Comes a Blue Wolf

Jul 13, 2013 by

winter_scene_stock_by_wyldraven-d49gs6fWinter howled outside her tent. The winds furiously clawed at brightly dyed, thick walls covered in shamek skins and furs to keep the chill at bay. Her namayah–her servants–had lit many of the braziers for warmth and glow. To Jashiu’, it seemed more ominous than comforting. The golden light was pleasant enough, but the thrashing of the wind outside and the way the tent’s walls undulated in it tossed strange, creeping shadows that looked like unsettled horses running from dark creatures. Her namayah whispered midst themselves quietly, trying not to be over heard. But she knew what they were saying.
Ill omens, they said. A storm of ice and freezing winds on her wedding? Another said. Bad luck. Very bad. Her women were old and superstitious she reminded herself. It didn’t help. She had been dreading this day since she was a child.
The ladies removed her mother’s mother’s, great grandmother’s mother’s traditional head piece from great swaddles of thick leathers and furs. Gold beaten into coins for good fortune, handmade into chains to symbolize unity and strength in marriage and woven with ribbons in red for luck glittered along the head piece. To Jashiu’, it seemed to be laughing at her and her distaste for it was immediate. It would be too heavy for her to move her head at all. It would be too heavy with it on to run if she needed to. But it was already too late for running, wasn’t it?
The man her parents had promised her to be with had come riding on his karaouk not three days earlier as was promised. She had held out hope that he would not come then she would be free to choose her own husband. His arrival early shattered those hopes.
She had no idea who this man was. All that she knew was that he was from a little known tribe of the Blue Wolf, once the most powerful of tribes before the Varanthir invasion. Her people did not–or would not speak to her about what might have happened to them to reduce them to what they were today: more legend than reality.
Ten years ago a messenger had ridden into her father’s camp to negotiate for a marriage contract with the Shaman’s daughter. He agreed. She suspected fear of the unknown and superstition had pushed her father’s hand to agree.
The Namayah placed the head piece onto her hair which had been rubbed with mirrav steeped oil and brushed until it became glossy and bright. They pinned and they propped, turned her head and pinched, pulled, used what felt like unending combs to make sure the piece sat properly on her head. When they were finished, they inspected her with glistening eyes filled of their weddings past and the sighs of old women remembering what it was like to be young. One or two adjusted the thick shamek fur robe dyed in black for wedding colors with silk red vest on the outside, another made sure the bed of furs she lay upon was perfect and sprinkled with spices said to invoke feelings of aruaru in men.
“That’s enough,” she finally snapped when one lady would not leave the edge of her robe alone. The woman jerked her head back, winced and then bowed. She knew what she must have looked like to that poor servant… Often her father had said she had the unwelcoming piercing gaze of the legendary karaouk that the Blue Wolf tribe rode along with the soft face of a stone-mountain and it’s temper to boot. She made a small apologetic sound.
“Thank you. You may go,” she offered in a softer tone. They bowed to her and left her to the belly-ache of fear.
Legends often said the Tribe of Blue Wolf were filled with cannibals. Men and women with teeth so sharp and twisted they did not stay in their mouths. Of horrible disfigurement and skin like bumpy toads. Other’s said they were men with rotting diseases and all their women had died of it–so that is why they all but disappeared to a mere shell of what they used to be. More told tales of men who turned into giant beasts and slaughtered innocents.
She did not believe these things were true. But…she had never seen the man her father had promised her to. He had never told her anything. Her mind flickered horrifying visions of ugly men, twisted men, evil and grotesque men.
The longer she waited, the more her neck grew pained with having to to hold her head up and the more horrifying she imagined her new husbands deformities.

#

Sweat had trickled down the back of her neck to tickle at her shoulder blades. The wind kept howling in time with her simmering temper. How long had she waited here for him? How long would he make her wait? She thought of ways to escape the marriage if he were too deformed; of scratching his eyes out. Of using one of the many pins in her hair to stick in his neck. Her neck began to quiver under the head piece’s weight and several of the braziers had run out of fuel long since.
Perhaps it was her wish of violence or perhaps it was the winter’s wind that finally called him. At the mouth of the tent, she heard the slither of ties being pulled back. She could not turn her head immediately to stare, but had to do so slowly so as not to topple the chunk of heavy history on her head.
By the time she could fully stare he was already inside and her heart rolled up into her mouth.
He was the largest man she had ever seen in her life. For her entire life she had thought her father was, because inside any tent her father’s head towered over any man of their tribe. But this man that was now inside her tent had to bend his neck and head to avoid brushing the very top of the ceiling or thumping his brow into the great wooden supports that held it up. His skin was the color of frozen lakes…A light blue that was pale as crystal. His hair was white and glimmered as fresh as unbroken snow. He wore a blue robe dyed so dark that it seemed like it was black as night, richly embroidered with designs in gold that seemed to writhe along the fabric of the robe her wore.
But that was not what made her lose all of her angry thoughts or air. It was his eyes and his smile. His eyes were as golden as the wolf, and his canines when they were revealed were as deadly sharp.
He removed his gloves and dropped them onto the furs on the ground, then his cloak. She watched, mouth agape as he folded himself beside her and she felt cold come from him.
He flicked his eyes from her face to her hair and back. “Remove that ridiculous thing,” he said in a rumble so deep as to be ice cracking, thunder, or perhaps rocks under a mountain.
She did as she was bade to, but not because he was her husband. But because she could not stop staring.
“My name is Eylrik,” he boomed quietly. “Let us talk of your people and mine, and how we will go to war against the Varathir,” then reached into his furs to remove a scroll of parchment.
Jaishu’, so mesmerized by what he was and what he said and what he proposed, she did not insult or yell at him once.
There would be time enough for that later.
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Aten in the Palm

Jul 8, 2013 by

egyptian_temple_2_by_magikstock-d4rvw7d

Being queen had its moments. The roar of the crowd as she’d ridden on a chariot formed in gold and lapis lazuli had dazzled her mind. Their cries of her name, their reaching hands, their words had been thunder fit for any god, boiling along her veins. Later, when her husband hunched his groaning way off the chariot, drooling and mumbling she did not even seem to care this time. The crowd was still singing in her blood. The danger and the fire still burning. She dared drop a lotus flower, their signal, and run off breathless as a maid away from her Queen’s guard.
He was there waiting. So tall, so dark with eyes as warm as honey. His beautiful face was a adder in disguise, she knew, but she could not help herself. He was everything her King was not. In his mad embrace for wild moments, in between kisses and hungry hands, they spoke of their love, their lust and…their problems.
“And what, he who gladdens my heart, makes you think that he will believe such things?” In the shade, away from the harsh daylight, none would dare say anything for fear of their death at her bidding. He nibbled on her earlobe, he suckled at her neck then pressed his mouth against her temple before speaking.
“Oh lotus flower, oh sweet sister–” Laughter and desire made his voice warble as a birds. “Are you not Queen of all? Are you not his beautiful companion? Are you not a goddess yourself?”
Before she could grow angry at his daring, his words–he pressed a small trinket to the skin of her breast. She reached up in annoyance to grasp it from him as he laughed in the face of her anger. Too pretty to be smart, she thought in annoyance before glancing down at what was in her palm.
It was a single, small gold disc. Aten, a representative of the sun no bigger than her thumb, scratch free, flawless and polished so well that even in the shadows it somehow found the sun. Clever, clever one, she thought. A smile bloomed as wide as the river.
Akhenatan, and soon, Egypt herself would stand in the shadow of Nefertiti’s brilliance. Neither would be the wiser.
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Fate and a Gun

Jul 2, 2013 by

gun_png_by_doloresdevelde-d5fye4hHe was, quite simply, mad.
Though she knew he did not start that way and his thread was never knotted to be so, some things were well out of her hands. Which, in retrospect, the thought would have made her slightly smile if it wasn’t for the fact the chill barrel of a gun was pressed as surely as a lover’s kiss upon her temple.
“I said, undo it! Unravel it! Un-unknot it. Whatever it is you do, you fucking do it, got it?” In the caverns, his tremulous and cracking voice bounced along the walls as a child’s toy thrown in grief.
“I cannot,” she repeated herself quietly. He smelled like sorrow: salt and tears and sweat and fear. He had not washed in several days. She did not think he had eaten, either.
“You can,” barked. The gun was painfully shoved into her temple, pushing her head violently to the side. She straightened herself best as she could and noticed that she could see the smallest sliver of light underneath the blindfold.
“I cannot, there are rules I must not break.”
Even the smallest click of metal as his finger tightened slightly about the trigger felt louder than any of the screaming he had done earlier.
“You can either break the rules or you can be dead. This is the last chance I am giving you.” His hand had trembled earlier, his voice wavered with hidden tears. Now she heard another note. A note that finally made her hands on needles and thread in her lap move. She picked up her golden needles and began to weave the hole in the path of Fate that the death of his wife made.
A car accident a week ago. It had not been her wish to end the woman’s life so suddenly and it had not even been knotted into the string of the woman’s life. But Death also had his own rules and his own way of things. His string she could never see or touch, so she could not tell when he would throw an unseemly tangle in her careful stitches. And so it is what it is, she had thought seven days ago. But she had not counted on him. There had not been a human in the caverns of the oracles in thousands of years, the old gods should have been long forgotten, the old ways of summoning buried deep.
Should. Yet, here he was now, grieving for his wife with a gun to the head of Fate.
“Please,” softly. “Please rethink this. You do not know the consequences. There are some things which cannot be re-done,” she pleaded, even as her hands skimmed over the work that was usually familiar to her. It was a tad more difficult to knit blindfolded, with a gun to her head.
I don’t care!” Shouted. “I don’t care. She’s…She’s my everything. She was everything. She’s all I have and if you do not bring her back I will end you. I will end you, and then find all of you and kill them too until I have what I want.”
She did not doubt him. “All right,” soothed. “All right,” her voice was calm but it was her turn for her hands to tremble. She found the string she wanted, knotted it around her needle and slipped it through. End over end and around and about, in her mind she could envision the faint cavern’s light flickering off gold as it had done and always did for centuries.
“It is done,” she intoned. There was a strange echo to those three words: a warning, a sadness, and a finality that even made him hesitate. She could feel it in the way the gun barrel pressure on her temple lessened.
“What–?” He did not finish. The sound of Death’s footsteps were that of long passed leaves, dry shed skin of serpents tussling with one another in the wind. One moment silent and the next moment she could hear the silk rustle of his robes as he rush-stepped (never ran. Death ran for no one) over to touch the man on the shoulder. As he did so, the man died. The gun, his last breath, crashing to the stone floor.
Death eased the blindfold from fates eyes. She blinked the light back into her vision and glanced down to the lump of the human who dared to find and threaten a god.
“If only they listened to our warnings,” she murmured sadly.

What is FF month?

July is Flash Fiction month, where authors and writers attempt to write a 55 – 1000 word story a day for the month of July. Fate and a Gun is the first Flash Fiction for July, inspired by Flash Fiction Month deviantart’s group; where text, visual and audio prompts are given to inspire fellow writers. Join in and visit Flash Fiction Month here: http://flash-fic-month.deviantart.com/
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Crow

Jun 29, 2013 by

SONY DSC“I can see why they named you Crow,” said, while he reached with sticky hands to smooth back her black hair. Straight, glossy-clean, soft as things he had no names for (because in his world, soft was not a part of it.)
“Though you didn’t caw in time to save any buffalo, did you? No, not even once to save yourself,” chewing thoughtfully, he pulled a small bone from between his teeth and gestured with it as he spoke.
“Do you know that legend?” He tossed the gnawed bone over his shoulder and waited. “The legend of how Crow came to be black?” She didn’t answer; dark brown eyes stared past him. It wormed in his belly a moment to become a small fire of anger–women and their eyes. They always had a talent for cutting you with them in a single, dismissive rake.
He leaned forward and shoved the tip of his thumb between bone and lower lid. A sharp small movement with enough force that prised the eyeball out of her socket in wet, squishing—pop– release. He raised it, twisting it right as well as left to stare at it thoughtfully.
“Perhaps if you are a good girl, I’ll tell you one day.” He grinned, slipping her eye between smiling lips.
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