Ok, here's my first Tékumel fan fic! I hope it won't be to bad and I'm hoping to be able to expand this story with a few parts.
It has been submitted to the Foundation but I hope now one gets angry if I post it straight away here as well. And if someone gets, I suppose it just be edited away.
I also understand that having English as a second language and being a relative newcomer to Tékumel may leave me at a disadvantage, but with the grace of the Almighty Gods it will be somewhat entertaining at least.
EDITED: broke up the walls of text and realizes how bad my English is on this piece
I'll have to revise that one with the next part.This work is unofficial and not approved for Tékumel.
Tékumel and its related products and materials are copyright © 1975 and 2010 by Prof. M.A.R. Barker.
This work is not intended in any way to infringe upon that copyright or other intellectual property rights of Prof. M.A.R. Barker.Voice of the Ancient TimesPart 1: Honor of GoldPOV:
Ijaro hiNi’vartu of the Tear of Iron Clan
The Dark Sigil Clan’s caravan moved at a leisurely pace along the paved road. Ijaro counted to twelve carts dragged by lumbering chléns, each filled with a mélange of goods, as they slowly made their way forward. A hundred slaves carried smaller loads or would be brought along for other reasons than simple labor. To these there were around thirty merchants in brightly colored kilts or loose dresses and around fifty guards. Evidently the Dark Sigil Clan had contemplated the possibility of trouble, but it was impossible to judge the character of the guards from the distance of at least four hundred feet, and thus how much of a trouble they would be. They could be former soldiers as well as simply armed slaves.
Ijaro however decided that he’d seen enough. No revelation would come to him unless some friendly god would suddenly decide to grace him. Lying in a small grove of Tiu trees some distance away from the road he crawled backwards and then slid down the back of the knoll where he’d been watching the caravan. Outside of view from the road he set his course toward his men’s position in the forest on a hill that rose among a checkered landscape of dná and rice fields and groves of various sorts of trees. Ijaro scampered across a dná field with a lone Clanhouse on his left. He saw figures milling about it, probably Clan mothers and children, and he hoped they and their kin would stay put and keep themselves out of trouble. In a sort of way he envied them, but he knew what he had to do and what the Clan demanded and the glory that his lán would grant him. Further ahead on a hill covered with thick and stubborn lálu-trees and their roof-like foliage and thick undergrowth, Ijaro found his men, all two hundred of them in all.
He made his way to the centre were his two heréksa were waiting. Of course they weren’t really heréksa but Ijaro constantly found himself slipping back into the army mindset. Jaegro and Igna, both of them tall men respected in the Clan for their strength and well liked to lots of friends, stood armed and ready in black chlén-hide armor and weapons, just like everyone one else of the assembled soldiers. Someone presented Ijaro’s his battleaxe and shield to him and he accepted with a nod, the other man bowed and steeped backwards. Ijaro felt the weight of the weapon in his hand and smiled. It was made from Chlén-hide with an inserted lead weight to produce a swing that would break bones and armor.
“The target is moving down the road according to the information from our customer”. He said and the soldiers closest around him turned their attention to him from whatever other activity they had been pursuing. “They number about half a kar-…” he remembered himself. Most of them knew well enough how to stab a sword but few had ever been in the legions. “They number about fifty combatants and three times that number of slaves and Clansmen. We have an advantage of four to one in spears. Get to your positions!” the instructions spread among the men and soon they were moving away to hide on both sides of the road, just behind a turn as the road wandered up the hill.
Jaegro took the right side and Igna the left. Ijaro himself and twenty men, handpicked among those he knew he could trust and that could fight, positioned themselves right there on the road. He would be cast to the Outer Portals of Kelkúùn before he struck from a hidden ambush like some nakomé. Ijaro knew that what he was doing was lán, for the Clan had agreed to the contract and it was only lán for him to fulfill it, but he still felt a sting of bússan somehow.
Nevertheless, the operation was planned well and carefully and so it should be over quickly. There was little traffic as it was here and no road police scheduled for many several days.
“Mighty Lord Chiténg! Aid us to water the earth with the blood of our enemies! Let our anger consume our fear!” He could feel the rest of the semétl joining him in calling upon the gods. Their Clan, the Iron Tear Clan was dedicated to the war gods above all else, and Ijaro had always felt the closest to mighty Lord Chiténg.
The caravan behaved as he had expected. It halted directly when it caught view of the semétl of black armored soldiers arranged across their path. The merchants looked mightily surprised but half the guards gathered themselves at the front fast enough. Those were probably hired guards from some low status soldier Clan, Ijaro decided. They acted with more cohesion than some wild jabbing rabble would, but they did not have uncompromising air of pride that a Clan of higher status would.
Up close Ijaro could see that their armor was clear red with green trimmings and with an unknown glyph. In their hands were spears and shields, with which they formed a shieldwall to match that of Ijaro’s own men. It was maybe twenty paces between them.
“Identify yourself!” Their leader, who had a crested helmet with some blue, red and green feathers in it, shouted. “Who are you and what do you want?”
“I am Ijaro hiNi’vartu of the Iron Tear Clan and I ask you to surrender your goods and lives to me, at once.” He could tell on the spearmen’s faces that they weren’t going to lie down and die on his command, but he felt that he should at least give them the offer of a quick death. “In exchange for a quick death, or an honorable death in single combat.” The men opposed to him starred in amusement at him.
“Never!” was the reply from the leader. “We have made a contract to protect these goods and that we shall as the Clan of Scarlet Lotus!” the man’s men cheered and banged their spears on their shields.
“Sound the signal.” Ijaro told the horn blower on his left, and at the long piercing sound black armored men emerged from the undergrowth all around the caravan. A solid group some thirty men stepped onto the road behind the caravan to block the escape.
The merchants and slaves looked about in quivering fear but while the guards stoically raised their arms. Ijaro raised his axe as and gestured forward, and they advanced down on the caravan. The man with the crested helmet held his sword towards the sky.
“We die lán in the sight of the gods!” he cried and the guards formed close ranks with each other.
“Lord Karakán!” and “Scarlet Lotus!” they shouted as Ijaro’s men descended down on them, and put them to the sword.
The Scarlet Lotus fought well, it couldn’t be denied. Two of his own men left this world and another five were wounded. Ijaro himself sought out the man with the crested helmet and drove his weapon from top, through the helmet and deep into the brains. He’d been well trained, but lacked the predator instinct and thoughtless feeling for the clash of arms that marked a true warrior. The merchants died in all manner of ways; some tried to barter, some pleaded for mercy, some tried to fight, some to run and some simply accepted the Skein that had been chosen for them. In the end it didn’t matter what they did, as they all left for the Islands. The slaves and chlén made a mess of things, as seemed to be their habit but died all the same no matter how much wailing and flaying about they did.
“Search the wagons and loads!” Ijaro called to his men as they made sure all the bodies were dead. “Gather up all the loot, but bring the tablets directly to me. And get some litters together for the wounded and fallen!” He cursed his men as fools for not having litter ready for them. What were they thinking?
It took almost the time for the sun to travel three fingers upon the heaven before they were ready to leave with their own losses on the litters and the tablets secured. They took as much as they could of the other goods with them to throw the road police off mark. The goods would later be disposed off on a more suitiable place. Ijaro ordered the tablets which had been carried by hand by twenty slaves and defended by five of the Scarlet Lotus, to be put in cloth and assigned a warrior to carry each of them.
They were shaped like a disc and roughly a hand across, with spiraling text crawling on it. It made no sense to Ijaro but he had been sent to obtain the tablets, not to read them. Then finally they set down the road towards the next part of the operation. Ijaro just hopped that everything else would go as smooth as this part had and they could all return to Itzáya without complications.POV:
Ereshku hiAv’zimuh of the Golden Bough
In the palace of Ereshku hiAv’zimuh, the lordly inhabitant was lying on a soft pile of mats and cushions while he listened to the gentle tones of a harpist from the Clan of Bright Sword. In the baking heat Ereshku was naked but still sweating like little else in his, supposedly, cool sub-street level retirement. He felt anxious but also eager for whatever news would reach him, or not, today. As a member of the Golden Bough he was among the most important people in the Palace of the Realm in Itzáya, but he wasn’t sure he would actually survive if he was caught with what he’d be part of. Inducements and bribes only went so far when another clan of high status was involved.
A dozen times he’d been close to canceling the whole affair but each time he stopped himself. This was his greatest and perhaps only chance. He left his worrying ambivalent thoughts and eyed the musician. It was a splendid young man with soft limbs, long black hair and delicate fingers that plucked at the harp’s strings. Ereshku’s thoughts wandered to if he should perhaps bed the youngster? The thought had occurred to him several times but each time something else had come up at the last moment. This time would be different, he smiled to himself.
“My lord”, a voice called to him from the left and the portal out. Ereshku turned towards the left and saw one of his servants from the Granite Lintel Clan in a grey kilt kneeling with his head down, as was appropriate.
“Speak.” Ereshku said and sighed. It seemed like it wouldn’t be this time either.
“A Quren hiNi’vartu, from the Iron Tear Clan, has come to seek an audience with you, honorable lord.” Ereshku jumped to his feet and called to one of the slaves sitting at the door to bring him a kilt and his yellow robe with the crimson flowery. He threw a longing look towards the harpist, who seemed not to notice the attention from his master, but had a smile both shy and sly on his face, as he carefully plucked the strings.
“Tell him that I shall receive him shortly. Bring him, and me, something cold to drink, but not too strong.”
Within a few minutes Ereshku entered the palace’s private audience chamber. Quren, a grey-haired wrinkled man in a grey kilt and a grey robe with knots of muscles on his aging body, bowed deeply and touched his forehead to the ground. Ereshku nodded and gave the old man permission to rise. Then he turned and gestured for his slaves and servants to leave them.
“No one may disturb us for any reasons.” He told them as they left. He looked at the muscled slave that he didn’t recognized, he supposed it could’ve been Quren’s as it was carrying a chest of wood that he was sure wasn’t his.
“Let Carry here stay with us, my lord” Quren said.”He won’t hear anything or tell anyone about it.” Ereshku nodded. A handy slave with a cruel master, he wagered. Personally felt ill just thinking about doing something like that to his own property.
“Speak your business.” Ereshku said although he almost certainly knew what it was and he felt feverish.
“Honorable lord, I have come to deliver the items you requested as part of the contract.” Quren said a backed to Carry. He opened the chest which revealed black cloth and as he pulled the textile back Ereshku could see grey stone discs. He came over to the slave with round eyes. Quren bowed and backed as Ereshku picked up one of the stone discs. The Bednálljan text was running in a spiral, starting in the center and running round and round until the final part lied in the outermost rim.
“You have done well to honor the contract and you shall have your well earned pay.” He told the old man as his fingers gently caressed the item. “You have done very well indeed.”