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16+ Violence Mature Content

Kagiso: Chapter 3

by AyumiGosu17

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence and mature content.

The clan heeded Cihua's words, avoiding the strangers as much as they could. When the hunters stalked or the gatherers browsed, they retreated at the first sounds of metal against the underbrush. Of course, not everyone listened, though. Ueman was caught stalking them, watching the strangers carve their road a couple of times. A younger woman, Noyel, was also curious, and observed the strangers at their camp one night during the black moon. She didn't return after her scolding from Mazat and Pateli. The third time Ueman was caught, he got a bow slapped across his back and a handful of braids cut short.

About a week after the first sighting of the strangers, Cihua grabbed his spear. The blade was chiseled out of flat, gray stone, and he had a cord of woven leather with two rounded pieces of wood tied to each end. "Mazat! Leuris, Ueman! Eluia! Come. We go for the fat horn-nose."

Mazat grabbed his spear. "We rarely hunt those. Why now?"

Cihua sighed. "With the strangers here, we cannot hunt as often as before. We must make larger kills in order to sustain our clan."

The others gathered with them, Eluia carrying her bow in one hand and a knife in the other. Cihua gestured to them, "That won't do much good against the horn-nose. Get a spear, girl."

"I don't have one. I can help run it this time."

Ueman smirked. "Ah, save the kill for one of us then? You get enough blood already?"

Eluia smirked, looking at him sideways. "Considering I don't miss…"

The men chuckled. Mazat smiled at her, warm and approving. He enjoyed this new boldness.

Cihua also smiled. "Very well. Let's go, then." They headed into the jungles.

The caravan was in good stride, cutting into the jungle. The trees, however, seemed to realize they were there. They were thicker, closer together, and heavier. The wood resisted the blades, and every now and then, Gael thought he heard a groan or whimper sift through the branches. He panted, skin glistening with sweat as he worked beside Andrien, Felic, and Mauger. The other three were talking.

Felic started it. "I like mine untouched. Makes a man feel good, knowing he's the first one to get it, you know?"

Mauger snorted. "Aye, but you also got to listen to them cry. Why do they always cry after the first one?"

"They don't."

"And how many have you actually had?"

A pause, then he blushed a little. "...one."

Andrien chuckled. "Exactly. Although he does make a good point. Knowing you're the first one she's had, it is something proud."

Mauger snorted. "Ah, keep your pride. I like mine a little broke in. They fit better, they react better, and hey, some of them you don't have to do the work yourself!" Gael shook his head, though he couldn't help but smile a little at Felic's expression. Mauger continued on, much to the young man's embarrassed delight, "I knew a girl from Keaton, gods she was…" He stopped walking and chopping so he could trace a thick, voluptuous figure out of the air. "She didn't need encouragement. Give her a slap on the ass and take her back, she would throw you on the bed and squat on it. She also wasn't shy about the tongue--"

"God, you're disgusting," Felic retorted, shaking his head. They all chuckled. Andrien clapped Felic on the back.

"What about you, Gael? What's your fancy? Or your kind not really into that?"

The man smirked and chuckled. "Oh, we are. And I really don't care how broke or fresh she is, but I do know this: You can keep the whores all day or night. I'd rather not shrivel before I'm forty."

Mauger glowered a little, though a smirk played at the corners of his mouth. It was Felic's turn to laugh. The man finally retorted, "Alright, I will. The more, the merrier. Maybe I'll get two at a time, next time we're in town. Or three."

Gael's blade cut through a frond, and there was a short section of grass in front of them. He also heard something charging, heavy feet pounding on the forest floor in a fast rhythm of four. As it came closer, he heard branches snapping and low grunting, and finally it seemed like it was upon them. He grabbed Felic by the arm and pulled him back as a beast, as tall as their shoulders, barrel girthed, with gray, leathery skin broke through the brush. It charged only a few feet in front of them. A horn rose out of its nose, splitting to form a thick Y. The men swore at the sudden appearance of the rhinoceros, but that wasn't the only surprise. As soon as it retreated into the woods again, two humans of copper skin broke right after it. The one closest to Gael caught his gaze at the same time and gasped.

Mauger yelled. "Wildlings!" Without hesitation, he swung his blade at the pair as two more appeared out of the brush.

The taller one from the first pair brought up his spear, using the shaft to deflect Mauger's strike. Felic charged the smaller one, fueled by Mauger's impulse. Gael blinked. "Stop! What are you doing?!"

Mauger and the tall one clashed. His sword chipped at the spear shaft, and sparks flew when he parried off the wildling's returned assault. Another one ran up, shielding the smallest of them from Felic. But Felic made quick work of him, sinking his blade into the arm and knocking him back.

Gael moved forward. At the same time, horse hooves. Eduoard barreled in on his palomino stallion, crossbow in hand. He took one look at the situation and lifted the heavy weapon, firing a bolt into the fray. The first one struck the warrior in the shoulder. He buried a second one into the old man's chest. Two more of Eduoard's men charged, one raising another crossbow and the other charging in with a sword.

Gael swallowed. He turned to Eduoard. "There's no need for this! They're hunting!"

"They're wildlings. Heathens!"

"We attacked them! Call it off!"

Eduoard spurred his horse. Behind Gael, the wildlings were trying to retreat into the woods. The two larger hunters were supporting the old man, with the smaller one trailing them. The men lifted their crossbows and fired, one bolt hitting the tall warrior in the back of the ribs, and the other one sank into the small one's thigh. The cry that came from those lips was not the cry of a man or boy, but a woman. She staggered, falling onto hands and knees as Mauger charged at her from behind, sword up.

Gael bolted. He extended his hand, and the gem on his wrist gave a flicker. He swung his open hand up and across, in a sweeping motion, and a gust pushed Mauger sideways. He stumbled off into the brush instead.

Gael stopped beside her. Fierce, wild amber eyes looked back up at him, cutting into him as if she were willing hands to materialize and stab him through thin air. Eduoard brought his horse up almost on top of him. It reared and squealed, tossing its head. "Stand aside."

"I will not. This is a woman. An injured, abandoned woman, who cannot keep up with her clan! She's harmless to you now."

"Stand. Aside."

"I'll stand aside when you flog Mauger for an unwarranted assault! We crossed paths by chance, and he took first blood! No warning. No question. No thought." Gael pointed down at her. She was holding her bleeding thigh, a couple of tears trailing down her cheek as she looked into the woods for the others. They were gone. "She is not at fault here. She's wounded, she's alone, she's young. I will not stand aside and condone murder. Captain."

Felic shifted anxiously. He looked down. The other soldiers watched Eduoard and Gael, both men leaden with fierce assertion. The captain huffed and finally looked at Mauger. "Who took the first blow?"

"Those wild bastards --"

Gael hissed at him in Elvish.

Andrien also interrupted. "You lie. You took the first blow. They were running a beast, and it led them to us blindly. The encounter was by chance, captain. Those people - the wildlings - meant us no harm until Mauger struck out against them."

The other soldiers glanced around. There was some muttering, too low and overlapping to be coherent. The captain stared at Gael. He finally huffed. "Get back to work." Without a second glance, he turned and returned to the caravan, where the people had gathered to watch and listen.

Gael released the breath he didn't know he had been holding. He turned back to her. She whimpered and tried to stand, but the crossbow bolt was embedded deep into the side of her knee. She couldn't move it. He knelt by her and reached for her leg.

She saw the motion and slapped his hand. She hissed, almost cat-like. He froze and watched her, brow still furrowed with anger though his eyes were losing their heat. He reached for the bolt again, and once again got slapped. She hit him harder this time and grabbed a thick branch for emphasis.

Gael swallowed. He bit his lip and peered directly into her eyes. He felt a weakness there, her guards thin from the pain and terror of being left behind. He focused into that weakness, pushing a single thought toward it. He wanted to remove the bolt. He wanted to help. Slowly, as she stared back, her arm relaxed. It slowly melted down and her knuckles no longer glowed white. She swallowed and watched him, eyes darting back and forth between the bolt in her leg, his hands, and his eyes. He nodded to her. She swallowed again and nodded back to him.

He glanced at the caravan. Chrestien and Joel were approaching. They stared at the wildling girl, and Gael read both fear and wonder in their eyes. "I need something to stop the bleeding. Chrestien, do you think we can put her in your wagon? She won't be able to walk for a few days."

The merchant nodded; Joel hurried off back to the caravan. Chrestien knelt beside Gael, a few feet away from her. "She's young. She doesn't look any older than Fleurette."

"She's not. Maybe sixteen. Just right to be married in her clan. That's why we need to get her home. She may have someone waiting for her."

"Let's hope it's not a babe. That would be awful." He was quiet for a moment. "Pardon me asking, but how do you plan to get her home? We just attacked her people, maybe killed a couple. We can't exactly waltz in there now."

"No. But we can get her well enough to return on her own. We're going slow enough that we shouldn't get too far."

Chrestien nodded. "Fair enough."

Joel trotted back over. He handed Gael a leather band and a couple folds of linen cloth. "Here. This should help with the bleeding." He offered him a vial next. "Wine, to clean the wound."

Gael nodded. "Good. Thank you." He glanced at her again and nodded. When she returned it, he finally touched her. He tied the leather band around her thigh, pulling it tight, then took hold of the bolt shaft. She tensed immediately. He swallowed and braced his hand against her thigh and put the pressure on it, pulling back on the crossbow bolt until he felt it click between his fingers. She whimpered and squeezed the branch. He kept pulling until finally it pulled out of her thigh. She gave in and screamed, melting down onto the ground as her body shook with agony. He couldn't comfort her, though. Blood ran from the wound. He splashed one of the cloths with wine and pressed it hard to her wound. She cried out again, wailing at what he knew was the burn. Wine was not kind to wounds. He didn't let go, though, watching as the cloth slowly absorbed her vibrant life essence. He pressed a second fold against it and held on tighter, but it didn't seem to slow the flow.

"Joel, are you able to sew it?" Gael muttered.

The man stammered. "I-I'm sure I can. Will she let me?"

"She will if I hold her."

"Well, alright, I… I guess so, then. Let me get there, then."

Gael shifted closer to her head, to where she had melted in a sobbing heap on the floor. He laid his hand on her shoulder, and she instantly reacted. She squealed and slapped at him. He took a hit to the nose before he was able to restrain her arms, holding her in a vice grip between his arms. He held her against his chest as Chrestien steadied her leg enough for Joel to complete his work. She cried loudly, until her voice was graveled with exhaustion and no more tears fell from her eyes. When he was finished with her leg, he sponged it with the wine again and wrapped it in clean linen. She sagged against Gael, eyes half shut.

Eduoard watched, brow furrowed deep, as Chrestien helped pick the limp young woman up and carry her back to his wagon. Gael felt the eyes on him and looked at the captain. He caught his gaze and held it, staring back at him. Anger filled him again.

The captain turned away.

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83 Reviews

Points: 10511
Reviews: 83

Sun Jan 31, 2021 12:28 am
WaterSpout wrote a review...

Hello, AyumiGosu17, hope you're having a great day!
I just wanna say that this chapter got me interested in the book, but it seems you haven't uploaded chapter 4. But I'm not blaming you or anything, I don't know if you have something else going on. But anyways, I'll get started.
So first off, the beginning got me all confused, but that's because I haven't read the last two chapters. It's not that I don't care about them, it's just that this happens to be the one I saw. But I may read them.

The caravan was in good stride, cutting into the jungle. The trees, however, seemed to realize they were there. They were thicker, closer together, and heavier. The wood resisted the blades, and every now and then, Gael thought he heard a groan or whimper sift through the branches. He panted, skin glistening with sweat as he worked beside Andrien, Felic, and Mauger. The other three were talking.

Another thing, the part where you suddenly mentioned Gael caught me off guard. I checked back to see if I missed it, but it appears that you did suddenly mention him. Again, this is because I haven't read the whole story, but maybe add some sort of transition so it would be clearer to the reader..? I mean, I'm just suggesting.

"I don't have one. I can help run it this time."

Ueman smirked. "Ah, save the kill for one of us then? You get enough blood already?"

Eluia smirked, looking at him sideways. "Considering I don't miss…"

The men chuckled. Mazat smiled at her, warm and approving. He enjoyed this new boldness.

Cihua also smiled. "Very well. Let's go, then." They headed into the jungles.

One thing I gotta complement this book is the character interactions. It's not robotic or artificial, it's natural. And I love that. Thank you.

"Well, alright, I… I guess so, then. Let me get there, then."

Kinda repetitive, unless that's some mix of the character and the situation.

And I think that's all I have to say. I really enjoyed this chapter, and I'm sure other readers did as well, so keep it up!

AyumiGosu17 says...

Thank you! I'm saving all of my edits on my original document. Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 are posted. <3

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672 Reviews

Points: 81482
Reviews: 672

Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:28 pm
Plume wrote a review...

Hi! Plume here, with a review!!

I really loved this installment of your work! I think I reviewed the one that came before this, and I really like the direction this story is heading! I love how you've combined the two different characters you've introduced in the previous two installments to drive the storyline along, and I'm so excited to see where you go with this!!

One thing I am continually impressed by is your writing voice. You have a way of captivating the reader. Your writing is so professional it almost doesn't feel like I'm reading it. It's more like I'm experiencing it as it happens. Your characters are distinct, your words blend seamlessly together... it's really great, is what I'm trying to say. Nice job!!

Your sentence variation is also good. It's not something most writers think about consciously, and I'm not sure if you do, either, but it's really great. I think it's part of what makes your writing sound so professional. You've got great sentence lengths, and enough variation that it never gets monotonous or boring to read. It's clear but still enjoyable. So, good on ya.

One thing that was a little confusing, however, was when you switched from Eluia and her clan to the caravan with Gael. It had been a while since I'd read your work, and I kinda forgot people's names, so I didn't realize it was another perspective until the two groups met. I think you could make it more obvious in a way; now it kinda all blends in together. Try putting a little symbol, like a line or something, or just increasing the white space so it clues the reader into the fact that it's changing perspectives.

I don't really have any specific criticism. Your work is pretty spot-on, grammar wise.

Overall, nice job!! It sounds super professional and polished and you should be proud. It was a privilege to read. Keep writing!!

AyumiGosu17 says...

True! I'll have to add that in. Thanks again!

Positive anything is better than negative nothing.
— Elbert Hubbard