A Big Shiny Blue Marble Ch. 45byTaLtos6©
***There's a word in this chapter. I don't use it, but it's there. There's even a whole category on Lit for it. It's never held any attraction for me, but somebody's got to like the idea I guess.
Anyway, I needed to use some of it as a vehicle in my plot. If you have an allergy, then skim that part, 'k? 0_<
Book of the Forsaken Part 2
At her home, Randi found more suitable clothing for her friend. Rudhi proved to be a hard worker and between them, they had everything stacked and ready to be loaded up in the morning, since Randi had changed her mind because the vehicle would still be warm and running then. She closed the locker and set about making a pot of stew for them to eat together. With that started in the pot, she placed a few pots of water on the woodstove to get them to boil.
"Let's go fill the old bathtub. I want a bath and by the time that it's almost full, the pots on the stove will be hot and we'll have a hot bath after we pour that in."
They talked about all sorts of things and Randi wanted to know all about her new friend's life. Rudhi was a little glad of it, because it forced her to try to remember more. She didn't have amnesia – she'd just lain asleep for so long.
"It is a little strange," she said, "In some ways, things seem so recent to me, as though I only closed my eyes not long ago. But it is not so. I was caught and taken before I knew what was happening. I came home to arrange for more soldiers for a battle which was coming, and I ate a meal and went to bed. I remember missing my males because they could not come with me, being needed where we were. I closed my eyes and the next thing that I knew, it seemed that we were under attack. I assumed that the foes were our age-old enemies, but it was really more of a raid. My meal had been drugged and I could not think well. Then I fell and I awoke on this world."
"I was a captive and only saw a little of the city where I was, but I remember that it was new and clean and full of people." She looked down for a moment. "As I have said, we feel the ones that we care for. Even where I was, I felt the ones who loved me. I knew that they lived.
When I awoke a few days ago, this feeling was gone. I do not know how much time has passed, but the city was deserted and lies now in ruins. Things which were new – such as the building where I was kept – are now piles of rubble.
So I know that it must have been ages that I lay there."
"But why, Rudy?" the redhead asked, "Why did they grab you? Why did they bring you here?"
Rudhi shrugged, "I only know a little. The ones who took me were blood-drinkers, all of them, though they did not touch me directly. From the way that they acted, I believe that they were a little afraid of me. They used others for tasks. I was forced to do only a little, but when they saw what I did, they were pleased.
I thought that doing it would cause them to give me a little freedom, but they caused me to sleep and sealed me almost right afterwards. But I did learn a little. There was one other who worked for them and could remember nothing. They acted as though they taught that one – and they never spoke a name. But I know that this person was a female. No name – they only called her 'She'. It made me wonder what they called me."
"Maybe they called you 'The Other One', Randi grinned and Rudhi laughed, "Maybe they did.
I never saw her. She was away, they told me, doing their work whatever it was. No one ever said it to me, but after a time, I knew my purpose there.
If 'She' ever tried to throw off their yoke on her, it would be my task to destroy her."
"What happened to her?" Randi asked, "Did she live, or get away?"
"I cannot say," Rudhi said into the other's mind with a shrug, "I do not know. When I awoke, the seals which held me were very weak. I broke them easily and walked away. I think that she must have been another like me – taken from someplace and used for whatever they wished. If she still lives, I have no ill will toward her, and I wish her well. The only thing that I was told was that I would know it if I was in her presence."
After that, Randi wanted to go back to an earlier point. "What did you mean when you said that you missed your males?"
Rudhi looked down, "There were different realms where I am from. Some were ruled by groups, some by kings. Mine – by queens only. Males could hold high places, but the rulers were always queens. My mother was the last, I guess. All that we knew were wars. The lands ruled by groups were the first to fall to the rest of us. It took time to discuss everything for them. While they discussed, we acted. Those lands were taken before I was born. In my time, there were only three lands left, but we were all weak from our stupid fighting and murder.
In times such as those, a queen would take several consorts, since one never knew what might happen. Marriages were arranged when the princesses were only babes, and usually there were two males decided upon – also infants. My mother had four consorts – the two which were arranged for her, a third male and one female, who was her favorite. I always remember them being together.
For me, there were two as well, but I had no wedding yet. It was still a year off when I was brought here, and years are a little longer there. As was usual, the males for me were from different backgrounds – one was of noble blood and one was not.
I met them by chance once, and though it was very unusual, we fell in love before we all knew who we were. Both of my males were warriors with much fame between them – heroes of the people for the things which they'd done, and I was the princess who would rule one day, but neither of them knew it then.
All that they knew was that their positions were besieged. Aid had been summoned and I led it. In our hidden messages, three commanders to each other, they suggested that my troops attack from one quarter and they would hold what they had while the old commander which they expected probed cautiously for the best weak spot to press the enemy. It was a plan which they hated, but they knew how they had to deal carefully with the old bird.
But I had already heard this plan from the old one and I had relieved him of his head for it Thousands would die while he played and probed. My response was that I would attack in the night in a place of my own choosing, in case that our messages were being read. I told them to prepare to ride out to meet me when they saw the fight beginning.
We met on the field by the first light of the next day, three young commanders with three small armies between us. I didn't know who led the fighters coming to meet my own and they knew nothing of the girl who led from the front to come to their aid. We were all surprised and said only a few words between us and did not meet again until nightfall.
But we began it then between us."
Rudhi was silent then and Randi saw her tears before she wiped her eyes, but she felt a lot of the other one's pain then and so she reached out and held her for a while, wondering about how she'd felt so much. When Rudhi seemed to have her feelings in hand again, Randi asked.
"It comes with the part of my life which I gave to you," she said, "We feel for others. It is how I will know if I were to meet this 'She' person, though I would guess that it will not happen now. It is also how I knew that you were hurt. I was not looking when it happened."
"But, but we'd just met," The redhead said, and the dark-haired woman nodded.
"I have wandered for a while, chased mostly and fighting these demon things time and again. I am alone here, but you helped me, and I found myself liking you at once, so much, Randi. Also, I was so hopeful that I'd found someone who might tell me how I must live here. I am no princess anymore. I am nothing here, and I know no one, so when you were hurt, I knew it."
When the pots on the stove began to boil, they carefully carried them and added the hot water to the large tub.
"You're the guest, so you can go first, Rudy. I'm all covered in grease and dried blood anyway."
As Rudhi was about to get in, she saw that Randi was about to leave and asked her to stay. "We are the same, from what we both said. Neither of us has a need to feel shame I think, and I like to talk with you."
So Rudhi got in the tub and Randi sat on a stool and they kept talking.
"When you – we I guess, drink blood," Randi began, "I think that I read somewhere in a book that you're not supposed to take the last drop. Is that true?"
Rudhi's face twisted into a comical grin, "What sort of book was that?"
"I dunno," Randi shrugged, "It was a novel. A story to make the reader a little afraid. They're called horror stories."
She listened to her friend's almost musical laughter – from her voice this time. "First, we do not need to drink blood. You may wish to, if the one that you want is dirty, that is the most common reason for me. It is a meal but not a good one, since then you have a belly full of liquid. Also, your breath will stink after that for a time. Dead blood smells badly.
Next, the statement in the book was stupid. You cannot ever get the last of the blood. The heart moves it around as long as there is enough to make some pressure. With no pressure, no blood moves, and you can suck until you have the asshole in your mouth, you will never get the last, because the arteries will collapse from your sucking. And anyway, the last is always the heartblood, so if you want it all, you must take the heart and eat that – and you still would not get the very last.
Randi, my friend," The dark-haired one said earnestly, "You do not need to drink blood. You do not need to eat flesh. I did, because I was weak and there was nothing else. You can live just as you have always lived, but now and then, you will need to take life from something or someone, that is all. Look, this meat that you dry or smoke or cook to make these wonderful meals for people to buy, how do you get the meat?"
"Well, I hunt for it, if it's deer or elk or like that," Randi said, "Some I just buy from a butcher, I can get a good price if I buy a half a steer or more at once."
Rudhi smiled, "Instead of the butcher, buy the animal alive the next time, if you can butcher it yourself. Place your hand and take the life. I do not know how it is done here, but I am sure that the animal will feel no pain if you are careful and you save money. You do not need to hunt now, other than to find the animals that you mentioned. Once you see them, you can call them to you. I can show you this, and it is the same. No pain and you have the meat that you need for people to buy after you do what you do to make it taste so good.
Maybe the best thing of all to you, you do not have to kill a human then."
When it was Randi's turn, Rudhi heated the water up a little with her hand, though she said that to heat the whole tub before would have been hard since she hadn't regained her strength yet. They changed places and kept on chatting and joking. After the bath, they ate their stew and with a last look around, Rudhi asked where she was to sleep.
"I've only got one bed made up, though it's a big one, since it was my parent's bed. There's lots of room for us both if you don't mind."
Randi pointed to her bed and the pair crawled in.
"This is really nice," Randi smiled, "I'm always alone and I have to keep looking around to make sure that I'm still safe, but I don't feel that way anymore. For once, I feel safe now."
Rudhi had no way to say it, since she was unaware of the geography, but when she'd been attacked by one huge flock of demons, she'd chosen to lead them out over water, hoping that they'd give up out of fear or drown. But it hadn't happened, and though it had taken a couple of days, the steadily diminishing flock had chased her most of the way across the Atlantic. Rudhi could fly by her thought to do it, and falling was not an issue as it was to the gaggle of creatures which hounded her, losing a few at a time to either fatigue or to Rudhi's defensive attacks. With no idea of where to go, she'd kept flying, landing here and there to try to learn and finding that there were always more demons and the humans that she'd seen were too easily frightened by what they mistook to be a vampire. A couple of more days and she'd come to Colorado.
Now, she was nearing exhaustion and she was a sleep in a minute, but she awoke a couple of hours later, flat on her back under the covers and feeling warm. She looked over and saw Randi on her side looking back at her.
She blinked a little, "Is something wrong?"
Randi shook her head, "No. I slept for a little while, but it was hard to fall asleep. I woke up a little while ago. I'm just thinking that I almost died out there. It's hard to put a thought like that to bed, that's all."
Rudhi nodded and closed her eyes, but the silence lasted only a half a minute.
"And I keep thinking about when you kissed me."
Rudhi sighed and stretched a little, "Are you thinking or are you remembering?"
"Well, both, I guess." The redhead replied, "I don't get very many kisses, not since –"
Randi looked down and began to turn away.
Rudhi looked over and saw that there was something there and so she reached over. "You have said very little to me about your life. I see that there is something which makes you sad again. Randi, we know each other only a little while, but you have done much for me. You feed me and let me wash and I am in your fine bed. But I will not be able to sleep now unless I know what bothers you so much. Can you tell me a little?"
It was already too late. Randi had begun to cry very quietly. Rudhi reached over and pulled them together, holding her friend tightly and waiting. She couldn't help herself and kissed Randi's head softly now and then as she stroked her shoulders.
Many minutes later, Randi began to speak softly, sniffling under Rudhi's jaw. "My real father was killed a long time ago when I was little," she said, "I never really got over it. He was so strong and he loved me ... so ..."
Rudhi waited a little while after that before she heard anymore.
"Mamma met a widower later and he had this farm and they got married when I was about twelve. We came here to live and he had a son, Samson. We hated each other at the beginning, but we were friends later. Everybody thought that because he had that name, ... well, I don't know what they thought, but Sam wasn't like that. He was not really much bigger than me. Out here, we were so far away from town and other people and we never really had any neighbors for very long. Sam and his dad worked the farm and I helped as much as I could.
One winter, Mama got sick. It was that thing that goes around sometimes and the next thing we knew, Sam's dad got it too and ... and ... "
She sniffled a few minutes later and pulled away to look up at Rudhi. "You're probably not going to like me very much now, but I feel like I've got to tell you something that I've never told anybody. Sam and me, we were two kids stuck out here all alone on this farm. We cut it back some, because we just couldn't run the whole thing by ourselves and we didn't have any money to pay for any help, so we just went on alone. We had to stay alive somehow, so that's what we did.
Well, we liked each other and the way that I looked at it, we weren't blood or anything. After working side by side for so long, and keeping ourselves fed the best we could, ... well it just came natural to us and we ... "
She looked down and let out the long breath that she'd been holding and just plunged on. "We started living like we were married and everything. We loved each other a lot, and we were happy like that. I was eighteen and he was twenty-one. We never told anybody about it and to anybody else, we were just two people; a girl and her brother who lived on a farm.
But that preacher's wife in town, I guess she and her man got to thinking that it wasn't right and we didn't come to Sunday meetings. We probably would have, but we had this place to run and it took all week to do it between us. The next thing we knew, folks were talking about us when we went into town to buy feed and supplies. I heard about it from a bunch of ladies in the store where I was selling off our oats and mustard seed and some baskets of plums.
When we left, it felt like the whole town was staring at us. It got worse every time. I thought that it might die down, but it didn't. It just got worse all the time, and one time Sam got beat up bad for it. That lousy sheriff wouldn't do a thing.
Sam felt guilty enough over it all to start with. I tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen to me after a while. He stopped sleeping with me and stayed in his room. Things weren't getting done anymore, so I started smoking meats and selling it to the nearest farms that didn't do that themselves. I tried to stay away from town.
One day, I came home late and Sam wasn't there. I looked everywhere, but he wasn't in the barn or anywhere. I didn't find him until I went out the next day as soon as it was light to get some plums to make jam out of to sell. I found him in the orchard. He'd ... he'd hung ..."
Rudhi didn't get much more from her for a long while. She just hung onto Randi and kissed her head and her cheek. Finally, Randi got up to find a handkerchief and she went to wash her face. Rudhi went after her and a minute later she stood holding on to Randi as she let out her grief and she led her back to bed and just hung on to her for a long while.
"That was three years ago," Randi said out of the darkness later. "I've been here ever since on my own." She looked up then, as though she was a little surprised, "You don't hate me for that, do you?"
Rudhi shook her head a little, "I think that you are a very strong female," she said, "and I am proud to say that I have such a friend."
Randi looked at the face beside her and Rudhi smiled a little as she kissed Randi softly. "Hold onto me, Randi. Hold me as tightly as you wish and sleep if you can. I know nothing of this place or its people, but nothing will hurt you this night. Push the shadows which haunt you away. I am sad because of how you hurt, but I am happy to have met you. I know that you like males and so do I, but I will kiss you as often as you like, only ask and all the kisses that you would wish for are yours."
She pulled Randi close and they slept in each other's arms. Randi fell asleep soon after and Rudhi looked at her for a long time.
In a group of ancient dwellings, a female Tarkroth sat outside warming herself by a small fire which she'd lit with her mind while the male slept inside. In her life, she'd done many things for the good of her family, her tribe, her first male's tribe and her people as a whole. That had been on another world where they'd come from. She'd even given her life for them.
Then she'd been a ghost, one of the ghost witches of her kind, but there was no one for her to help then because the people were all dead. In her lonely dreams, she'd seen where it was that her two sons had been taken to when they were children. For a time, it was enough for her to know that they lived.
And then one day, in a flash of insight, she knew that there was still at least one of her kind alive on her world – a kinswoman of the tribe that she'd been born into still lived as a prisoner and she knew that this female would be brought to find something with which their enemies might enslave the spirit of the most powerful ghost witch of the Tarkroth. Her name had been Narreth then, but now she was beginning to wonder about many things. Even who she really was anymore.
In a subsequent dream, she knew that that female would be taken far away to the very world where her surviving son lived alone, since the older one had since perished. If she could have done it, she'd have wept real tears of joy when it came to her that the last two living Mountain Demons of her world might meet and begin again somewhere else. After that, she'd put everything into engineering what she could, and it led to her being inside her own wedding band for a time before the transference occurred.