|The Petal Throne
|The Hand in Darkness
|Page 1 of 1|
|Author:||Gurkhal [ Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:42 pm ]|
|Post subject:||The Hand in Darkness|
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.
While I am working on the longer piece named as "The Voice of the Ancients" I'm posting this short story. It involves one of the two main sides in the previously mentioned story. I hope you enjoy it!
EDIT: I decided to throw up the other parts as well. No sense in keeping it away. And I also added the disclaimer, which I had forgot.
POV: Adjhia hiKoréng
Adjhia moved as silent as he could over the floor stone of the Clanhouse with his senses searching for signs of other nocturnal wanderers. On the walls around him were paintings with a thousand motives in a thousand ways. He wasn't sure what half of them meant but he didn't really care. Its all just some old painter who'd made them so the nobles can feel so refined and sophisticated. What Adjhia did know was however that they would have his hide if they caught him here without an invitation to his “betters'” quarters. If any of them would survive a hard day's work as a soldier or merchant I will eat my sandals. A large door with a silver surface towered before him and shielded that old hag Imalena hiKúgesh in her chambers. He took the measure of the construct; at least thrice as wide as a burly man and five times as high. Extravagance is their nature but damn anyone else who has a taste of the same. On the gate were men going around with some cups, mirrors and sacrificing someone on an altar with a small triangular device on it. He guessed it was some ritual or myth from the past for the Ksárulites. As far as Adjhia was concerned only Lord Hrü'ü's teachings of doing what you wanted when you wanted it, was worth following. The Lords of Chaos would themselves praise my name themselves if I tore down all those self-righteous nobles and priests. The Doomed Prince can rot in his blue room for all I care. The same for the so-called priests of Hrü'ü or Wurú. They are just the same.
He softly put his hands on the door and pushed but without effect. But he knew a trick that was almost certain to work. Slaves are everywhere and always in fear of their master's wrath. He knocked on the door, one, two, three times. After a short while the left half of the door gleaned open to reveal a man's face that looked out.
“Your business?” the slave asked and gave Adjhia a skeptical look. As master as slave.
“I bring a message from Kiryanu hiKoréng,” he told her and an held up a signet ring with the Kóreng lineage's version of the Clan symbol. The slave wouldn't dare to not inform his mistress of the messenger or he would taste the whip for it. “And I would rather come in than wait here like a slave.”
“Come in, but wait here.” the slave said and allowed Adjhia into the antechamber. The slave opened the gate's left part for Adjhia to pass through and then turned and started to walk toward the next chamber that lead into the inner suit of chambers. It was then Adjhia bolted forward and landed a heavy blow at the base of the slave's head. He fell to the floor without a sound. Easy. Adjhia looked around in the antechamber where mats, cushions, wall paintings and a big mosaic on the floor marked it as very different from the quarters of his own lineage. The difference enraged him even further. On a table standing against the wall he noticed a black mirror with a silver rim. It must be worth something. He quickly slid over to the table and picked it up. No divine wrath here to strike me down. He smiled. It had been more or less as he'd expected. He went after the door, but stopped at the downed slave. He would be able to tell my identity when the others came. And he is property to that bitch Imalena hiKúgesh. He sneered and produced a a small knife from his kilt. Then he bent down and cut the slave's throat.
POV: Imalena hiKúgesh
The old man looked ill at ease before his better. And that he should. She faced him across a short table on a colorful red, yellow and orange mat with a twisting pattern around a black trio of dancing women of indeterminable age but generous forms. On the table between them were a jug with wine and two cups, all made of silver. She could understand the man's discomfort but it didn't concern her. My concern is the Clan and my lineage, not the ne'er-do-wells of a merchant lineage that can't keep their own to decent manners.
“We will of course compensate you for this.” the old man said, his eyes flickered towards her face and then turned down to the table. Yes you will, but not with gold or trinkets this time. “I will personally discipline Adjhia for this.” No you won't. You may wish to try but I will discipline this scoundrel once and for all. “He will never even think of doing something like this again.” The old man installed some strength in his words.
“I am afraid that it is too late for that now.” she said and watched the man's eyes, they tried to look at her but fled her gaze. She wondered if he had anticipate that it would come to this. It should certainly not have come as any surprise. “My lineage's appointed investigator has identified the culprit beyond a doubt and you know his history. This time he has done even more than enough to test and break our patience with our Clan-cousin.” The man screwed on his place.
“He has certainly failed us but a tour to the Edifice of the Humble Mind of Servitude will surely make him understand and appreciate the situation. My lineage will naturally finance it and send him as soon as I return. I have already been in contact with the monastery and there is a place ready. Nothing teaches humility as hard work.” True but he should have learned the lesson years ago. She really admired his patronage of his charges, fitting and noble for the elder of the lineage. But it was to late for a time in the monastery to solve this and he should know that.
“No.” she said. “It won't be enough. He has stolen from his Clan, slandered his betters, destroyed the Clan's property and intruded where he has no right or privilege to be without invitation or permission. Have you heard what he's been saying? Utter ignobility and the talk of the Victory of Purple Brotherhood. He is a blemish on his Temple, Clan, lineage and the empire itself!”
“Has he confessed it?” the man asked with a string of hope. Imalena pitied him as she extinguished it.
“He has professed sympathy for the Victory of Purple Brotherhood. An ignobility that cannot well be accepted by our Clan.”She said and then she knew that he would not resist her demand. To be cursed with a such ungrateful imbecile I pity you. I am really doing you a favor by removing this bloat from your lineage. Gods alone knows how much humiliation he has brought us.
“I request, no I demand, that Adjhia hiKoréng is declared nakomé. After that my lineage shall see that we claim our shamátl from him.” The man stared straight into the table.
“Will you excuse me, honorable one?” he said faintly.
“Of course.” She lifted her cup.
POV Orun hiKúgesh
The nakomé was naked except for loincloths and and his bruised body showed red, blue and purple evidence of the price that elder Imalena had put on the man's ignobility. A cloth bag was put over the man's head and for that Orun felt relieved. Brutalization and disfigurement was nothing he cherished and likely the head was as brutalized as the rest of the body. He'll serve his purpose well enough. He turned to the basalt altar in the center of the chamber. Eight braziers burned at regular intervals, and between them and the altar were the black dressed priests, four men and four women, in full ritual attire. From behind his silver mask Orun saw the two priests in black and purple who were holding the nakomé. His name was Didja or something. A real troublemaker from what they say. And next to the priests of Lord Grugánu were two slaves, one male and female tied together and looked about with reserved fear. On the altar was the Clan's most cherished artifact from the glorious past, the Black Mirror. It was shaped like a three sided pyramid with gold rams and pitch black mirrors on the sides. The eight priests' voiced rose in chorus to chant the ritual's oral part, at the command of the senior priestess. The words of the chant were certainly not Tsolyáni or directly related to it, but strange and not entirely pleasant for the vocal cords. The eight of them raised their arms before them and their open palms toward the altar and the Black Mirror. This rite hasn't been conducted for millennium and now I'm part of it! Gods know how Imalena got to it! The chanting rose toward its zenith and the priests with the nakomé dragged the sacrifice to the altar One of the guards produced an obsidian knife in his hand and cut the man's throat with one quick movement. A crimson stream fell down on the Black Mirror and ran along its sides. And then black smoke rose from the mirrors. At first it was but tiny tendrils but as more blood ran the smoke grew in quantity with unnatural speed and in a heartbeat the chamber was filling. The senior priestess, Sirjisa hiKúgesh called as she was obscured by the growing black cloud.
“Hear us, Lord of the Black Smoke!” she clapped her hands eight times and resumed her position. “We give you the blood of our kin await your glory!” The entire room grew dimmer as the smoke filled it. Then Orun heard rasping on the floor like from claws, and there was a hideous scream from a woman. He remained in his position and listened to the rasping sound until the next scream came, this time from a man. The smoke which warped itself around him seemed thicker, almost solid. He breathed deep, or tried to do so but he only managed to draw in the oily substance which left him coughing. Where is the door? On the opposite side of the chamber, of course! The rasping sound was moving again, this time he was sure it was at the left and moving towards him. He started to move to the right. I have to get out of here before I choke! Then the steeps stopped. Orun touched his hand to the wall on the right and followed it through the smoke as silently as he could and tried to swallow his coughing. As he rounded the chamber his fingers traced over the walls' extensive reliefs and he noticed how the smoke was dispersing itself. Impossible, there's no exit for it. But it still went away, and he stared at the Black Mirror as the last of the smoke seeped back into the black surface of the item. The nakomé's body lied spent at the altar and the two slaves were gone. The two priests who had carried the sacrifice was at the door and the others were spread out along the wall. Thank the Doomed Prince that the mask hides my fear. It was then that Orun noticed a small object on the altar next to the Black Mirror. It was a small globe the size of a fist. With hesitation, least the smoke would pour out again, he took a few steeps closer and saw the blue and purple patterns twisting themselves like oil in water inside the darkness.
|Author:||Newt [ Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:58 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: The Hand in Darkness|
|Author:||Gurkhal [ Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:34 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: The Hand in Darkness|
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