tagSci-Fi & FantasyDemon Child Ch. 04

Demon Child Ch. 04


Chapter 4: Neekah is named a demon.

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Neekah opened her eyes. Jhardron was not in the tent. The light was bright coming into the opening of the tent. She had been awake much of the night trying to calm the nervous shakes that cascaded over her body. When Jhardron had stopped her outside the tent he had frightened her terribly. As he put the knife to her neck she had thought he was going to kill her for sure. Then he had removed the rope around her neck, a gesture of trust. She could still feel the warmth of his arms as they had caught her as she stumbled, a warmth that had caused her heart to race. She sensed his flash of hunger for her. Her feelings were in a terrible turmoil. Once she finally fell asleep she dreamed the dream of flying again, flying and the sound of pounding hooves.

Her thoughts strayed back to Harnum and the other men. She felt a delicious shudder tremble up from her loins as she thought about the feeling of their hands, mouths, and their hard manhoods filling her endlessly. It had seemed that she had felt their pleasure as well as her own, that there had been no barriers between their senses. The storm of out of control feelings had frightened her in many ways but triggered a powerful curiosity in her as well. She wondered if they would do it to her again. She wondered if Jhardron would touch her like that.

She was thirsty and needed to make water. Carefully picking up the precious square of folded blue cloth, she carefully scooted to the opening and looked out. Jhardron was standing in front of his tent talking to a small group of warriors. She crept out and sat in the early morning sun. Unfolding the cloth she laid it over her head and shoulders and tied it in a knot around her head. She saw Jhardron glance at her and she softly put her fingers up to her neck and smiled softly.

Jhardron pointed at a pot on the fire and nodded. Neekah carefully scooped a bowl of the morning porridge and offered it to him. He shook his head, pushing the bowl back at her. She carefully ate the food, using a spoon like she had seen others use the day before. Afterward she went and drank from the bucket at the side of the tent, rinsed the bowl and spoon and returned them next to the cooking pot. Neekah stood, her feet moving nervously, wondering what would happen next, wishing she could communicate her need to walk away from camp.

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Jhardron was distracted by the appearance of the girl. It seemed her every appearance chased away all thoughts of duty. He had little time to watch over captives. It was below his status of Khan. To have her share his tent was distraction he did not need. He needed to find another place for her to sleep. He was no longer worried that she may try to escape, as much as about finding a safe place for her. He needed to find someone else to be in charge of the training of this new ha'akh.

He watched as Kwal'kek came out of his large tent and bellowed for the boys to assemble for inspection. The grizzled warrior marched up and down berating them for their lateness and broadly criticizing them on their posture and hygiene. Jhardron grinned, the loud gruff old warrior acted as both quartermaster and drill Sergeant for the regiment. Jhardron would have been reluctant to give additional responsibilities to him, but Klektor had been assigned to assist him. He would have more time. Nodding to himself, he walked over to where the paunchy old man was marching up and down in front of the row of ramrod straight youths.

Once Kwal'kek finished bullying the boys, he gave them their assignments for the morning. Turning to his Khan he nodded, "I am getting soft. Back when I first joined the Twisted Dagger, first years would have been up and drilling before the morning star rose in the sky." His deep rough voice warmed up to tell another long story of his youth.

Jhardron smiled and interrupted him. "I trust your judgment in the training of the boys. They are learning quickly. I am especially impressed with Tim'kah. He will make a fine warrior." Tim'kah was Kwal'kek's great nephew and had joined the Twisted Dagger under the sponsorship of his uncle. Kwal'kek swelled with pride, his hands clasped across his fat stomach.

Jhardron frowned in frustration, "Kwal'kek, I seek your help. I come to you because of your experience and skills in training the young warriors."

The old warrior stood at attention before his Khan, proud that he still had worth even though most of his fighting days were over. "I am proud to serve the Twisted Dagger."

"This girl seems to have a lot of potential. I am sure with the right guidance she will bring honor to the regiment. She is exotic looking and the rumor is that she brings great luck to a man when he honors the goddess with her. No other regiment has such a fine ha'akh. Unfortunately she lived among the mud people. She is ignorant of the simplest of ways to behave. I need a good man who can teach her the ways of the Bak and at the same time keep her safe from the warriors sniffing around her."

Kwal'kek looked wary. He knew where this was going. He also knew it would be his duty to follow his Khan's orders no matter what they were. Jhardron continued, "I have told Klektor to assist you with the training of the boys so you will have more time to work with the girl. I would expect she will be able to help you with your quartermaster duties. She learns quickly and is very motivated to learn our language."

Jhardron was mildly amused as he watched the old man go from puffed up pride to frustrated confusion. "But Khan, I know nothing about the training of girls."

"It cannot be so much different than the training of the young warriors." Jhardron added, almost as an afterthought, "She will need a place to stay other than my tent. I cannot be bothered. You seem to have ample room in yours." Jhardron hid his smile as he spun on his heel and walked away. Kwal'kek was practically sputtering in protests.

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Kwal'kek was still making protests, mumbling to himself, "My tent? What does he think that I am some kind of auntie?" He walked up to the girl. "Ha'akh tet!" His voice, sharp and harsh, rang with the confidence. He was used to giving orders and more used to having them obeyed.

The girl looked at him and then looked at Jhardron's retreating form. Her eyes shifted back to him and she took a hesitant step in his direction, halting just out of reach. Her odd gray eyes flashed up at him warily. Impatient with this slow response to his direction, Kwal'kek growled in irritation and stepped forward, reaching to take her arm. She flinched and taking an involuntary step back, cowered down onto the ground, her arms coming up to protect her head. Kwal'kek hesitated; this was not the response he had anticipated. The young warriors in training were used to his rough orders, in fact they expected it. Obviously this girl would need a different approach.

Grumbling to himself, "...not so much different..." He reached down and took hold of her wrist. More softly he once again said, "Ha'akh tet," and firmly but with gentle force, pulled her to stand, Keeping a firm grasp, he walked to the front of his tent and pointed to the ground.

The girl looked at the ground and grimaced. She suddenly squirmed and stood on one foot, clenching her knees together. Reaching between her legs she pressed against her venya, soft words of her strange language bursting out of her lips, her face changing to a strange color of red. Kwal'kek had to struggle to not laugh. "This will be like training a baby... by the gods Khan; I know nothing of infants or girls." Gesturing for her to follow, he ordered in this new softer tone, "Ha'akh tet." He set off toward the latrine pits.


Neekah's heart sank as Jhardron turned her over to another of the men of the camp. She looked warily at this one. He was old, much older than any of the other warriors, all the hair of his crest shone silver in the morning light. Heavy lines, etched by years in the sun, creased his face. He was broadly built with heavy shoulders, and a large stomach pushing out the front of his tunic. She could tell he was angry. His harsh tone set off waves of fear coursing through her, almost blanking out her desperate need to pee.

The grizzled old warrior made a menacing sound and stepped toward her, his hand reaching for her. Neekah shrank from him, cowering down, ready to protect herself. Looking up at him she could sense the change in him from anger to a kind of impatient understanding. This time, his voice was softer as he pulled her back to her feet and led her toward another tent and pointed for her to sit. Neekah was dismayed, she knew she was about to lose control of her bladder, clutching at herself, pressing hard to stop the flow she knew was about to burst from her, she began to plead in her native language, "Please, please, I have to make water."

The corner of his mouth twitched and his eyes dancing, he led her away from the tents. Neekah sighed in relief as she could finally let loose of the water. The old warrior turned her to face the latrine area and pointed, "Stent Ekh." Neekah nodded and repeated and then pointed at him and tipped her head to one side, making a small questioning tone in her throat.

"Kwal'kek Hak Bak'Tai Twisted Dagger."

Neekah nodded and repeated "Kwal'kek."

He nodded, "Ha," and headed back toward the camp. Neekah trotted to keep up.

Neekah's morning sped by, the old warrior kept her by his side as he moved around the camp checking on the young warriors in his charge. He frequently pointed out objects and people as he walked, telling her the names and drilling her on the new words. He had her help him with the moving of food supplies from the wagons to the man who busied himself around the cook fires making the food for the warriors. He was a good teacher and soon Neekah found she was able to understand many of the simple phases he used to talk with her.

The young warriors came together in the camp in midday. They ate a quick meal of dried meat and porridge left over from the morning. Kwal'kek sat on a sturdy box and spoke at length, his hands waving dramatically. The boys followed his every word, nodding and murmuring as he lectured them. Neekah sat to one side listening carefully, listening for any words she could understand.

After they had finished their meal, Kwal'kek barked some orders and one of the boys went into the large tent. He came out carrying an armload of wooden scimitars. All the young warriors stood and moved as a group toward the horse pastures. For the first time Neekah noticed a warrior walking with them. This was not a boy; this was a man in his prime, heavily scarred, carrying the twin scimitars of a full Bak warrior. He held himself rigidly tall, his face impassive, but Neekah could feel rage in his heart.

At the horse pasture, Kwal'kek had each of the boys pair off and began to drill them in use to their wooden scimitars. Kwal'kek and the other warrior moved among them, correcting posture, demonstrating attacks and parries. Neekah, accustomed to following Kwal'kek throughout the morning, continued to follow closely.

Suddenly the warrior whirled and grabbed her arm in a tight grip. He thrust his face into hers and shouted some words. Just as quickly he released her, thrusting her away from him violently enough for her to stumble and fall to her knees. Neekah huddled on the ground shocked by the unexpected attack, confused as to what she had done wrong.

All the movement had stopped. The young warriors' eyes were on the scene of the girl cowering on the ground and the angry warrior looming over her. Kwal'kek marched up and said something in a scathing tone. He then turned and barked some orders at the boys. They hastily returned to their sword practice. Kwal'kek leaned down and pulled Neekah to her feet. He led her to one side and pointed at the ground, telling her to sit.

Neekah watched as the warrior returned to his teaching. His orders were sharp and impatient. His demonstrations were harsh and violent. The blows from his wooden sword fell hard on the boys as they attempted to defend themselves. Neekah winced in sympathy as he smashed a particularly brutal slash across Tim'kah's chest, knocking the boy to the ground. Tim'kah was quick to roll back his feet and resume fighting, seemingly unshaken by the blow. Neekah found herself increasingly impressed with the enthusiasm and courage of the young warriors as they faced their exacting teacher.

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Finally Kwal'kek called the exercise to a halt and the group moved back to the tents. Kwal'kek had the boys line up and inspected them. He frowned at the signs of the blows on their bodies, their dark skin concealed the marks of the bruises but he could see welts and swelling on nearly every limb. It was normal for a young warrior to be bruised and battered after a training session. Klektor's rough training was harsh but not beyond normal limits. A warrior needed to be able to withstand pain and keep fighting. This training would toughen the boys. Kwal'kek praised the boys for their bravery and stoicism.

The old warrior pulled a large box from his tent and began to teach them about first aid for their various scrapes and bruises. The girl crept closer as he opened containers of salves and bandages. Many of the salves had familiar smells, awakening memories of her childhood and the smoky hut of the witchdoctor. She carefully pointed at one of the ointment jars and then pointed at the burn on her arm.

Kwal'kek raised his eyebrow and nodded. He handed a small clay jar to her and watched as she sniffed the contents. She wrinkled her nose and shook her head. She handed the small jar back and moved over to the box he had taken it out of. Increasingly curious Kwal'kek watched as she carefully opened and sniffed several containers. Suddenly she stopped and nodded with satisfaction. She carefully began to daub light layer of the burn ointment over the crusted burn of her brand.

Kwal'kek's had watched in surprise. The girl seemed to have some knowledge of medicine. He held up another small vial holding a strong sleep drug and showed it to her. She sniffed it and then carefully touched a fingertip, tasted and then spat. She gave a thoughtful frown and then laid her head on her hand and closed her eyes, pretending to fall asleep.

Kwal'kek smiled. "Someone has taught you something of medicine. It is a good skill for a ha'akh of the Twisted Dagger to have. I will have to add that to your training."

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As the afternoon shadows began to lengthen into evening, the warriors began to congregate in the camp for the evening meal. Jhardron led a group of five tall men to the tent where Neekah sat at the feet of Kwal'kek surrounded by the first year warriors. Kwal'kek was regaling the group about battles of his youth.

Jhardron reached and took her hand, lifting her to her feet. He placed her hand in the hand of warrior and said a short phrase to the warrior. Neekah could sense the tension and sexual anticipation among the warriors. She felt a rush of nervous excitement as she was led from the tents.

This time their hands were urgent and hurried, but they did not hurt her. Her mind awash with the excitement of the men around her, Neekah surrendered herself to their needs. They held her gently, their warm hands and curious fingers touching, their bodies crowding close around her. Their strong arms supporting her, their hot mouths nipping gently on her skin, as she opened herself to their sweet plunges into her hot depths. Once more she found herself lost in a world of cascading sensations, seeming to feel both her own and the men's around her. Her cries of ecstasy rang in her ears.

Neekah came back to herself as she was being carried in the strong arms a warrior, her arms wrapped tightly around his neck, her head resting gently on his chest. She sighed and burrowed her face into the warm hard muscles. He waded deep into the creek and gently lowered her into the cold water. Neekah gasped and giggled as the sudden chill chased the fog from her mind. There was a definite bounce to her step and a soft smile on her face as she walked back to the camp.

Neekah hesitated, and then walked toward her usual place in front of Jhardron's tent when Kwal'kek called to her, gesturing for her to come to him. She stopped and looked toward him confused. He called again, this time pointing at his tent. Neekah recognized the words to come sit.

Neekah came to sit next to the box Kwal'kek used for a chair. He had spread a skin on the ground and was arranging the contents of his medicine box carefully counting and sorting the contents. He named each jar and bunch of herbs as he laid them on the skin. After each, he would point to her and Neekah would repeat. One time she when she recognized a common herb for the treatment of loose bowels she pointed at her stomach and giggled, making a soft juicy fart sound. Kwal'kek laughed with her.

Neekah was so absorbed in helping with the medicines she did not at first notice the small group of men that had joined with her had returned. Looking up, she smiled at them, still feeling the warm soft connection of the pleasure they had shared together. The oldest stepped forward and held out a small shiny object. Neekah looked at Kwal'kek, unsure of what was expected of her, still unaccustomed to accepting gifts. Kwal'kek nodded in encouragement.

Neekah hesitantly held out her hand and the warrior gently placed a length of cord with a carved stone bead into her palm. Her eyes lit up and she tried out one of her new words. "Thank you." The warriors responded with the traditional, "It is a small thing."

Neekah looked closely at the necklace in her hand. It was a length of intricately braided horse hair. It was red much like the color of her hair and the bead was a similarly colored stone. Rich reddish orange, the translucent stone was a faceted cylinder with the piercing lengthwise. She slipped the necklace over her head and held the cool stone bead up to her cheek.

Kwal'kek returned to naming the herbs and medicines, calling Neekah's attention back to the task. They continued together naming and repeating until the evening shadows made it difficult to see. Neekah helped return the contents back into the medicine box. Kwal'kek stood and carried the box back into his tent, telling her to follow.

Kwal'kek's tent was larger than all the other tents. Inside was packed with the boxes and bags of all the items needed to keep a regiment moving: medicine, food, spare weapons, clothing, arrows, and what loot they had been able to glean from the poor villages they had sacked.

Neekah could see a drape hanging in the back corner. Kwal'kek pulled aside the curtain and pointed to the small space behind it. A skin and a softly tanned leopard hide made up a sleeping mat. Kwal'kek pointed at the bed and then at Neekah. She made a soft sound in her throat and reached out touching the rich soft fur, her trembling hand gently stroking across the spots.

She did not dream that night as she slept cuddled in her blanket.

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Neekah woke in the night to the loud pounding of hooves crashing through the camp and the loud shouts of guards. She jumped up and pulled aside her curtain when Kwal'kek's hand pushed her back down on her bed and he sharply told her to stay. She lay listening to the hurried conversations in the dark. Soon all was quiet again and she heard the old man grunting as he lowered himself to his bed once more.

When she woke again it was early morning and she could hear a great deal of movement and voices in the camp. The camp was a different place when she came out of the tent. No cooking fires were going, several of the tents were gone and the first year warriors were busy taking down another.

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