced with them, singing when he would put his pipe to the side and drink with the rest of the tribe. Nameless though he was, he competed with the best of the tribe for the temporary affections and attention of the beautiful women and the notice of the elders and for the pure thrill of competition.
All through the day there had been sparing between the youth, games of strategy, games of strength, dexterity, wit, timing, and even good old-fashioned fighting. Though not present at the evening’s celebration, the young man’s teacher had been present all day long for both days advising and encouraging.
Not quite the best in every event, the young man was far superior to any in his age range, only being bested by the most experienced. Fighting was the one exception; none came close, not even to lay a single strike on him in armed combat. In unarmed combat he still far surpassed all who opposed him, though not by so wide a margin. The man was like a furious whirl of wind with his strikes, blocks, and dodges. All fell to him, one at a time, none more successful than the last until he faced the best of the Rae’Gno in unarmed combat and took a hard blow to the belly, winding him, before he subdued the competitor.
The Rae’Gno were having a time of rare good fortune, and they had not been alone, three neighboring tribes had worked hard together and none had been denied to participate in the jubilation. So it happened that the pair of wanderers, working with a caravan of traders and selling goods were allowed to take part and make an impression, though the whole caravan took the time to relax and participate in the rare event of unwinding from their harsh lives.
It was during the morning of the third day that the old man happened to be talking to an odd man. He was eating some of his dried meat from his pouch, chewing it carefully and making it last, rather than let the events around him prompt him to wasteful action. His student was young and was doing so well, as well as working so hard that it would be shameful to deny him the chance to be a little loose for a few days and enjoy the fruits of his labors.

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