The blog has a full Table of Contents and Reference page for Part One: Inundation. It is also advisable that one reads the added scenes with the new character Brisa tu’Onr. (PDF download) Otherwise, we are beginning part two of When Comes the Firetide: Emergents.
WHEN COMES THE FIRETIDE | PART TWO: EMERGENTS
Chapter Eight: Each Must be Unmade
Shaking her horns, the cacophany an affront to her ears, her patience and her time, Sama raised her sword and signaled to the soldiers lining the enclave walls. Stepping forward, they gripped the handles of the cauldrons. With heaving cries of effort, they tipped them forward on their pivots. Screams of fear rose up out of the angry roars, as the contents sloshed down onto the mobs below. Loud splashes and plops showered about in wet symphony.
Gripping the parapets, Sama leaned forward to survey below, her soldiers doing the same. At her bellowing laugh, the others followed suit, the howling outside the gates faded to moans of confusion and irritation. Citizens sopped with mud, livestock muck and rotten produce stood about shaking the refuse from their bodies, baffled that the flesh had not been seared from their bones by boiling oil or flaming pitch.
One woman bemoaned, “what foulness is this?!”
“You would rather I fry you where you stand, you stupid dkun?!” Sama laughed. “Go back to your homes! Cease this madness!”
“You protect the very apostates who will bring death upon us all?!” a man raged from the ground, attempting to stand with aggressive poise, though he repeatedly slipped in the muck.
Pointing a sword toward Ejade City behind them, Sama barked, “Look at your city! It burns! You destroy your own homes in search of false demons!!” The sword swung back to point at the Cattedrale. “What proof has he shown you that these hordes of creatures will stop coming when he has not even shown you your risen god?! You sacrifice and murder your kith and kin for a promise! No more!”
Another stepped forward and threw a handful of mud at her. “If we do not and Uvall smites us all?! Whose fault is it then?! Will you take that blame?!”
“If so, there will be none to take the blame! Yet if you are wrong, can you bear the burden of your actions?!”
A Ganroth woman, only a little younger than Sama herself, raged with tears in her eyes, “I thought the Sisters served the Valkanoss? Their will means naught to you now?”
“Liberation is a god’s will. Slaughter… vengeance… animals do this.”
The girl jabbed a finger at her, body quaking with emotion. “How many did you kill, Sister Sama?? How many?!”
The Kithoth Falenoth looked to her soldiers then gestured. Each knelt and lifted a bucket, holding it at the ready. One of the lesser commanders shouted, “GO! Leave now! Know the mercy of the Kithoth Falenoth can only stretch so far! We protect the Greater Kith! You strike at one of us, you strike at all of us!”
The soldiers emptied their buckets splashing chill wellwater down upon them to a renewed chorus of shrieks. Another row of chuckles followed, but not hardly the guffaw of before. This time, Sama was not laughing.
A scream peeled through the streets behind them within the city walls. The soldiers’ heads turned with concern. Sama shouted a command for them to remain vigilant, then directed several guards to follow her in the direction of the shrieking. As they grew closer, the shouts of men and women could be heard, the pained grunts of one being beaten.
“Clear out!” one of the guards shouted to the crowd. Several took off running, but the screaming woman looked up and pointed at the man on the ground as several others continued to beat and stone him.
“My brother! Please! Please!!”
“LAST WARNING!” Sama bellowed as she ran up on them. Two more ran off but of the three remaining, none so much as looked up. They continued to bloody him until Sama’s sword protruded through the chest of one and he was flung aside. The sword whipped in an arc, flinging the crimson fluid of Shae blood clean off the blade onto the other two. She grabbed the closest, pinned him to the wall of the building beside them whilst the guards flanked the last, detaining him with a rough throw to his back. He hit the cobblestones with a bark of pain and whined as he watched his friends die.
Sama dropped the Ganroth corpse, then turned to look down at the Erahs woman craddling her brother, barely alive. The Falenoth’s face quivered with rage as she stepped over to the last living assailant. Standing over him she snarled. “Tell me, Shae, what possible right do you claim to lay hands on this man, to be his executioner?”
The man’s face contorted with confusion. “Did you not hear the Valk Malvud? Take the First God’s blood from out their veins… it’s what he said. They aren’t Valkto. Won’t swear by the First Gods, not even on their knees they won’t swear to them. E-even I s-swore allegiance.”
Casting only a half-glance over her shoulder toward the woman, Sama could see barely a mark on her save the red of restraint at her wrists. Looking back to him, she bared her teeth. “Had persuasive measures in mind for the woman, did you?”
Eyes desperate, the Shae looked between the two guards standing over him, then back at Sama. “N-no! I just followed my mates, that’s all. It’s Ganroth rule here now.”
The sneer on her mouth grew, her eyes narrowing. “No one rules your actions. The choice is always yours.”
“N-no, but…. ” An apron of red slowly seeped down his chest, out onto the stones. His body sagged, going limp as Sama wiped her blade on his clothes.
Nodding at him, she gave a silent order for the guards to take care of the bodies as all other murders of the like had been. Made seen as a warning to those who would defy the laws of the land, in spite of the Valk Malvud’s inciteful rally. The whimpering sobs of the woman behind her drew Sama to turn and crouch. She met the woman’s eyes.
“I th-think he will die,” she wept, clutching him close. “I have no one…”
“I am sorry.”
“How is this better than before?! How are we free?!” she yelled at the woman through hiccups of tears. Bowing over her sibling the woman came undone, perhaps waiting for Sama to slay her too, perhaps hoping. The warrior could only watch them a moment, then stood, impotent.
“Vesvud! Vesvud!” A young woman ran toward them dressed as a scout. She panted but did not hesitate to deliver her message. “Dust, vess. Red Dust, south of the Capital, from the direction of the mine shafts. What do we do?”
No breeze blew. No insect or bird made a sound. Sama felt the whole of the world hold its breath.
“Sound the alarms. Open the gates– evacuate as much of the city into the Enclave as you can. Anyone south of the aqueduct… quarantine them.”
Looking down at the Erahs and her dying brother, Sama grimaced. “What is your name?”
“Does it matter?” Angry eyes swam, drowned in pain. Hanging her head, she muttered, “Isekru Dynr.”
Throat thick with her own emotion, Sama could only muster the weakest of words, no matter how earnest. “Truly… I am sorry.”
Taking to a run, she bolted for the Cattedrale to seek out the others. Vesvudak Zuree and Vesvud Faless needed to be told. More importantly, the Valk Malvud needed to be bound and gagged in a dark chamber before he could say anything to make matters worse… or Sama got close enough to put a sword to him.
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