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The Tamerlane Conquest


The Tamerlane Conquest

Post by Juntara Kieva on

Juntara stood on the side of a mountain. Before her, she knew the city of Tamerlane stood within sight. But she could not see it. She had been robbed of vision long ago. Well, from her vision anyway. On her shoulder sat one of the birds of Pitjanta. It was large, black, and gripped her shoulder with huge talons meant for rending flesh. Through that bird, Juntara could see all details of the city before her. She could pinpoint the weaknesses in the walls that protected the city. She beckoned for her student, Rasja, to come to her.

“That is the city of Tamerlane. None living amongst the Gani have ever laid eyes upon it, except for me. And no Gani has ever been within its’ walls. But, I intend to conquer the city. The Ganikas have been called together for War for the first time in many years. Tonight, the attack shall commence. Under cover of Night, and with the blessing of Nos, we shall attack the eastern wall. A storm has caused a hole in it, and it has yet to be prepared.”

“I am too old now to lead from the front. You must act in my stead and lead the Gani to victory over the people of Tamerlane. Can you do this for me, Rasja?”

Re: The Tamerlane Conquest

Post by Rasja on

The day had been long, and yet it was unceasing in its duration. All during the day, Rasja had trailed quietly after her mentor and teacher. Her dark eyes failed to indicate much in the way of interest, as they were often trailing across the landscape in some inner fancy. Still, she heard her mentor's words for the most part, and she didn't fall behind. She'd learned the hard way what pains an errant pupil might go through.

At Juntara's gesture Rasja moved to the older woman, each step solid. She was a graceless young woman, but for what she lacked in that feminine trait she made up in her solid, reassuring presence. If Rasja could feel it herself, perhaps the doubts that gnawed at her from within wouldn't pain her so. Perhaps she would be a better shaman, and a better student. No time for that now.

"Yes." Her reply was simple, and unforced. She hid her inner turmoil by dipping her head back and lifting her face to the sky, and closed her eyes. "The winds feel good today." Her voice was thick and dreamy; hardly a good example from a would-be leader. Yet, even if her mind wavered, her presence held firm.

Re: The Tamerlane Conquest

Post by Juntara Kieva on

Juntara nodded. She had expected no less from her pupil. Laziness, and shirking of responsibility, was not tolerated amongst the Gani. It would prove too costly for them, amongst the barren lands of Pitjanta. She walked back to where the Gani were camped. The rest of the shamans stood in front of her, she knew. The bird cawed and Juntara slipped it a small seed to it quiet. The line of shamans broke and allowed her passage. She stood on the edge of a cliff that jutted out over the encampment below.

“The Sun, Lan, is about to disappear to allow Nos his time to play. As always, Nos watches over the Gani. He allows us to move unseen. He allows us to escape the sweltering heat. He makes the Nosjona slow and stupid, by cutting off their food. And now, under his guidance, we shall cross this mountain and attack the Stylistas in the city beyond. It will not be easy. Magon shall take his share today. But have we ever shied away from something simply because it was hard?” A resounding chorus answered her back. She smiled.

“Rasja here shall lead you all into battle in one hour’s time. Ready yourselves, my brothers and sisters. Ready yourself for destiny.”

Re: The Tamerlane Conquest

Post by Rasja on

Lurking behind Juntara allowed Rasja's mind to wander. It allowed her gaze to travel over the sky and land, and to marvel at the simple beauty there. It was all she knew. She loved it tremendously, and she resisted the urge to stretch a hand out to it, to better be one with it. She fidgeted, and her fingers moved against her legs, and she swayed with the breeze that ruffled her hair. The land called to her. None of them understood that, quite, except the few children not bowed by their work. She shifted. She couldn't think that anymore. Juntara had scolded her for it. She frowned. She didn't like displeasing Juntara, on the contrary she lived for the few simply phrases of praise the older woman gave to her. "I am pleased." Uttered once by the old shaman, after Rasja'd cured an infant, and --

Her name. The gathering. She blinked slowly and looked up, noticing that Hanara was scowling fiercely at her. Hanara had never liked Rasja, and spoke up against her at every opportunity. Belatedly, Rasja realized her expression and smiled, shuffling up besides Juntara. She smiled at the gathering. She didn't like blood.

"We shall crush our enemies!" She raised her fist, her clear voice soaring over the gathered. They cheered with her, and that felt good. But she didn't like violence. She didn't like death. She liked caring for the sick, and she liked to play with the children. But those feelings were not allowed. They were her eternal shame, and she must bury them.

She avoided Hanara's eyes, and smiled at Juntara. "I will go down, and prepare myself with them." She said instead of what she felt. I do not wish to lead the charge, she thought. Confidence radiated from her, but it was not something she felt inside. She felt, instead, the enmity from a few of the other shamans, and the hope within the others. She was needed, and she couldn't abandon that. She was Gani after all, through and through. So she smiled, her presence solid and reassuring. She would kill today. She wished it didn't make her want to vomit.

Re: The Tamerlane Conquest

Post by Juntara Kieva on

Juntara moved away from the cliff. The other shamans, in quick whispers began to criticize her choice of Rasja to lead. She dismissed her current familiar, the large bird, and turned to them. She stared blindly into them. She smiled at them.

“What problems do you have with Rasja?”

“Why, her head is in the clouds! Her compass points west, not north! She is not one to lead in battle.” One of the older shamans said to her. Juntara turned to where the voice was coming from. Her mind caught the consciousness of a passing snake-mole. She reached into its mind and forced it up from the ground to crawl onto the shaman’s foot. The shaman jumped a good foot into the air and screamed. Juntara chuckled.

“This snake-mole has no eyes with which to see. Better off, he would be, to have eyes cast to the sky, then none at all, wouldn’t you agree? And yet, without eyes, he has sufficiently beaten you in battle. So shall it be with Rasja. I have faith in her. Now, silence. I must rest before the battle, and find an old friend of mine.” Juntara let the animal’s mind go and walked back to the cliff where she showed Rasja Tamerlane. She sat down, her feet dangling off the side. She closed her eyes and reached out over the plains to find the most deadly hunter of Pitjanta, Gantini, the King of Bears. They had worked together before, and his mind was accustomed to Juntara because of it. He was the smartest of all the creatures of Pitjanta that Juntara could find, and the link between them was strong now. With his help, Tamerlane should fall.

Re: The Tamerlane Conquest

Post by Rasja on

Rasja's cheeks burned as she walked slowly down to the body of the Gani camp. She heard the words, but she hadn't needed to hear them. She knew them, sure as shit, and hearing them only made the rock-studded pasture within her mind all the more treacherous.

"Pay them no mind. Birds still fly. Pay them no mind." She whispered the words to herself when she was on the lonely track, out of sight and sound of the other shaman and the Gani. Each time she blinked, she squeezed her eyes shut. She sought the comforting solace of her own mind, and the time to ease the flush from her cheeks and for the brightness to creep back into her eyes. They needed her.

Upon reaching the bustling center, she sped her pace. Friendly insults, greetings and other calls were sallied back and forth. That's how it was for the Gani, and Rasja knew nothing else. She didn't really want to know anything else. She just wished. . .maybe hoped that one day she could be a peaceful shaman who helped her kin and didn't have to worry about anything else. Free to watch the sky, free to travel the --

"Oi, watch out!"

Rasja skittered sideways as one of the men rode by with one of the camp's few horses. She bit back a shriek, freezing momentarily in rigid fear. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

"You okay, Rasja?"

The concerned voice was a single glowing rope in the darkness of her mind, and she clung to it.

Breathe.

"Yarta, just the woman I needed to see. I seem to have misplaced my sling, could you help me look for it?" Rasja forced a gentle smile at the older woman, who waved at Rasja to follow. They traveled through the ordered chaos, the mass of human flesh ever moving as men and woman alike prepared for the battle to come. Even the children were muted as they were tasked with the ending chores for the day, and they ran helter skelter underfoot as they rushed to get it done. Under all of it was the tension, the eagerness and the readiness for this battle. They all hungered for glory.

The next chance peek at the sky revealed the sun to be melting behind the horizon. Soon now, soon. For the most part, clumps of Gani stood, armored or nearly armored as they tested the mettle of weapons and hide for the last time. They would move soon, at Juntara's word, and at the head of that column of people would be Rasja. She lifted her chin, shrugging her shoulders better into the leather armor she'd donned. Her sling was at one hip, a borrowed bludgeon in the other. She nodded thanks to Yarta, and the other nodded to blend back into the press of Gani.

The sunset really was a beautiful thing, and the near twilight enfolded the Gani camp in muted colors and swirling shadows. Rasja wondered why they never had the time to enjoy it.




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