Moth Ch. 029byellynei©
Copyright of Nanna Marker 2010.
"Please," begged the woman, both her shaky, bloody, arms reaching. "Take me. Take me now, I beg of you."
It glanced back in the direction the seer was reaching and there he stood, the pale, handsome, young man.
"He won't help you," it said. "He never does. He just watches and waits."
"Please," begged the seer, still reaching for Death.
"I intend to let you live a long time yet," it stated, grabbing hold of the seer's face and turning it back to it.
"No," wept the seer. "Please, no."
It cut her again and she screamed.
"Tell me what I want to know," it said. "Tell me and I will cut deep enough for him to touch you." It pointed at Death.
"It hurts," wept the seer. "Please stop."
Hope filled its body. This seer was weaker than the others. This one had given up any pretence of not knowing what it wanted far sooner than any of the others. It had barely begun and already this woman was begging for Death's touch.
"Didn't you know that this would happen to you?" it asked. "Didn't you know I was coming? Didn't you know I would kill anyone you should ask to protect you?"
"No," wept the seer, shaking her head, tears and blood mixing on her cheeks.
"You poor little thing," it said, but it had no sympathy in its heart. All it had inside was the joy of the woman's suffering and its longing for what it sought.
It cut again and the woman's screams were the ultimate song.
"Do you enjoy the music we make?" it asked Death, smiling at him.
Death turned his eyes to its but didn't speak.
"How will you touch her when I give her to you?" it asked. "Will you kiss her lips? Her forehead? Or will you just take her hand?" It didn't really care. That which it enjoyed, was the time it kept him waiting.
It cut again. It didn't need to reiterate its request. The woman knew what it wanted.
"Please," screamed the seer, again reaching for Death. "For his sake. Take me for his sake. I can't resist much longer."
"His sake?" it hissed. "How dare you!" In one swipe it cut off four of the seer's fingers.
"How dare you!" it screamed, and cut, and cut, and...
It jumped away from the seer, not to kill her too fast.
The woman was screaming, stupidly holding on to her hand keeping blood from spurting out fast where her fingers had been attached.
It certainly wouldn't remind her that bleeding was in her best interest. It struggled with itself to regain control of its anger. It needed to tie something around that hand for the seer not to die too fast.
This one would send it in the right direction. This one knew, and this one would tell. The woman was too weak too lie.
"One of the new kids has some sight in him," said Zoa.
"We already have all the information we need," said Keme, releasing his arrow. It flew past the target, but at least it was closer than the last had been.
"He is having nightmares," said Zoa.
"I'm not sending home more weak ones," snarled Keme. "Even if they flee during combat they will still serve as a distraction."
"He has dreams of us attacking too early," continued Zoa.
Keme pulled another arrow and set it to his bow.
"You're not planning on ignoring what Evelin told you, are you?"
"Are you stupid?" snarled Keme. "I want the monster dead. We won't be too early and we won't be too late. If that kid dreams of anything else then he is just having nightmares."
Keme released his arrow and it hit the border of the target.
"You might as well stop dulling your arrowheads," said Zoa. "There isn't enough time for you to get good enough to kill anything."
Keme grabbed a new arrow.
"Making fresh arrows keeps the weak ones calm," he snarled. "It keeps them busy during the day, and keeps them from fleeing at night."
Keme released the arrow.
"The kid insists it is visions," said Zoa.
"What's his name?"
"Vumanesco?" snarled Keme. "What kind of a name is that?"
"Well, Zoa. I'll put on a friendly face, look him in the eye, and tell him that we aren't going to attack early. If there is any seer in him at all, he will know that I'm not lying."
"That was the last one," said his Lei. Wrapping the latest bow in a dry straw.
"I guess we will be traveling soon then," said Kokata. He was looking forward to it.
"Actually I was hoping I could count on you to stay here," said his Lei, her eyes full of apology.
"Why would I do that?" asked Kokata, too surprised to be angry.
"The fall orchids are blossoming," explained Lei. "They only do that for a few days. I'll need a lot of their petals for winter. Somebody has to gather them."
"We can wait a few days before leaving then," said Kokata.
"As soon as the fall orchids wither, I will need to gather bleak-berry."
"The bleak-berries won't be ripe until very late fall," objected Kokata.
"It's not the ripe ones I need, Black. I need them when they are just between ripe and green. It's to mix with the tea I'll make from the fall orchid petals."
"We can go after that then," said Kokata with a sigh. It was starting to feel like his woman didn't want him along.
"After the bleak-berries we have to travel in the other direction to get apple-skin."
"Apple-skin," snarled Kokata.
"I need that too, its for the winter tea," apologised Lei.
"Tea," snarled Kokata.
"I need it," apologised Lei. "Normal winter diet isn't good enough for pregnant women."
"You're obsessing with that again?" snarled Kokata. "You've been acting pregnant since spring. Don't you think its about time you slow down and wait for it to actually happen?"
"I'm more than a moon overdue, Black," said Lei, apologetically.
"I haven't bled for more than two months."
Kokata blinked and tried to remember when his woman had last been sleeping with full-bum, cotton filled panties.
"You mean this time you really could be pregnant?" he asked.
"I'm not sure," said Lei. "I don't feel pregnant."
"You don't 'feel' pregnant?" asked Kokata, a grin growing on his face. Every time his woman had 'felt' pregnant, she hadn't been.
"But, if I am, I'll need that tea when winter comes, and by then it will be too late to gather the ingredients. So, I wanted us to gather it, just in case."
"Two months?" asked Kokata again. "And you don't 'feel' pregnant at all?"
"Yeah, but maybe I'll start bleeding tomorrow," she said, and shrugged. "It's probably just a fluke. You can go with me to the village. I shouldn't keep you home for no reason."
Submitted to literotica.com by the author.
"Oh, no, no. I'm just as happy staying behind," lied Kokata. "You know how it is with me and people. I'm fine alone. Tell me more about this winter tea for pregnant women."
Kokata had looked forward to visiting his friends in the beetle village, and he feared the prospect of his Lei travelling alone through the forest, and he most certainly didn't look forward to being alone for days, but if she was really pregnant it would be good to get an early confirmation from the healer.
He had a lot of work ahead of him. He couldn't let Lei slave herself through fall if she was pregnant, and the only way to keep her from doing that would be to get all the work done sooner than she wanted it done.
"You have to listen to me," insisted the annoying forest-moth, banging her hand down on his table.
"Watch your manners, peasant," warned the officer, scowling menacingly at the woman.
"I have travelled a very long time to get here." The moth was more yelling than speaking. "Since I've arrived I've been sent from person to person. What's wrong with you termites? If this is the Emperor's system then he must be stark raving mad."
The officer jumped to his feet.
"Seize her," he yelled, waving at his guardsman.
"What?" yelled the forest-moth. "Get your hands off me."
The officer's eyes went wide as his guardsman fell to the floor with a wordless whimper, all four of his arms covering his privates. The woman had thrown a fist to his face and kneed him in the balls.
"Guards," yelled the officer.
"Shut up and listen to me," snapped the crazy moth-woman.
"GUARDS," screamed the officer and fumbled for his sword. He was an official officer, he had never trained for combat.
"Shut up," snapped the moth-woman. "Now listen to me. I've been sent by a seer."
The officer finally managed to get his sword out of the sheath and raise it, it was wiggling from side to side in tune with the shaking of his hand.
"Oh knock it off," said the woman from her side of the table. "I'm not here to fight. I'm here to get a message through to your emperor-guy."
Guards finally streamed into the room.
"Grab her," insisted the officer, pointing his quivering sword at the mad-woman. "She is guilty of assaulting an imperial guard and of speaking insult of the Emperor himself."
"Don't you dare touch me. Any of you," snarled the woman, grabbing behind her back.
The officer guessed she was grabbing for the bow which she had complained about not being allowed to bring.
"She's dangerous," warned the officer, still keeping his wavering sword, and the table, between himself and the woman. "And insane."
Kokata hadn't faced nights and days this long since winter. It was as if he had forgotten how much time there actually was between two sunsets. He had trouble sleeping, all he got of that was random naps here and there.
It didn't matter much.
With Lei he had slept in the day and been up in the night, but really any time of day was the same to him. Contrary to Lei's, his eyes were good in both night and day.
Kokata sighed deeply and returned his focus to the tree-trunk mushroom. It was ten times the size of his body and had yellowish skin and white meat.
He had skinned half of it the night Lei had told him she was overdue and didn't feel pregnant. Since then he had come back every night to cut off and gather the dried out surface. He'd seen moths and butterflies do that back in the days when he still bothered to spy on people. It was said to be tasteless, but nourishing, and, if treated well, could last longer than a winter.
His Lei would never be at a risk of starving as long as he was around. He'd store countless carcasses for winter, and if needed could also find fresh prey during winter itself. He even knew how to make fire and cook meat. But, he wasn't sure a moth-belly would take kindly to large amounts of meat, especially not a baby-brewing moth-belly, so he would make sure to stock thoroughly on more mothy food.
Kokata sighed again. Four more days was an eternity away.
His bag was full, so he closed it, tied a knot, threw it onto his back, and took a new bag from the bag-bag that dangled against his belly. With four legs he held onto the bark of the trunk, with two he held the bag open, and with two he cut dry pieces off the mushroom.
His ears caught a very familiar sound and his breath caught in his throat. It couldn't be her. Those flapping wings had to be a moth-beast. Except it did sound exactly like hers. Kokata shook his head at himself, and resumed his work, and his breathing. Lei had only been gone two nights, she would reach the village sometime this night.
Out of the corner of his eye, Kokata caught a glimpse of greyish white wings with black stripes. Lei's colours.
"Did you forget something?" he asked, turning to look at his woman.
His smile froze to a grimace as he found himself staring into an arrow aimed directly at his vulnerable throat. If the man released it, not even Kokata could outjump its flight, not at this close range.
"Identify yourself," demanded the moth-man.
Kokata forced his eyes off the tip of the arrow and moved them to the man's face. He had an uncanny resemblance to Lei.
"I'm Black," said Kokata.
"I can see that," said the man, his clothes were worn down and dirty, he looked like someone who had travelled far. "Now tell me your real name and don't lie."
"What's my name to you?" snarled Kokata.
"What is your life to you?" countered the man. The tip of his arrow moved in precise tune with the flapping of his wings, its aim constantly exact. The man was obviously an excellent bow user. Most moths were.
"My name is Kokata," snarled Kokata, spitting out the hated word.
"Just the man I was looking for," said the man and lowered his bow.
Kokata eyed him suspiciously, considering whether he should jump out and disarm him while it was safe.
"I don't mind calling you Black if you prefer," said the man, depositing his arrow in his quiver. "I just wanted to be absolutely sure you were the spider I'm looking for."
"Met a lot of spiders lately?" snarled Kokata, who had never come across another spider with mind.
"You're the first," admitted the man and shrugged. "But I haven't been in Altwar all that long."
"Who are you?" snarled Kokata.
"My name is Valo," said the man. "But you can call me 'dad'."
"Dad?" Kokata dug his feet harder into the bark's ridges not to fall to the ground. Was his father a moth? Why, after all this time, would he seek him out now? And how?
"Good lad," said the man, smiling approvingly. "But damn you're ugly. I don't know how she could fall for you. I guess you must have more than meets the eye."
Kokata's head was spinning.
"Now, where's my daughter?" asked the man who wanted to be called 'dad'.
"Daughter?" asked Kokata, trying to gather pieces. "Lei?"
"Yes," stated the man, looking about. "Where is she."
"Lei is not my sister," stated Kokata.
The man eyed him with a strange look on his face, Kokata got the distinct impression that the man had started to doubt his mental capacity.
"You are her man, aren't you?" asked the moth-man, speaking very slowly.
"Yes," snarled Kokata.
"I am her father," worded the moth and pointed to himself as if speaking to a very small and very stupid child. "That makes you my son-in-law, son."
"Va-lo," worded the man. "She must have talked about me."
"You must be the guy who shot her friend in the leg," snarled Kokata. "That's all she ever told me about her father."
Sadness passed over the moth-man's face but was instantly replaced by hard determination.
"I've come to warn you," said the man. "Both of you. You're in great danger. I need to see her whether she wants to see me or not."
Posted on literotica.com with permission of author: Nanna Marker; literotica ID ellynei.