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Amazoni # 17 Gauntlet

Story ID:6912
Written by:Lisa Godin (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Serial Fiction
Location:Cleveland Ohio USA
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
Amazoni # 17 Gauntlet

Lisa Godin

Chapter 1
Mounted and armed with bow and quiver, Ohna, Cho-hot, and war chiefs Et-esh and Chooka, gazed glumly from their high grassy slope upon three men casually riding in a cluster across the prairie, their horses burdened with tawny, long-toothed cat pelts cinched behind their saddles.
"There seems no way of ridding ourselves of Outsiders," Cho-hot complained bitterly. "We chase them, they come; we talk, we are ignored--and our land is still invaded."
Ohna glared at the rider wearing a long-toothed cat pelt hat mounted a glossy black. She pointed. "My heart tells me the man in the hat is their leader." Her point evolved into a fist and settled upon a mahogany-skinned muscled thigh. "I will tear him apart to prove my power."
Chooka looked questioningly at Et-esh.
"I have seen Ohna do what she is thinking once," Et-esh explained. "There was little left to be called a man. Those with him never returned to our land."
"Our brothers the long-toothed cats will be avenged," Ohna vowed.
The Amazoni surrounded the startled men. Ohna pointed at the hatted man. "You hunt our animals for the last time, Poacher," She barked in Trader understood only by Et-esh who softly translated for Cho-hot and Chooka.
Dismounting, Ohna yanked Poacher off his horse, then relieved the animal of its saddle, bridle and pelts. Cho-hot yanked the other two poachers off their mounts and stripped them of their water canteens and knives. Hauling them roughly to their feet, she glared at them menacingly. Ohna centered her attention upon the frightened Poacher.
"You know me?"
"You're the Shesh raised Amazoni.
"It is so. But unlike the Shesh who spawned me, I would think nothing of killing you where you stand for what you have done. But this day it will not be said that I gave you no chance to run. You will learn how the long-toothed cats you hunt feel, and more. Go!"
The poachers bolted.
Cho-hot, eager for the hunt, vaulted upon her horse. She was confused by Ohna's unhurried casualness at remounting Appaloosa. The Shesh-Amazoni never acting without reason, Cho-hot knew better than to question her leader watching the fleeing men with apparent boredom.
Suddenly a shrill war cry escaped Ohna, signaling the chase to begin.
Chapter 2
The poacher trio bolted across the prairie, chests heaving, desperate to reach the dense forest ahead. Ohna galloped in tight circles around them, gleefully leaning over to strike Poacher on the back in pass after pass. Zig-zagging among the running trio, she bumped one poacher to the ground. Laughing, she swung around the downed man and lifted him to his feet by the collar as if he were as weightless as a child.
The poacher trio pierced the forest, scattering like field mice hoping to shake their pursuers in the dense foliage. Ohna curtly signaled Cho-hot and Et-esh to pursue. It wasn't long before they were flushed out and herded to the Shesh-Amazoni standing with arms folded across her chest. The men, exhausted from the chase, collapsed at her feet.
"You ran the gauntlet well, Poacher, but as you see, no man escapes Amazoni."
Speaking sharply in the Amazoni tongue, Ohna issued orders to Cho-hot and Chooka. They vanished into deeper woods.
On hands and knees, regaining his breath, Poacher glared at Ohna gazing upon him with an air of smug superiority.
"Horse dung eating bitch!"
Understanding the insult, Et-esh angrily kicked Poacher in the belly then interpreted the slight.
"You are a foolish man to insult me before Et-esh."
Chooka appeared from her patch of forest and motioned to be followed.
Chapter 3
Enthusiastically, Cho-hot and Chooka lashed the prisoners to strong trees. Poacher's companions, bawling like babies, annoyed the irascible Cho-hot, who loudly grumbled.
Ohna nodded permission.
Notching an arrow in her bow, Cho-hot fired, piercing the heart of one poacher, silencing the other with an arrow to the throat. Enthusiastically she claimed their scalps. Out of spite she ripped her arrow out of the poacher's throat then slit it.
Wide-eyed, Chooka sitting beside Et-esh, drank in every detail with bloodthirsty interest. The hardened Et-esh remained unimpressed with Cho-hot's deed any could accomplish. Ohna's plan of skinning a man alive was far more noteworthy for she was one of the rare few capable of prolonging an enemy's suffering for days.
In no hurry, Ohna delved into her ration pouch for a jerked boar meat snack. When she was done, she stood before Poacher securely lashed to his tree, her obsidian eyes burning into him with piercing ferocity. "You will see what a 'horse dung eating bitch' can do!" she exclaimed. "When you are found, your people will never hunt long-toothed cat again."
Seizing a thick, branchless tree limb she spotted earlier lying on the ground, with all her tremendous might, she swung, striking Poacher's knees, shattering them, and snapping the limb. Ohna narrowed her eyes as she stared at the screaming man.
To Cho-hot who was stylishlessly violent, the scene offered inspiration in imaginative agony. For Chooka, it served as an introduction to what her idol was capable of, and for Et-esh, her satisfaction was Ohna's.
Ohna snatched Poacher's long-toothed cat pelt hat and put it on. Oversized, it slid over her eyes. Flapping muscular arms like a bird, bobbing her head and chirping, she drew laughter from her warriors.
Gradually Poacher's screams subsided and with them his tormentor's humor. She threw aside the long-toothed cat pelt hat. Ripping off Poacher's shirt, she rested a huge hand upon the sobbing man's chest, delighting in the feel of its stressed heart.
"Your heart knows how wrong it is to kill long-toothed cat for sport. You will know how the long-toothed cat feels being skinned. I do not do this for sport. I do this as warning. Your spirits know this. Amazoni spirits long-toothed cats serve, know this. "
Ohna drew her glittering, thick-bladed knife and began to carve into Poacher's chest and belly, excising thin strips of bloody flesh, unmindful of her enemy's agonized shrieking.
Chapter 4
Three days of intense cleaving into Poacher exposed thinner muscle, bone and the hint of organs. When Poacher slumped unconscious, Ohna roused him with water from her belt gourd.
Only during the night did the warrior ignore her prisoner. Poacher needed rest to last longer which was more time than he gave long-toothed cats he slaughtered.
Dawn saw a change in Ohna's tactics. Stripping Poacher of his trousers, she scowled.
Instinctively he knew what was in the warrior's mind.
"No please," he sobbed. "Not that! No! No!" he begged.
Ohna deftly sliced off his hairless scrotum, plunging him into a frenzy of futile thrashing against his bonds, his tortured caterwauling going unheeded. Ohna tossed Cho-hot the scrotum.
"Hollowed out, you will have a good pouch for your gambling stones so you will not lose them anymore. Ojah will be more than willing to add decoration if you wish."
Cho-hot grinned at her squishy present as she stuffed it into a slightly larger waist pouch.
"Beads and feathered tassels I want Ojah to add."
"Done, my friend."
"I wish a gift!" Chooka jealously demanded.
Ohna sliced off Poacher's undersized manhood.
Fainting, he sagged against his bonds.
"Chooka, you will get no luck from that small thing," Et-esh joked. "My mate, Dukwukka, is bigger!"
"It is not luck I seek. Preserved, it will remind me of Ohna's generosity."
"I am sure the spirits of the long-toothed cats this one slaughtered would also compliment my generosity. He stole their pelts. I have stolen what this one prized most. He has paid dearly for his crime."
The Amazoni party galloped out of the forest, leaving the bodies of Poacher and his companions to hungry gorak birds and ants.