November 3, 2014
This weekly Serial began 7/14/14
After a long and very strange journey, the trio climbed up onto a giant plateau that overlooked the jungle. Jack marveled over how, in just a couple of weeks travel, he had passed from a lifeless desert into a thick jungle covered with life. Small streams teeming with frogs replaced the endless fields of grey gravel. Moss and clinging vines covered the trees they passed under.
Huth-allan-nith had recovered that morning and although Jack doubted he should be traveling, the young warrior has insisted they press on. Jack hoped that meant they were close and Huth-allan-nith just wanted to get home. Before too long, Jack realized that he’d been more correct than he might have imagined.
It started with well worn trails cutting through the forest. Then small idols carved out of wood stood upright as certain intersections. It pleased the Stalwart to see that more than one of them resembled Yig.
When hoots sounded in the forest, he drew a throwing knife, but Mythcul laid a gentle hand over Jack’s forearm while whispering something in his language. Soon at least a dozen warriors, who resembled Huth-allan-nith, emerged from the thick jungle.
Embraces and quick conversations passed between his allies and these men, while many glared at Jack with open hostility.
Mythcul stepped forward and with a sweep of his arm introduced Jack. Primus couldn’t be sure what the man said about him, but it caused the others to fall silent. When the silence remained, even after the group took up the march, it left Jack feeling more than a bit uncertain. What could they have said about me that would make these men switch their moods so quickly?
But then such thoughts fell into the background when the trail opened up into a large village. The village was walled, but the wide gate stood open and Jack could see log houses that looked more fit for Vikings that what he would have expected for these people.
Women gathered their children into their arms and all eyes stayed on him as they entered the clearing in the center of the village. Perhaps eighty buildings circled the growing group of villagers that came to take him in. Whispers that had started with the men that guided them there quickly circulated through the people. A hush replaced the whispers and Mythcul hurried to lead Jack into an older home that sat apart from the others.
He opened the door and gestured for Jack to head inside. A thin layer of dust and in a few places, moss covered the sparse furniture. A small stack of wood lay unused near a fire pit that lined one wall. A few older and broken weapons leaned against another wall and under these lay some dusty animal skins.
Mythcul made a swirling gesture with his finger and said a single word. Then he said the word “Caradon.”
“Was the owner of this house killed by a Caradon?”
Whether Mythcul understood his words or not, he nodded and then without another word turned and left Jack there.
Jack felt like he had a million things to do and learn, but he’d also been marching and battling Xemmoni for the last two weeks. He figured a day of rest wouldn’t harm anything and it was the least he owed himself. So after making a small fire, he cleaned off the furs, and laid himself to rest.
* * *
Darkness had fallen when something disturbed his slumber. After all he’d been through, he assumed the worst and jerked up with his hand axe already filling his hands.
But instead of a new threat, two young and very attractive women had entered his house baring wooden plates overflowing with food. Yet he barely noticed the smattering of meats and fruits for not only were these two beauties some of the most amazing women he had ever seen, they were also each topless and besides their flowing river of ebony hair, only the briefest of leather skirts graced their nimble bodies.
From the looks on their faces, they had been asked to deliver more to him than food. After setting down the plates they got on all fours and slowly advanced toward him.
Jack was just thinking to himself, what the hell, you only live once… when his snake erupted from his furs and raced toward the girls hissing.
They fell back screaking and as one rushed from the cabin.
“Great,” Jack said, while looking down at his serpent slash lover. “It figures I’d hook up with a jealous snake.”
He grabbed up some food and took a few bites, but then laid back on his furs with a sigh. “Might as well just get some sleep then,” he grumbled, but his serpent lover had other ideas. She teased him until he became a snake as well and gave her what she was looking for.
Against his better judgment, he remained a serpent and after an intense bout of serpentine love making they stayed curled within each other’s forms until dawn.
To be continued next Monday