|Written by:||Lisa Godin (bio, contact, other stories)|
|Story type:||Serial Fiction|
|Location:||Cleveland Ohio USA|
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|Written by:||Lisa Godin (bio, contact, other stories)|
|Story type:||Serial Fiction|
|Location:||Cleveland Ohio USA|
Seated upon the bed furs with Ojah beside her as drums and singing echoed outside, Ohnaà critically examined her reflection in the trade mirror and readjusted the gold dangle ornaments embedded in her raven sidelocks. With a grunt of satisfaction, she set aside her mirror. Ohnaà nodded approval of Ojah's tawny dress studded with rows of globular quarter-sized Trader mirrors, beaded fringe, and bleached doe teeth tufted with black down feathers.
"You have outdone yourself with the making of this dress."
"I am glad it pleases you."
"All you do pleases me."
Doe teeth ornaments crackling as he rose, Ojah extended a tiny pale hand. Accepting it, Ohnaà rose. Towering over him, her obsidian eyes smoldering, she yanked him against her. Growling softly, she playfully nipped his pallid neck and earlobes.
"It can wait," Ohnaà hissed continuing her fervent onslaught.
"The dance," Ojah insisted.
Sighing heavily, the warrior stepped back.
"Inflaming my heart with longing is a dangerous game."
"But you are very strong in keeping your beasts in check."
"For the moment."
Hand in hand, the couple entered the night.
A dozen torches illuminated the dance ground. Drummers segregated in a corner of the crowd led all in song. Four spits of roasting boar dribbled grease into their fires.
Armed with bowls of steaming meat, wide-eyed children sat with their eating parents watching the circle of warriors and their mates sway and stamp. Patrolling the audience for scraps, camp dogs made their rounds.
The men abandoned their warriors to allow them to demonstrate their free form dance prowess, war chief Et-esh's pirouettes and stamps eliciting cheers. Laughing, she pierced the air with a yelp of exuberance.
Reaching the audience, Ohnaà and Ojah parted company, he going for meat, she bounding into the circle of warrior dancers. Assuming her place beside Et-esh, Ohnaà savagely stamped, whirled and bobbed, her movement wildly jangling her hair ornaments, the exertion drenching her powerful physique with sweat.
The singing drummers playfully accelerated their rhythm. Unable to keep up, Et-esh abandoned the dancing Ohnaà.
Standing beside a spit of roasting boar, the eating Ojah was captivated by Ohnaà's boundless energy.
With a shrill shout, Ohnaà raced through the crowd toward Ojah, grabbing him by the elbow so hard he dropped his bowl of meat. Laughing, she led him into the dance circle. Settling a hand upon Ojah's shoulder, the other at his hip, the grinning warrior swirled him about the dance circle.
Rested, Et-esh joined the couple, and for several sweeps Ojah was passed between war chief and Shesh-Amazoni. With a final whap the drumming ceased. The crowd roared with delight.
"I cannot dance another step!" Ojah exclaimed, wiping sweat from his brow.
"Ah yah! All should be able to keep up with me."
"You are too powerfully energetic for your own good, my friend." Et-esh rubbed her growling belly. "I am hungry!" she declared and stalked toward a spit of roasting boar.
Ohnaà and Ojah departed the dance. Entering the tepee, the eager warrior led her mate to the high fur bed.
Ojah raked long fingers through Ohnaà's thick raven hair, dislodging her left hair bangle, then the other. Grinning, he seductively caressed the warrior's massive shoulders and arms, reveling in her deep breathing and glazing eyes. Kneeling he kissed a trail up and down her muscled belly.
Eyes closed, inhaling sharply, Ohnaà tipped her head back in arousal.
Slowly rising, Ojah giggled.
"How are your beasts feeling now, my warrior?"
Opening her eyes, Ohnaà shoved Ojah upon the bed. The heavy fur blanket converted into a tent heaved and swayed, muffling growls and moans of ecstasy from the Amazoni lovers savagely coupling unmindful of the drummer's beat.
Awakened by chirping birds, Ohnaà observed Ojah as he stirred the heating pot of breakfast stew. Dressing quickly she joined him, accepting the offered stew bowl.
"I have discovered a new cave. I will ask Et-esh if she would like to explore it with me."
"Be careful. You are up in age and less agile if you climb in your exploring."
"I was agile enough for you last night."
"I am not a dangerous cave to explore."
"You are better. I cannot make a cave howl with pleasure."
"Eat!" Ojah commanded.
Chuckling softly, Ohnaà obediently plowed her wooden spoon into her stew.
Ohnaà strode to Et-esh's lodge. "Young one," she called. There was no reply. Curious, she rested an ear against the tepee's hide door flap, detecting moans and giggles. Smirking, she padded into the lodge to discover the naked war chief feverishly mounted the groaning Dukwukka upon their fur bed.
Startled, Et-esh turned her head.
Ohnaà burst into laughter.
"I'll be right with you, my friend," Et-esh panted. With a final thrust, she rolled off Dukwukka and rapidly dressed.
"I called but you did not hear me."
Flushed with embarrassment, Dukwukka wrapped himself in the fur blanket.
"Next time I will enter with a howling war party behind me."
"That will do."
"You are evil, Ohnaà."
"Dukwukka!" Et-esh hissed.
"She is! You did not hear her call and instead of leaving, Ohnaà intrudes. It was evil of her to sneak up on us."
Ohnaà ignored the outburst.
"Young one, would you like to join me exploring a new cave I found?"
Ohnaà led the way outside.
"Forgive Dukwukka's disrespect."
"I'm sure you will correct that."
Et-esh nodded emphatically. "Where is this cave?" she inquired as they neared the corral.
The warriors mounted up.
"For a new cave to sneak up on you--"
"When you do not look, you find."
Traveling the grasslands and past the yellow sulfur stone caves not far from camp, Ohnaà pointed to the granite cave mouth in the distance. Before they could approach closer, a carbine armed, gray-skinned Ossit, his multi-shelled earrings tipped with delicate silver chain strands, mounted a gaudy paint, led four howling braves armed with war clubs and carbines out of the cave.
Bellowing a challenging war cry, Ohnaà kicked Appaloosa into a gallop, Et-esh at her heels, both ignoring the Ossit gunfire.
The Ossit commander continued firing at Ohnaà. Two rounds struck beneath her collarbone, toppling her off Appaloosa. Another Ossit plowed into Et-esh, smacking her off her buckskin with a stone war club to the temple.
In rage, ignoring her bleeding wounds, Ohnaà charged the warrior. Seizing his ankle, she ripped him off his charger. Snarling, she snapped his neck. Reining up beside Ohnaà the Ossit boss slammed the butt of his carbine against her temple, felling her in a groggy heap. He signaled a subordinate to heave the senseless Et-esh over her sleepy-eyed buckskin. He motioned his remaining two men to harvest Ohnaà.
Springing to life, the Shesh-Amazoni hurled aside her captors. Dismounting, the scowling Ossit leader, Ree-oash, slammed his rifle butt hard against the back of Ohnaà's head. Checking to make sure the warrior was out cold, he slung her over Appaloosa.
Single file the Ossit invaders headed for home, leading their senseless prisoner's horses, ignoring their dead comrade. For days they journeyed grassland and prairie. Trotting through a canyon mouth, they entered the rocky terrain of the Ossit. Crossing several miles of rock and low scrub, Ree-oash's party entered their camp of domed brush lodges.
Beady-eyed children, their gray skins dirt-smudged, shell earringed, breechclouted barefoot warriors, their scalplocks slick with grease, and grass-skirted, multi-braided topless women, noses and sagging breasts pierced with gold ringlets, hurried to meet the arrivals, their multi-braided hair slapping against their sweaty gray backs. In hatred the Ossit people pelted the unconscious Amazoni with pebbles and desiccated horse dung, Ohnaà the brunt of resentment.
Ree-oash's enormous wife waddled beside her husband as the party continued toward the camp's center.
"You go boar hunting and return with nothing!"
"If you can stop complaining long enough, Mee-witch, you would notice that I have captured better than boar."
"You have an Amazoni and a Shesh."
"Stupid woman. They are both Amazoni. The big dark one is the Shesh-Amazoni, Ohnaà, our enemy."
"Why did you bring them?"
"Think, Mee-witch, think!" Ree-oash snarled.
"Mee-witch, deep in thought, rubbed her blubbery chins. "To hurt them!" she exclaimed.
Ree-oash's curt not sent his multi-shelled earrings tipped with delicate chain strands swinging.
Halting in the camp's heart, the Ossit riders dismounted.
"Stake the prisoners," Ree-oash commanded his men. He glared at his wife. "Prepare my stew."
Nodding, Mee-witch dashed off, the weight of her rebounding flesh stealing her breath.
Ree-oash turned to the warrior yanking the senseless Ohnaà off her horse.
"That woman of mine is as much an annoyance as Amazoni. If she did not keep me warm at night, I would have her staked her out as well."
Another brave dumped Et-esh to the ground beside her tahna.
Ree-oash stomped to his lodge for food, his chain decorated multi-shelled earrings swaying with each pounding step.
Lashed spread-eagled side by side, Ohnaà and Et-esh awakened ignoring their massive headaches and bloody wounds.
"If this was your idea of cave exploring, it was not a good one, my friend."
"Leave it to Ossit to spoil my plans."
A group of children gathered. Kneeling beside Ohnaà, one giggled while slapping at her bullet wounds. Another child kicked her in the leg.
"It would seem you are not liked much."
A child hurled a wad of dried horse dung into Et-esh's face, giggling at her sputtering.
"You are not faring much better."
The children raced away.
Et-esh occupied herself with twisting her wrists against their binding in an effort to loosen them while Ohnaà saved her ebbing strength.
Ree-oash approached accompanied by three warriors holding a sharpened stick glowing red hot.
"At last the mighty Ohnaà is defenseless. I will take great pleasure in hearing your screams."
Unnoticed Et-esh continued loosening her wrist restraints.
Ree-oash rested the glowing tip of his stick against Ohnaà's muscled right thigh.
"You will have to do better than that, Ossit dog," she snarled between clenched teeth.
Ree-oash dangled his burning poker dangerously close to Ohnaà's eyes while his men burned her arms.
Et-esh snapped her wrist bonds. Hastening to free her ankles, she leaped to her feet. Wrapping a muscled arm about the neck of one Ossit torturer she snapped it like a twig. Whipping out her knife she slit another's throat. With lightening speed she slashed the belly of the third Ossit. With a growl she downed Ree-oash with a fist to the jaw. She then cut Ohnaà loose.
Ree-oash struggled to his hands and knees.
Chased by screaming Ossit, Ohnaà and Et-esh ran toward the corral and mounted up. Weakened by her burns and bullet wounds, Ohnaà slumped against Appaloosa's dappled neck as she galloped behind Et-esh.
Utilizing a companion's lasso, Ree-oash tossed his loop, ripping Ohnaà off her horse.
Et-esh whirled her buckskin about.
Ohnaà struggled to her hands and knees. "Go, young one!" she commanded.
"I will not leave you!"
Ree-oash felled Ohnaà with a fist to her back.
Torn between the decree of her tahna and the desire to destroy Ree-oash, Et-esh realized she had no choice but to flee. Screeching a defiant war cry, she hastily departed.
Glaring down at Ohnaà sprawled at his feet, Ree-oash singled out two warriors from the crowd. "Bury the Shesh-Amazoni to her neck," he snarled. "Wrap the soaked rawhide band about her skull so it may be crushed as the band dries so we will be rid of her for good!"
Furious at losing the slippery war chief, Ree-oash scowled at the Amazoni's settling dust cloud.
Awakening with a high fever, her bullet wounds and burns festering, Ohnaà found herself neck deep in tightly packed earth, a smirking Ree-oash sitting inches away. Water from the constricting soaked rawhide band about her skull dribbled water into her tired bloodshot eyes.
"What a sight to behold you are, Shesh-Amazoni, defenseless and defeated. Soon you will die. Your reign will at last be ended."
Ohnaà chuckled. "You will have a long wait," she whispered. To further humiliate her captor she began to recount in song her triumphs over the Ossit people, her voice gradually gaining strength and volume with each chorus. Enraged, Ree-oash slapped her repeatedly but failed to silence her.
* * * * * * *
Slamming her heels into her exhausted buckskin's ribs, Et-esh thundered across the rocky terrain of the Ossit, the prairies and grasslands. Miles from home, her stallion collapsed with a squeal, tossing her over his head. Heaving, frothing at the mouth, the animal remained on his side.
With a grunt, Et-esh staggered to her feet. "I do not have time for this. Get up!" she ordered.
The buckskin whinnied.
"Stay then! But remember this. Upon your return to your beloved corral, I shall slay you for dishonoring your training as a runner."
With a snort the buckskin struggled to his feet.
Et-esh renewed her forced march.
* * * * * * *
Ohnaà's blood soaked head pounded with excruciating pain as the band of drying rawhide compressed her skull. Her chest heaved against the tightly packed earth about her torso. Below ground, maggots feasted upon her infected wounds. Her white cracked sun-burned lips bled. In fevered madness she ranted, laughed, and sang.
"You should be dead by now. Beg me to kill you!" the frustrated Ree-oash demanded.
Ohnaà responded with a burst of maniacal laughter before lapsing into blessed unconsciousness.
Ending her merciless several day drive, war chief Et-esh thundered into camp as twilight descended, her buckskin lathered and quaking. Medicine Woman bumped her way through the thickening crowd as Et-esh dismounted.
"Ohnaà and I were captured by Ossit who rushed us from a cave on our land that we were about to explore," she announced. "Ohnaà was shot. In the Ossit camp we were staked out. With hot sticks the Ossit burned Ohnaà as I freed myself. For a moment we escaped but Ohnaà was recaptured, too weak to fight. I did not want to leave her but she commanded me.
"We must return to the Ossit to save her! They must be punished!"
"It is a long way to the land of the Ossit," a warrior shouted. "Ohnaà could be dead by now."
The rumbling people nodded.
"Distance is nothing to us. If Ohnaà is dead, we should be proud knowing she died well, heaping shame upon Ossit with her bravery.
"Ten of the bravest shall accompany me in my rescue mission. We will meet at the corral where I will select a fresh horse."
"You will not go now, war chief," Medicine Woman decreed.
"You have no authority over my orders, shaman."
Medicine Woman shoved Et-esh to the ground.
"I am shaman and advisor, outranking you in age and experience."
Her exhaustion forgotten, Et-esh scrambled to her feet.
"Your experience is not in fighting our enemies."
"My experience is knowing that a rested warrior can best defeat her enemies. Ohnaà would expect you to follow that rule and I am here to enforce it. She would be outraged if you disobeyed. Do you wish to dishonor her?"
Her fury dissipating, the ashamed Et-esh shook her head.
"No, shaman. We will leave at sunrise."
Medicine Woman rested a comforting hand upon
"I will ask the spirits to keep breath within Ohnaà and give you strength. All will be well in the end. Come. I will tend your head wound."
Up before the sun, Et-esh began battle preparations. Rummaging beneath furs she found her large glass Trader jar containing two small paint bowls, trade mirror, two paint pouches, thin rawhide hair thongs, assorted metal and feathered hair ornaments and earrings.
It took several tries to unscrew the jar's tight metal cap. Pouring the jar's contents, she sorted through the pile, selecting two black gorak bird feathers and affixing them to a flaxen sidelock. The earring tipped with a thin, three inch long silver tube dangle was hooked through her pierced right ear. With a rawhide thong Et-esh tied her long flaxen hair into a ponytail. Mixing her red and black paint with water from her belt gourd, she stirred her colors smooth with a finger. Holding her trade mirror steady, she painted the right side of her face red, the left with vertical stripes of black. Cleansing her fingers of paint, she grabbed her loaded carbine resting beside the tepee door. Tossing a fleeting glance at the sleeping Dukwukka, she departed, jogging to the corral to meet her painted warriors armed with bows, war clubs and rifles. She mounted a black mare.
"I claim the Ossit leader whose shell earrings are tipped with thin Trader chain who hurt Ohnaà. No children shall be harmed as they did not capture her." Raising carbine overhead she led her avengers out of camp at a gallop.
Ohnaà's control over her pain was extraordinary, Ree-oash concluded. Another whose skull was gradually being crushed while being eaten alive by underground insects would be screeching for release within hours. Ohnaà defied the expected with soft groaning interspersed with fits of delirious singing and laughter.
Unable to open her eyes, knowing Ree-oash was compulsively locked in attendance, in fleeting lucidity, Ohnaà smirked.
"When does your torture begin?"
"You are well beyond its effects, Shesh-Amazoni. There is only the wait for your final breath."
"Ah yah! That will never happen, Ossit dung."
Inhaling a labored breath, her moment of lucidity gone, Ohnaà drifted into incomprehensible babbling.
Folding his arms across his chest, Ree-oash heaved a sigh.
* * * * * * *
After days of riding the Amazoni assailants topped the hill overlooking the bustling Ossit camp.
Shielding her eyes from the sun, the painted Et-esh scowled at the sight of her beloved Ohnaà buried to the neck, head drooped, suffering from the band slicing into her skull while Ree-oash sat patiently before her. Hoisting carbine overhead, she screeched the attack to begin with a shrill, bloodcurdling war cry.
Stampeding into the Ossit camp the enthusiastic Amazoni aggressors fired bows and carbines and swung their stone war clubs mightily. Topless women in dry grass skirts screamed hysterically as they scooped their crying children into their arms. Their multi-shelled earrings swinging wildly, scalplocked warriors dashed toward their brush lodges for weapons, only to be cut down before they could reach their destinations their death screams falling upon indifferent Amazoni ears.
War chief Chooka, rode down one gray-skinned Ossit warrior after another, shattering their skulls with her stone war club.
Leaping to his feet, Ree-oash witnessed the bloody battle, refusing to leave his captive.
Et-esh entered the lodge of a weeping elderly couple huddled in a corner.
"Do not harm us, I beg you," the terrified toothless warrior pleaded. "We are too old to do you harm. Take pity upon us. Let us die in peace when the time comes."
Et-esh callously shot the couple. "Your time is now," she snarled. Kneeling beside them she sliced off their scalps to add to her belt. Seizing a floor fur, she plunged it into the lodge fire and whipped its blazing edge against the brush walls. Only when the structure was engulfed in flames did she exit.
Thick black clouds of smoke arising from the destroyed encampment billowed their poison into the sky.
Et-esh collected her followers.
"There are many more to kill," Protested a blood spattered warrior holding aloft a bloody scalplock, standing over a dead Ossit with an arrow protruding from his throat.
"We have done enough. It is time to bring Ohnaà home."
The warrior grumbled as she tied her newest scalp to her bikini skins' waistband and mounted up.
Ree-oash, standing knife in hand beside Ohnaà, was surrounded.
"I have taken my vengeance upon your people not for capturing me, but for harming Ohnaà. We will free her."
Ripping the senseless Ohnaà's head back by a fistful of her bloody raven hair, Ree-oak lay his knife's blade against her throat.
"You will not be freeing anyone."
Et-esh glance settled upon one of her warriors behind Ree-oash, whose hand dropped upon the hilt of the Trader whip at her belt. She inclined her head an inch in approval. Her gaze returned to the Ossit, maintaining his notice by distraction.
"I have control over your precious Ohnaà. Approach me and I will kill her. Shoot me, I will cut her throat before I fall. Any way you look at it, I claim her."
The painted warrior behind Ree-oash unhooked her Trader whip from her belt.
"It would seem that you have me at a disadvantage after all, Ossit," Et-esh remarked.
"I knew you would see things my way."
The warrior snapped her lengthy whip's tail around Ree-oash's thick gray neck. Maintaining her hold she dismounted. Sidling beside him with a savage growl, she positioned strong hands upon her whip noose and yanked it about her foe's throat forcing him to his knees.
"Chooka, Ahsh-coash, help Ohnaà."
Rapidly liberated from her earthen tomb, Ohnaà was gently rested upon her back. Her saviors scowled at the sight of their tahna's maggot-infested bullet and burn wounds. With the tip of her dagger blade Ahsh-coash carefully sawed away at the stiff rawhide band encircling Ohnaà's bloody indented skull. The release of pressure elicited a screech of agony. Seconds later, Ohnaà lapsed into unconsciousness.
Et-esh strode to her warrior choking the Ossit who clawed desperately against the whip's strangling coils.
"Release him, Johtah."
Johtah tightened her snare.
"She who disobeys a war chief's orders forfeits her life."
Johtah glared at Et-esh.
"I am your best warrior!"
"One I wish to keep." Et-esh gripped her knife's onyx hilt. "I will not ask again."
With a snarl Johtah removed her whip from around the gasping Ossit. Seizing him by the scalplock she resentfully slammed his face against the dusty ground. Re-coiling her weapon she hooked it to her skins' waistband.
Et-esh's hand fell from her blade. She stared at the downed Ossit, who lay groaning and coughing.
"Do not think you are safe. I have my own plan for your punishment."
Et-esh turned to war chief Chooka.
"Retrieve Ohnaà's horse."
With a curt nod the young warrior mounted up and was off like a shot.
War chief Chooka's return with Ohnaà's mount solidified Et-esh's plan for the Ossit. Vaulting gracefully upon her charger she turned to the sour Joh-tah.
"Secure the Ossit's hands and give him to me. I will award him a final look at his village."
Unhooking her belt rope, the enthusiastic warrior forcibly bound Ree-oash and with a laugh slammed him to the ground with a mighty shove.
Whooping shrilly Et-esh was off, dragging the screaming Ossit through camp, bumping him over the dead and wounded, bulldozing him through the burned rubble of brush lodges, crashing him through blazing skeletons of meat racks and piles of spiky firewood, driving splinters into his cheeks, nostrils, and eyes, shredding his chest and arms. Ree-oash's agonized screams fueling her rage, Et-esh rode faster around the expansive circumference of the destroyed Ossit village before returning to her warriors. Dismounting, kneeling beside her captive, unsheathing her knife she seized Ree-oash's bristly scalplock, excising his hair his agonized yodeling making her giddy. Standing, she hefted her prize aloft with a shrill screech, inciting her warriors to acknowledge her deed. Securing the bloody trophy upon her scalpcord she went to the side of an awakened Ohnaà and kneeled. She wiped blood from her tahna's forehead with a callused palm, suppressing a shiver of revulsion at the deep laceration drilled by the hardened rawhide band. She rested a heavy hand upon Ohnaà's massive mahogany-skinned shoulder.
Ohnaà closed her eyes.
Annoyed by Ree-oash's caterwauling, Johtah delivered a mighty kick, the impact snapping a rib.
"We have lingered here long enough," Et-esh announced. "The stench of this camp upsets my stomach. Johtah, do Ohnaà the honor of planting the Ossit dog headfirst into the hole he dug. We will watch him die."
Dragging the sobbing Ree-oash by his gray bare foot, Johtah hauled him to the collapsed hole, widening it with powerful strokes. Chuckling, she hefted the Ossit's battered body by the ankles and rammed him headfirst into the hole with a mighty thump and filled the hole, leaving his flailing legs exposed. In a rare display of humor, she tickled the Ossit's flailing bare feet. Gradually his thrashing diminished until he moved no more.
Johtah and war chief Chooka lifted the weighty Ohnaà upon Appaloosa tying her feet and hands to him so she wouldn't topple off.
"We go now," Et-esh announced. "Medicine Woman has much to heal in Ohnaà."
As the sun rose higher, the Amazoni predators stampeded through the ignited rubble of the keening Ossit survivors, the life of the mighty Shesh-Amazoni saved.