Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
 
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame
Projects
Visitors
Contests
Search

Amazoni #20 Trader Boy

Story ID:6931
Written by:Lisa Godin (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Serial Fiction
Location:Cleveland Ohio USA
Year:2011
Person:me
View Comments (0)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
Amazoni #20 Trader Boy

1999
Lisa Godin

Chapter 1
Her bow tightly clutched in clammy hand, Ohna crouched behind a thick screen of yellow-green foliage and peered, unblinking, through the tangle of leaved stems. Scenting the strong, musky odor of boar, she reached for a quivered arrow and notched it. With the patience essential for the hunt, she waited for her prey to present itself by sight or sound. Steely muscles taut with anticipation, she leaned forward slightly, poised like a coiled spring to pounce. At a slight rustle of bushes ahead of her and to the left, she sprang to her feet, firing her arrow. A squeal pierced the silence as the arrow hit its mark. Smiling, her mouth watering as she thought of juicy roasting meat, Ohna plunged into thicker foliage in pursuit of her meal. To her astonishment she had killed no boar, but instead had wounded a Trader boy in the shoulder. Kneeling and grounding her bow, she examined the child, whom she estimated to be ten seasons old.
Another warrior would have left the child to die, for the Amazoni were not close allies of Traders. But Ohna did have one Trader friend, and her love of children made abandonment unthinkable.
The fair-haired child, lying crumpled on his side, was dressed in trousers of brown cloth with shredded cuffs. His heavy leather shoes were caked with dried mud from heavy travel. His open-throated, tan cloth shirt was staining rapidly at the arrow site in his shoulder.
Ohna eased the unconscious boy gently upon his back. With a grunt she yanked her arrow free, absently plunking it into her quiver. As she smoothed flaxen hair off the child's forehead, she knew she had to work quickly to prevent fever and blood loss.
Chapter 2
Ohna dipped into her medicine pouch hanging with others at her bikini skins' waistband and packed Trader Boy's shoulder wound with powdered red herb to cease the bleeding and ease pain. Scanning around her, sensing the boy in no further danger, Ohna snatched up her bow to renew the pursuit of her elusive boar, the importance of the hunt elevated by the addition of another mouth to feed. She soon returned, a plump baby boar slung over a massive mahogany-skinned shoulder. There would be plenty of strengthening meat for Trader Boy to feast upon when he awoke. She swiftly went about the task of fire building and butchering.
At mid day, Trader Boy stirred, opening his azure eyes to the smell of roasting meat. Leaving her place at the fire, Ohna sat beside the child, smiling to show she meant no harm. He returned her smile.
"I am Ohna, Trader Boy."
He struggled to sit up with the warrior's help, weakened but feeling no pain thanks to the medicine herb in his wound.
"I thought you were a boar for you were hidden, and you took my arrow. Plant-that-heals will make you well. I cook much meat to make you strong."
Ohna helped the boy to the fire so he could eat of the skewered boar that was minus a hefty chunk that had already been eaten by the warrior. They sat.
"You have hunger?"
Trader Boy nodded.
Ohna frowned.
"Ah yah! You own a tongue?"
Trader Boy nodded.
"Use it to speak. You wish meat?"
"Y-y-yes."
Ohna carved a sizable hunk of dripping meat. Like a starved animal Trader Boy snatched it out of her hand, savagely tearing into the meat. Ohna sheathed her blade.
"You have great hunger I see. How are you called?"
Trader Boy continued to wolf down his food, ignoring Ohna. Annoyed, she thumped him hard atop his flaxen crown to get his attention. "Your food will not run. How are you called?" she demanded, not allowing his being a child an excuse for rudeness.
"I-I'm called Tr-Trojan."
"It is a strong name."
"Th-thanks."
"Tro-john has nothing to fear from me that he speaks so strangely."
"I'm not a-a-afraid. I always talk like th-th-this."
"Ah yah! If that does not change, your cut tongue will be the end of you. When you eat your fill, you will tell me more of where you come from."
Trojan went back to ripping apart his meal.
Ohna shook her head in mild disgust as she watched. It was strange, she mused, how Outsiders considered Amazoni uncivilized during a meal when they need only look at themselves
Chapter 3
Trojan polished off the rest of his boar.
"Tro-john travels a long way. How long has he wondered?"
Trojan shrugged.
"What do you run from?"
"Nothing!"
Ohna frowned.
"Do not lie. What do you run from?"
"Th-th-the orphanage."
"What is this or-phon-edge?"
"When I was six my parents died in a f-fire. No one w-w-wanted me so I was sent t-to the orphanage. T-too many rules so I l-left. They never c-c-cared about me anyway!"
"They protect you a long time."
"I can be on m-my own!"
Ohna's frown deepened.
"Ah yah! I can see how well Tro-john lives on his own. The feel of his skin tells me he cannot make fire for cold nights. In battle he could never defeat an enemy. He is easy prey for hungry long-toothed cats. He ate very fast because he starves many days. Tro-john will not live his first winter alone."
The boy's spirits sagged.
"Tro-john must learn many things to be a man on his own. Or-phon-edge is the place to learn these things. He must return."
Trojan nodded.
Ohna's scowl dissolved.
"Starting your journey to manhood by guiding a warrior is a good thing!"
Trojan grinned over the responsibility, for never had anyone shown any expectations of him. He was determined not to let Ohna down.
"I-I can guide you real g-good."
Ohna clamped a strong hand upon Trojan's good shoulder, awarding him a nod of approval.
Chapter 4
For days Ohna rode awarding Trojan the honor of sitting in front telling her where to go. Across miles of verdant prairie they cantered. Hunting was good. Trojan watched Ohna bring down game, build fires and cook. By firelight she entertained him with tales of famous Amazoni. One night as they watched their meal cook Trojan pointed to Ohna's waist scalpcord.
"Why do y-you c-carry hair?"
She prodded their meal with her knife.
"They were enemies. No Amazoni carries as many scalps as I."
"Y-you have a l-l-lot of enemies."
She sprinkled a pungent herb upon the meat.
"They choose this."
"Killing is w-wrong."
Ohna shrugged massive mahogany-skinned shoulders.
"It's w-wrong!"
"It is not Tro-john's place to judge me by his ways."
Ohna sliced off a sizzling wedge of meat and handed it to Trojan, then carved a bigger piece off for herself.
"D-do you like to kill?"
Ohna chewed her greasy meat slowly as she stared into the fire.
"You ask too many things."
"D-do you?" Trojan pressed.
"Ee-yah-deh. Eat," Ohna curtly replied, her tone closing the subject.
They retired, neither speaking to one another. In her gruff way, Ohna taught Trojan never to question too closely, a lesson he'd not soon forget.
Chapter 5
They plodded through miles of canyon tunnel, the sound of Appaloosa's hoofs echoing metallically off sheer marbled canyon walls sliced by winding paths pimpled with irregular boulders every few hundred yards. Ohna became increasingly wary. Her sharp eyes scanned the ledges above for she knew they were being covertly tracked. Battle was inevitable she knew--when and where was the mystery. It mattered little that Trojan would witness death. His protection was paramount.
"We are followed, Tro-john. You will do as I say when the time comes. Death will visit this place."
Ohna nudged Appaloosa into a trot.
From behind a boulder up ahead upon a ledge, a loinclothed gray-skinned, painted Ossit popped up, his shoulder-length multi-shelled earrings clicking loudly. With a shrill shout he fired his bow, his arrow clattering harmlessly against a striated rock beside Ohna's startled horse.
The warrior pointed to a huge misshapen boulder ahead. "Hide behind there. Do not move until I come for you. Go!" she commanded.
Trojan scrambled off the prancing Appaloosa and ran behind the assigned rock amid a hail of Ossit arrows.
Whirling Appaloosa around, unshouldering her bow, Ohna answered her Ossit challenger's war cry with a shrill shout.
Chapter 6
Ohna knew it would be a short battle; Ossit were inferior in a fight. Dropping her reins, her powerful legs egging Appaloosa on, she drew an arrow and notched her bow. Screeching another piercing Amazoni war cry, she let fly her arrow, hitting the surprised Ossit in the chest and dropping him over the side of the ledge. It was surprising the Ossit didn't die from the fall, but he was close to it.
Ohna leaped off Appaloosa. Shouldering her bow she kneeled beside the dying Ossit. Moments later he expired with a loud sigh. Drawing her knife she claimed Ossit's bone-and-bead ornamented scalplock. Remounting she trotted to Trojan. "Come," she ordered. Shaking he came out from behind his boulder shield, his eyes wide with terror. "We have much more travel to do." She leaned over, hand extended. "Come."
Hesitantly Trojan answered the Shesh-Amazoni's summons and was easily hauled up in front of her.
Chapter 7
Galloping through the canyon throat they emerged onto green prairie, their grueling pace never slacking until long after sunset and the rise of the twin moons. Ohna made camp atop a hill.
"A few more miles and I-I'll be h-home."
Ohna handed Trojan a thick strip of jerked boar. She fed their crackling fire several twigs. Tied to a twig propped close to the flames Ossit's scalp dried. Wisely, Trojan made no comment on its acquisition, for if it hadn't been for Ohna, his golden hair would be drying.
"Those at or-phon-edge will be glad to see you."
"Are you g-g-glad to see m-me go?"
"Ah yah! Always it is sad to say goodbye to a friend."
"W-will you ever v-v-visit?"
"My place is with my people. When you reach manhood you will know the land and find Amazoni to visit. I expect no more cut tongue."
"I-I'll w-w-work on it."
Ohna added Ossit's dried hair to her heavy scalpcord.
"Among my people, Tro-john, a promise is never broken."
"N-name it."
"You must not run away from or-phon-edge. Learn all they teach."
"I p-promise!"
"Good. I promise that when you visit, whether I am in camp or not, no one will turn you away."
Trojan beamed with joy to have another home.
Chapter 8
Topping a hill at mid afternoon, Ohna and Trojan gazed upon a house of hewn logs. In the front yard children laughed, playing tag. Elder boys wrestled. Little girls clapped each others' hands in elaborate patterns while singing. The games of Trader children were indeed strange, Ohna concluded.
Trojan dismounted Appaloosa.
"Aren't you c-c-coming to see me to the d-door?"
Ohna watched an exceptionally large woman waddle out of the house, calling the children in for their meal. In seconds the yard had emptied, the children enthusiastically herding into the house, the door left open to catch the breeze.
"Tro-john left on his own so he must return on his own. That is the way of a boy growing to manhood." She held up a huge hand. "Dah, Tro-john," she bade and turning Appaloosa around galloped away.
Watching the burly mahogany-skinned warrior rapidly distance herself, Trojan blinked back tears. He would miss her terribly. With hunger gnawing at his belly, he ran down the hill into the house, armed with the story of the mighty Shesh-Amazoni called Ohna.