tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 10

Life as a New Hire Ch. 10

byFinalStand©

This story plays fast and loose with Ancient History and Linguistics; be warned.

Two editors and four other contributors made this chapter come together. The mistakes are all mine.

Saving a life isn't about worthiness. It is about instinct and guts.


*****

(Friday)

Since I liked to think that life encouraging me with bruises, punctures, cuts and concussions made me smarter, I had scheduled some eleven o'clock gym time most of the week so to avoid the whole lunch and after-work crowds. Aya and I went to the 'Others' gym, which was nice, but wasn't as complete as the Full/Pure-blood one. Most notable was the lack of weapons.

Aya's and my trip to the 'Other' gym on Friday hit a snag. Aya clued in on the fact that I was avoiding the Pure-blood facility. We talked about it. I explained I wasn't a Pure-blood. Her counter-argument was she was and I should confront my fears. Yes, I lost an argument with a nine year old.

I have talked a nineteen year old, promise ring virgin into nameless sex in an airport stall. Aya was an unassailable wall of resolve that dashed all of my ploys into so many useless words. I found myself entering the real 'No Man's Land' twice in less than a week. Not only was I hard-headed, I was also obviously soft-hearted.

At the last moment, I imagined I had a reprieve. I didn't have to tell Aya how I got in the first time - grabbing an open door. I could swipe my card, have it rejected and move on to safer pursuits. Sure enough, my card failed. Aya's didn't - mother-puss-bucket! Upon entering, the twenty, or so women in the place looked at me...and Aya.

I recognized somebody. It was Constanza, Elsa's chief evil henchwoman. Our eyes met. She smiled in a way that assured me she vividly recalled our last encounter. It should be of no surprise that I insulted her somewhere in the process. It's how I roll. I smiled back at Constanza and gave her a nod before setting up Aya and me for our workout routine.

Constanza was not mollified in the slightest. She was patiently waiting - for something. I decided that Aya would be my sole focus and banished the other women from my mind. The munchkin could tell the difference and relayed that to me with her happiness. After twenty minutes, she decided her time with the machines was done and her minutes were better spent resting against, or sitting on, me.

My cock was reminding me that it was approaching 36 torturous hours without sex. It was also pointing out that there were thirty available, sexually inquisitive women achingly close. I reminded my penis that being relocated was probably as fun-less as it sounded. That bought me some time. We finished up our sojourn by walking the wall, going over the weapon racks.

Mainly we went over the ones various members of her family were proficient with. Aya still had problems with even the most basic ones. The words 'let me help you' spilled out of my mouth. There were two problems; Aya's tiny size and the fact that all the weapons were very dangerous. Even the leaf-shaped short blade was too heavy for her so we ended up screwing around instead.

I picked up two Iron Age style axes. The blades were more of a thick wedge than the broad axe heads of medieval fame. They were less effective in delivering damage, compensating somewhat in their reduced weight. I've convinced a Jewish girl to have sex in a synagogue despite me not being Jewish yet this child was twirling me around her pinkie finger.

I was entertaining her with some exotic, flamboyant moves wielding two axes while Aya clapped her hands and giggled when I felt a stranger approach me on the sparring mat. I had been hopping around keeping all my weight on my right leg until that moment. I turned to face the woman, putting my left behind me yet while keeping it firmly on the ground.

I also drew my axes up, crossing them over my chest, blades pointing past my shoulders.

"I have never seen that technique before," she addressed me. That and what followed was all in the Amazon tongue.

"It is more of a fantasy creation. I had a love affair with pseudo-archaic movies that always do the crazy, two-weapon stuff so my mentor helped me create this method," I explained.

"Has it ever been tested?" she continued.

"I am Cáel Nyilas," I answered, "and yes, my mentor preferred using a poleaxe, or a mace/shield combo against me."

"Oneida," she seemed amused. "We will see how well you have been tested."

"May I request a favor?" I tried to keep my cool. She pulled out one of those damn spears.

"Yes," she seemed intrigued.

"Can you call someone over to sit with Aya? I don't want her to accidently set foot on the mat," I beseeched.

"Drusilla, please aid me," Oneida summoned an observer. The woman had heard my appeal and settled beside the nervous, kneeling Aya.

"Cáel, please be careful," Aya pleaded.

"Who me?" I chuckled. "I'm impervious to all man-made contrivances."

"Every weapon in this room was crafted by women," Oneida snorted.

"That would certainly explain my full-body bruising and the hole in my leg," I grinned back. I caught Oneida trying to sneak closer to me. My axes came to a ready position and I charged. I was sure some sort of medic would punish me for this later.

She got off two jabs then I was all over her. I knew how to fight a two and a half meter spear. She had no clue how to plot out two incoming weapons with an extra meter of reach. The first time I drove her off the mat. The second time, I got inside her guard and clocked her in the temple with the back end of an axe head. I quickly hopped back three paces, knelt and put my axes on the mat.

The rush to get me was stillborn. A few did come to stand over me while two others checked on Oneida who quickly came around.

"What happened?" were Oneida's first, shaky words.

"He hit you," one of her companions answered.

"With what - the Moon?" Oneida mumbled as they helped her up. "My ears are still ringing."

"My turn," Constanza announced. She went for a spear, blade, and round leather-covered, wicker shield.

"Give Cáel a moment to rest," Aya appealed. "He has been fighting longer."

No such luck. I was halfway to exhausted as well. Fighting with two weapons pretty much means just that - twice the fight. Kinetically speaking, I was burning around 80% more calories than my one weapon opponents. I was wielding axes, not fighting sticks after all. In my favor was a deep wellspring of stamina and my Will reinforced by my desire to not upset Aya.

What little time I was given wasn't out of charity. A second Amazon was joining the struggle. I could back off, but I felt Constanza would enforce an intense level of groveling solely to grind up Aya emotionally. She didn't hate Aya. Aya was an avenue to really hurt me and we both knew it. For a second, when I hobbled off the mat, there were chuckles. I had fled.

That ended as I began retrieving some select weapons from the wall racks. Sword harnesses came in two varieties; belted and shoulder slings. I took two shoulder slings and two more axes. I affixed my two 'spare' axes with leather straps. As I turned to the mat, Constanza had decided to be clever. She and her buddy had closed to within three meters of the edge.

They would box me in as soon as my second foot touched down on the mat.

"Please back up," I requested. Constanza smiled with supreme confidence. I smiled back. This was going to be dangerous, agonizing and unorthodox - totally me. I began backing up.

"Cáel," Aya murmured. "Don't let them hurt you."

"Running away?" Constanza sneered.

"Aya, wickedness is the expedience of the weak," I nodded her way. "Do you think I can win?"

"Of course," Aya sighed happily. "I am by your side." I laughed. I charged. The Amazons did the precisely wrong thing - the stepped up to meet me.

You keep thrusting weapons, like spears, aimed at the central part of the body. This allows you to deviate your projection anywhere from the thighs to the face. This does imply you know where the central part of the enemy will be. This was not playschool. Real weapons - real damage - real death. They didn't have to kill me. It didn't mean they wouldn't.

I leapt. I didn't leap at them, I leapt over them. Let's not forget I'm pretty freaking strong. My left leg shot-gunned pain straight to the brain but held it together. I sailed over their thrusting spear points, flipped my axes down so that they would impact the mats first. The flat tops of the axe heads impacted the mat and my body rose up and then flipped over them.

This gave me an extra meter and a half on my back flip. I turned that maneuver into summersault, giving three more meters of space. I rolled over to my side and rode the momentum to my feet, facing my adversaries. Now they were the ones in the corner of the mat with their enemy pinning them in and I wasn't done yet.

With all my might, I hurled my right-handed axe at Constanza's companion. She did exactly what I thought she'd do. She saw the throw halfway in motion and raised her shield up - right where I wanted it. Amazon shields aren't what most people think shields are today. They think medieval knights, or more appropriately, the shields of the Greek hoplites.

The Amazons date back 700 years before those Greeks and they weren't heavy infantry anyway. Amazons moved light and fast. Consequently, their shields were light - wicker constructs with layers of leather stretched over the frame. Great for deflecting light weapons; not so great for what I was about to do.

The steel axe head shattered the top half of the wicker frame. It saved her life, but now she had this useless object strapped to her arm. It also had the added bonus of knocking her back while Constanza engaged me alone. Her first jab forced me to jump back, but I still was able to draw my first spare axe.

My luck with women held up a little longer. The other Amazon hesitated just long enough to remove her shattered shield. Alone with Constanza, I attacked. She thrust, I captured her spear head between my axe handles and yanked her forward. We kicked out simultaneously. Her off-balanced strike brushed past my abused left leg. My right kick hit her shield and knocked her down.

Her grip on the spear slipped and I propelled it somewhere behind me. Constanza pulled off a reverse summersaulted while drawing her short blade. A really nice move. Unfortunately, it moved her away from the chick with the spear, who hesitated again. This time she took the thrown axe straight to the head - back end impacting. I didn't want to kill her.

Constanza anticipated my next action. It came down to position, distance, and stride length and they all favored me. We raced to the downed companion. My left-handed axes flat side slammed into her forehead, rendering her unconscious, and I kicked her spear off the mat - out of bounds. I slowly backed away from Constanza and readied my second spare axe.

"Retire from the field," I panted. I was physically failing fast.

"Why should I?" Constanza glared. "You are about to fall over."

"Aya won't let me fall," I stared her down. "You couldn't beat me with a companion and a spear, Constanza. Do you really think a shield and sword will work any better."

"Let's find out," she charged. I really needed the short breather to recover somewhat.

The short Amazon blade was an excellent close-in weapon. I never let her get close enough to use it. Tandem axes allowed me to shred her shield while keeping her at arm's length. My axe bit into her upper left arm right above the elbow. Constanza hissed instead of screaming. She did stagger back. I hopped back three steps, knelt and placed my axes on the mat at my side.

"No!" Constanza howled. She came at me while I remained still. Her hand drew back for a killing thrust. I waited. Sparing my life didn't stop her. The looks of her fellow Amazons held back her wrath. They wouldn't stop her from slaughtering me, but that was exactly what it was - a butchery.

Two things occurred to me: Aya was showing remarkably better control today than on Saturday, and I figured out a way to sleep with Buffy tonight. Being killed? Nah, worry about the things you have control over.

"Constanza, he was instructing me," Oneida stood up.

She took up Constanza's discarded spear and stepped toward us. What disturbed the gathering was how Oneida held it - sidewise, not ready for combat.

"You do not intimidate me, Oneida," Constanza growled.

"You misunderstand," Oneida intoned. "I would do this out of shame and despair."

"I will shear my hair, burn it and take myself to the cliffs to die childless," she continued. "I leave whatever contempt you might possess for me to be conveyed to my House when they learn your actions have killed one of their last breeding females. The death of some male will not concern them. My death will. The shame I bear for killing a teacher will certainly interest many of our people."

"You wouldn't dare," Constanza scoffed. The spear dropped. Fuck that noise. I snatched the last quarter of the shaft before it hit the ground. No one seemed to understand what to do about that. Apparently my reaction was unique.

"Yay!" Aya cheered. "He's the best Daddy ever," she loudly announced to the crowd.

"Oneida, my apology, but Katrina has put her faith in me and the New Directive," I adlibbed. "I am here to aid the recovery of your people, not diminish them. For the sake of Katrina's honor, please reconsider."

"Cáel Nyilas," Oneida smiled sadly, "this is not a pledge that can be retracted."

"Ah...doesn't it only take effect when the weapon hits the ground?" I struggled. "I mean, otherwise dropping the weapon would be pointless - right?" I repeat, apparently this had never come up before. "This is kind of awkward. Can someone take this?" I meant the spear. I was worn to the bone and holding a long spear from one end, with one hand.

Quickly calls went out to Hayden as well as a few department heads.

"Constanza," one of the Amazons spoke up, "if you attack the male, you will be actively sealing Oneida's Death Pledge. Far fewer of us will understand that."

"How is it that you are so damn lucky?" Constanza growled at me.

"You are asking this of a man, on his knees before you with your sword at his throat?" I countered. "Lucky isn't you sparing my life. Lucky is me never having heard of this place - Except for Aya. She makes the rest of this hellish experience worthwhile."

"Best Daddy ever," Aya chirped.

"Hayden is on her way," a different Amazon called out. Already a passel of newcomers were swarming the scene. Truly curious was the group looking mournfully at Oneida. One stepped forward.

"Male, do you need something? Water?" she asked. I gave it some thought.

"Could you sing?" I requested. "A nice soothing song of hope would be nice." Blink. Like all panicked moments, nothing came to mind for several seconds. Oneida's people rapidly bantered about some names then the questioner began singing. By the third song I was crying and shaking like a leaf. Constanza had fallen back enough to get her arm tended to.

Twice Aya had tried to get me, lending me the tiniest bit more strength. Wisely, her minder kept her away from the possible conflict. There was a whole different level of commotion when Hayden arrived this time.

"To bear a weapon in my presence is Death, Cáel," Hayden stated.

"I apologize for being a disappointing Male," I grunted. "Pass on my regrets to Katrina."

"Drop the weapon and you will be spared. You will only be beaten," Hayden gave a hint of a smile.

"If I drop it, she dies," I hissed. The ache in my right arm was exceeding that in my left leg.

"I'm afraid I will have to decline," I concluded.

"If I kill you, the spear will drop and she'll die anyway," Hayden pointed out.

"Sucks to be both of us, I guess," I gasped.

"Oneida, step on the spear. Push it down," Hayden ordered. Hush. Oneida raised her foot.

"You are stepping in the wrong place," I huffed. She looked at me. My eyes flashed to the short side between my grip and my side.

"Do you really think you can hold it up?" she questioned.

"I know I'll fail if you step anywhere else," I tried to grin.

"No matter what happens, you will die," she murmured.

"Not my chief concern right now," I grunted. "Hurry." Oneida put her foot on the short end.

"It will help your balance if you place a hand on his shoulder," Hayden noted. We both flashed Hayden a shocked look.

Oneida stepped on the spear. It trembled and sunk down, barely millimeters off the mat. Her hand came to rest on the crux of my neck and shoulder. I felt my body about to tip over. I was at my limit. I almost missed the gasps whispering around the assembly. Oneida had her body off the ground. Hayden lowered herself so that she could witness there was a distance between the spear and the earth.

"The spirits have not heard your pledge, Oneida," Hayden declared as she regained her regal posture. "I suggest you weigh your words with greater care in the future. Retrieve your spear." She turned and started to leave the gym. Oneida dismounted and snatched up her spear.

"What of the male?" one of the spectators inquired. I didn't care. I had fallen on my back.

"At a moment of such great spiritual significance - the ancestral rejection of a Death Pledge, the action of any one male does not concern me," Hayden remarked coldly. It wasn't praise. It was a 'don't fuck with him'. Around me a cultural conundrum was taking place. Not only could Oneida's house not thank me because I was a male, they couldn't thank me because, by Hayden's decree, there was no life to be saved.

Oneida bent over me on one knee.

"You really shouldn't be so eager to toss your life away, Cáel," she smiled warmly. I was essentially immobile.

"You have the most gorgeous blue-grey eyes," I moaned.

"You are thinking about that at a time like this?" she snorted. Her relatives were shockingly amused as well.

"No time like the present. Besides, in 75 days you can all go out to some nature preserve and hunt me down with non-lethal weapons. Great way to spend a weekend."

I heard an authoritative cough. I looked up from my still prone position to see Katrina.

"Cancel that Oneida. I'm about to get relocated to Antarctica where I'll be tasked with teaching penguins how to arm wrestle," I sighed.

"Cáel, why do you think I'd be so nice to you after all the hell you cause me on a daily basis?" Katrina looked all menacing.

"You recall how much I like winter sports?" I pleaded. "Hey - wait. I was good on Friday. Wasn't I good on Friday?"

"I don't recall you having a good day yet, but I may double check. Can you stand?" Katrina asked.

"Is that a question, or veiled order?" I muttered. "If the former - no. If that latter, I'll die trying." Using a combination of my right leg and left arm, I managed to struggle my way upright. By that time, Aya had circled the practice mat and was at Katrina's side.

"He was very brave," Aya insisted. One of Oneida's senior women coughed.

"Nothing happened so nothing has changed," Katrina stated. It was a lie and both sides knew it. It was the whole loyalty/martial valor thing. Inside their closed little minds a balancing act had taken place - my worthlessness as a male against Oneida's value to her people. Aya was easy to discount as she was of Katrina's house.

I had no clue who Oneida was yet still rallied to her when she desperately needed help - Hayden's obfuscation be damned. Yeah, Oneida had been young and foolish. Her challenge had been given to make Constanza back off. When Constanza called her bluff, pride took over. Oneida had been foolhardy and overly status conscious. Constanza had played Russian roulette with their House's future and almost 'won'.

She'd be wise to avoid darkened corridors for the next few weeks too. There was not only Oneida's house but the houses allied to it to worry about despite Hayden's expunging of the official record. For me, it was time to be dragged over to my cute doctor friend. I had been slashed twice by the spears during my jump and not noticed it - adrenaline no doubt.

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