Thread

                                            By 

                                         Arthur 

 
CHAPTER 11


It was in the late afternoon when we decided to leave the scene of the massacre, this was not a place to stay the night, it was also too open to attack and would be hard for our small group to defend against large numbers, even with the added talents we all now had.

We moved until the sun was nearly below the far off hills, we had not seen a sight of the Xhosa and, although we were happy to have not run into them, we were still apprehensive about being in their lands, even the slave boys could feel the tension in the air and were as vigilant as any of us, Tzuma led from the front and about ten paces ahead of the rest, he seemed to move like smoke from one dark patch of ground to the next, now he had proven himself, he had taken on the persona of the Leopard, one moment he was easy to see and the next he had almost disappeared into the foliage or long grass.

As the light faded, we halted at the very edge of a copse of trees, the slave boys were set to gathering large bundles of thorn bush to make our temporary Kraal, the archers were set to guard duty while the rest of us looked to the food and setting up the large tent, it was fully dark and only the brightness of our large fire lit the surrounding Kraal, the slave boys were going about serving everyone before settling down to eat themselves.

The four guards had been given a plate of food while they watched into the darkness, Gregor, Tzuma, Peitro and I sat close to the fire as we ate, the night sounds of this land echoed into the darkness, it was time for us to think seriously about our location and what we could meet ahead, the strong pull of the Thread tugged at my stomach as though a physical force, faint images were forever coming into my head as it grew in intensity, it felt as though my boyhood was now permanently at attention during the night, it took very little of the groans of pleasure from the other boys to set my own desires on fire.

I was aware that, had I not been a Mage, I could have selected any of the slaves or other boys to join me for relief but, this was not possible for me, all of my needs could only be met by my intended, the hardest time was during the night when Peitro became the centre piece of both Gregor and Tzuma, how his small frame could handle the two larger boys was beyond my understanding, but Peitro only seemed to enjoy the double experience with them and every morning would be glowing as he arose to tend to something, during the day he never left my side but his eyes often strayed to either Gregor or Tzuma, his desire seen plainly in his smiles.

Our night went undisturbed and, in the morning, we decamped to continue our journey, the sounds of the jungle we were now re-entering, grew less as we made sounds that disturbed them, Tzuma was now truly in his element, his slender dark body seemed to disappear into the rich dark jungle, it was only when he returned to report to Gregor that we saw him, the slave boys were now showing signs of nervousness, this thick jungle, with its green hue and stifling humidity was totally strange to the Dinka, who were used to wide open grasslands and deep Whadis, this place where you could only see ahead for short distances was not too their liking.

For the next five days we travelled through the dense jungle, small insects found us a handy meal and the animals of the jungle kept their distance, those of us that felt ill came to me at the end of the days travel and I was able to easily heal them with the aide of Creator and so, we remained well and strong, of the feared Xhosa, we saw no sign, on the morning of the sixth day we came to a wide fast flowing river, on the far bank was a small village that appeared to be active and there were the low narrow canoes lined up along the far bank.

Tzuma told us all to stay hidden in the trees as these people would not have seen others with white skin; he would go forward with the slave boys and call for canoes to come over, once the canoes were on our bank we could come out of the trees and then travel over to continue our travels, he did not think that strangers like us would inspire the villagers to come over otherwise.

After much calling by Tzuma, the villagers finally decided to come over and collect him and the slave boys although, they could not see the reason for more canoes, it took a lot of calling and conversation before they though he wanted the extra canoes for his cargo, ten minutes later and the line of canoes were pulled up onto our bank, as Tzuma walked towards them, he reassured them that all was ok, when close enough to be able to stop any from running away, he softly whistled and we all appeared from our hiding places, it must have been the sight of our white skins and shining armour that caused the canoe men to stop in their tracks and fail to move before we were close enough to stop them.

There were more discussions and it took another half an hour before the canoe men were able to relax and set about sorting out the distribution of us among the canoes, there were still one or two that thought we were some sort of spirit but their peers, although wary, seemed to accept Tzuma’s explanation, as the sun passed its zenith, we made it to the other side and, although the villagers were wary and the women and children had hidden themselves in their huts, we were finally welcomed to stay, albeit with a certain amount of hidden glances and a slight tension in the air.

By nightfall, Tzuma had finally gotten the confidence of the villagers and, they had finally accepted that we were not spirit folk of the forest, slowly the sounds and laughter of the children returned to the village, the small girls staying close to their mothers side, the small naked boys running around and splashing in the water at the rivers edge, the older boys, also naked and totally unaware of their bodies, ran around or went to handle the canoes as they fished the shallows for small fish, the men sat around under trees and talked or just sat back and enjoyed the sun while attending to their weapons, again the long spears that seemed common throughout this land.

We were given three huts on the very edge of the village for our use, our strange clothing also took the notice of the villagers and, many times the children would sidle up to on or other of us to touch the Dragon cloaks as they shimmered in the light, the boys armour also caught much attention as did their bows and swords, by the late afternoon, their were numbers of children around the boys, touching and playing with the equipment, the innocents of the young soon helped to break down any barriers the adults had.

That evening we were treated to a large feast of fresh fish and vegetables along with the usual thick beer, by now the boys knew not to overindulge in the millet beer, the feasting went on for hours and it was late in the night before we all left the central fire and returned to the huts for sleep, Gregor set the sentries as he did every night, often, either he or Tzuma would walk out into the night to check on the guard posts.

The next morning I spent a short time healing a few small wounds the villagers had, by midday we were once again ready to leave and continue our journey, giving thanks to the village head man and his people, we set off into the jungle once more, this time we had only to go for a few hours before we broke out into grasslands, the thin band of jungle seemed to hide the village completely.

The grasslands spread before us in an unending vista broken only by the usual tall wide spread trees of the plains, wild animals teemed everywhere we looked, in the distance were large herds of the mighty Elephants, there were new animals we had not seen before, a strange four legged beast, similar to a horse, with black and white stripes ran at speed in great herds while another animal was the strangest of all, by all common sense, these tall yellow animals should have fallen over themselves, the extremely long necks should have been to much for them to keep upright and their long legs seemed too fragile to carry them at any speed, it did not take long to prove us wrong on all fronts.

As we moved out onto the grasslands, we got occasional glimpses of the wild cats in their small family groups, above us drifted the large black vultures looking for their next meal of carrion, we stayed close together, this is not a place to wander off alone.

As the sun sank closer to the far off horizon, we prepared to set our camp for the night, the slave boys, by now well versed in their duties, quickly had the large tent up and were preparing the evening meal of dried meat and fresh vegetables from the riverside village, after all this time we were now a well oiled operation, the guards were set and we sat around waiting for our meal.

Just as we began to eat, Tzuma lifted his head and tilted it to one side, his gesture told us to be silent as he listened, very quickly I also began to hear it, a deep throbbing sound that drifted over the grasslands in the stillness of the early night, Tzuma softly whispered that it was signal drums of the Xhosa, the drums played on into the night as Tzuma told us it was a call for warriors to gather in a far off place, this may mean we had been seen and could soon expect a visit from the blood thirsty Xhosa.

Our night was a restless one, we were not in a good place to be surprised by a large group of warriors, at the first sign of dawn we decamped and set off at a quick pace towards what looked like a tall barren cliff, if nothing else, it would give us protection to our rear if we could get close enough to put our backs to the cliff, we would then only have to watch our front if the Xhosa came for us.

Under the hot sun of midday, we settled against the cliffs, we were in a narrow defile which made it almost impossible for us to be attacked from any direction but straight ahead and this was narrow and would not permit a large group to charge us on a wide front, it was the best we could do apart from setting the slave boys to gathering masses of the long thorny bushes to make a defensive wall, if attacked we had the benefit of our armour and better training.

The slave boys were put back against the cliff wall behind us for their own protection once the spiked wall had been finished, all we could do now was wait and see if we were to be the target of the drums, it was a long wait and there was a heavy tension in the air as we kept watch out over the grasslands before us.

It was Tzuma that saw them first, how they got so close without us seeing them is still one of those mysteries to me, for one moment the grasslands were bare and barren, the next it was filled with running warriors that appeared to grow from the very earth itself, Gregor was quick to call the archers to fire as the massed ranks of dark skinned warriors charged our small temporary fort, it was soon clear that the long spines of the brush were not to be taken lightly as warrior after warrior was forced onto them by the press of those behind, the archers were quick to take advantage of their situation.

It was some little time before the warriors decided to stay off the thorns and launch their spears at us from the other side, as the first long spear was in the air, I set my feet into the ground and raised my right hand, not to attack, but to set a barrier shield over my men, the spears fell harmlessly to the ground as they struck the shield, even after this demonstration, the warriors seemed to be only more determined to get at us.

The narrow defile made it difficult for them to attack in any great numbers but those behind kept pushing forward, forcing those in front to keep coming at us even as their comrades fell before our archers, while holding a shield was not too overtaxing, I could not hold it indefinitely or I would be too weak for any emergencies, the boys armour was easily enough to protect them from harm but it was the slave boys I was more concerned with, to this end I reduced the shield and held it only over the slave boys, Gregor reset his lines so that the five swordsmen could watch for the thrown spears as the archers did their work of slaughter.

With the smaller shield I was able to now use my far sight, I searched behind the mass of warriors until I found the small group of leaders, to the front stood two old men dressed in skins and with bones and rattles, they danced and sang as the very large, very obese chief stood ordering his warriors forward.

I searched the minds of the two witch doctor/shaman and, much to my surprise, found that they were not true shaman, these two were nothing more than tricksters, they used poison and other tricks to fool the chief and the warriors into believing they had the power of the sprit world behind them, it was all for their own greed, these two were my first targets, the large chief was the next, the warriors, once freed of their leaders, would be more inclined to withdraw when they had no one pushing them forward, no man, even the bravest of all, wants to die for nothing.

Our defensive wall was now under pressure from the dead that the warriors were now throwing on top of the thorns to give them a bridge of human flesh to cross on, I had no time to waste, raising my right hand, I began to chant the words of a death spell, the ley lines under my feet warmed and flowed into my hand, first one then the other of the false shaman fell to his knees and finally to the earth, at this act, there was a strange pause in the attack, I then went for the chief, slowly the large bulk of the man fell to his knees, his dark face turning even darker as his heart began to try to work harder to hold his massive bulk upright, as he finally fell to the ground, there came a wild yell from the massed warriors, as one they stopped and turned, within minutes they could not be seen, only the dead remained, in the distance, the three bodies were lifted and carried off, there was a sigh of relief from the boys as they watched the disappearing backs of the attackers.

Our first meeting with the Xhosa had not been a good one, if this were to be the type of meeting with them all the time then we were going to be hard pressed to make it to my intended, the pull of the Thread was now almost overpowering, we were close and it took all of my strength to stop from running wildly out onto the grasslands to follow the strong pull.

Around me, the boys were relaxing after the fight, on the other side of the thorns were more than fifty dead, Tzuma immediately had the slave boys outside and working on moving the dead far enough away that the wild animals of the night could feast without disturbing our sleep, the guards were doubled for the night and we finally settled down to a cold meal and sleep.

At the first light of dawn, we were all up and moving, we turned West South West and hugged the cliff face, the pull of the Thread was now overpowering, I was so close to my intended that it brought a pain into my innards, my legs shook and my head swirled with images, by midday we were at the end of the cliff face, as we turned the last corner we saw a small shallow bowl, it was what was at the centre of the bowl that brought and instant loathing to my mind.

We all stood on the small rise and looked into the bowl, there were about thirty warriors and one shaman gathered there, there was also someone else, it was my intended, while the others could only see the gathering as warriors and a captive light skinned boy, I saw the true colours of the Thread, the boy was lit up like fire from the influence of the Thread, it was as though a switch had been turned as his head rose and he smiled as his eyes met mine, even at this distance, we knew we were soon to be joined by the Thread.

Unfortunately, there remained a small problem, namely about thirty warriors who had a blood lust, my intended was tied by his thin wrists to an overhead tree branch, he had been stripped naked and his feet barely touched the dusty ground underneath him, the old shaman had been using his knife to make small cuts in the flesh on his chest, the blood oozing down in small rivulets as the old man danced before him, the watching warriors were laughing and jeering as my intended screamed with pain, his hair was now matted to his forehead and back, it was as long as mine but neither the dark black of mine nor the bright golden blonde of the Elf, his was somewhere in between, it flowed in curls of soft reddish gold, his skin was more tawny than white or brown and, even at this distance, I could see his ears were not fully pointed like most Elves.

It appeared that the Creator had decided to bond me with a half Elf, his sense of magic was visible to my mage eyes but it was underdeveloped and he had not been trained in its use, I had found my mate, all I had to do now was free him alive from the clutches of the blood thirsty Xhosa who now held him.

At the sight of my intended being held under such duress and tortured by an old fake who called himself a shaman, my blood began to boil with hate, it is not a good place to be for a war mage, as my blood rose, I heard Gregor call for his boys to get ready, the archers spread out in a single line while the swords men closed on each side of Gregor and Tzuma, Peitro stayed by my side but I could tell even he, as young as he was, could feel my hate rising, today would be a day of vengeful justice, this was now a time for my war mage to come to the fore.

I slipped the sandals from my feet and settled them deep into the soft soil around us, feeling for the ley lines I pulled power like never before, with the words of the spell loud in my throat, I cast the death spell forward, this was not only a death spell but also a capture spell that would set the warriors and shamans spirit to wander in limbo forever, even in death they would find no peace, this small bowl would become the home and agony of their souls, only my intended would be spared my wrath, his physical pain had already well paid for his devotion.

The power I used on the ultimate death spell, quickly began to drain me but it was soon over, my knees shook with the strain but nothing would keep me from my intended, even as my head spun from the power use, I set my steps towards where my love was waiting, the bodies of his captors littered the ground and I ignored them, even as I walked through the bodies, I could see their spirits writhing in agony as they tried to free themselves from the hold of the small bowl, it would never happen, they were here to stay, this would become a place of dead spirits.

I reached my intended and looked up at his beauty, even the bloody cuts on his thin chest could not take away his beauty, his eyes never strayed from mine as Gregor and Tzuma arrived and began to gently cut him down, as soon as he was laying on the ground, I went to my knees and used what little strength I had left to heal his wounds, as the last cut healed, my world went black and the shining light of my love was extinguished as I collapsed from exhaustion.

I awoke the following morning with the feeling of a smooth warm body laying curled up in front of me, the leaf scented smell of fine reddish hair filled my nostrils and the gentle purr of a warm breath brushed my face as I became more alert, slowly opening my eyes I saw the vision I had been chasing for more than nine months.

His sleeping face was tawny and had the faintest brush of freckles over the bridge of his smallish upturned nose, long light lashes rested on his cheeks and a small wrinkle in his brow showed through the curls of his hair that fell over his narrow forehead, even as he slept I could feel the magnetism that held us both in its grasp.

There was an instant reaction from my nether regions, it was then that I realised not only was I naked, but he was also, the warmth of his skin radiated from his slender body and the boyish smell filled my nostrils with desire for the touch of his hands, a sudden sucking in of breath told me he was awakening, I lifted my eyes to meet those of his, there was an instant flash of recognition and then the Thread had us both, with little thought for the many sleeping slave boys around us, we fell into each others arms, from there to consummation was only a few minutes, the rest of the world disappeared as we performed the final act, his thin legs wrapped tightly around my waist and his slender arms clasping my neck, we became one, the jolt of power as we exchanged fluids gave us a glow that I was sure would light up the land around us.

When we returned to the here and now, I looked down into his glowing eyes as he smiled back and wriggled his butt where I was still well seated; he then uttered the first words that I had heard from him.

“I waited so long, I had to come too look for you, I never thought of the Xhosa capturing me, but you came, you saved me, just like I knew you would even when they were going to cut me up.”

I could not bring myself to speak, my voice had been stilled by his beauty and his heat as I lay on top of him, I felt the first tear slide down my cheek as the realisation of what could have happened to him had I been slower in coming here, I could think of nothing and, in the end only buried my face in the gentle curve of his neck where I could suckle lightly on the tender fresh skin that curved down to form his slender shoulder, his light whimpers sounded like the mewling of a kitten as both our bodies responded to the stimulation.

When we surfaced for the third time, I suddenly realised I did not even know his name, in all the time I had been searching, even Creator had not given his name to me, as I watched the small rivulets of his perspiration slide slowly down his cheek and chin, I fell into his eyes, resting my forehead against his damp one, I whispered my question.

“What do I call my gift of the Thread?”

“I am Melkos, son of Evander and Tsina from the land of mists some ten days south of here, are we going to find our own homeland, I was told by my Father that, that is what will happen when we become one?”

I eased myself from his tightness and lifted up until I could rest my back against the central pole of the tent, with little though, Melkos lifted himself until he could lower once again back onto my still hard boyhood, he then leant back to rest his body on mine as we looked out at the still sleeping slave boys around us, it was then I came to the realisation that Creator must have stopped time for us, by my reckoning we had been in each others arms for most of the morning yet the lack of light outside told me it was still pre dawn and the slaves were still sleeping deeply, to be a child of Creator is a marvellous thing for Elves and even special Half Elves.

Melkos weight seemed perfect for me, his size fitted me like a glove and each curve or bump fitted with my own as though we had been made for each other, it was also at this time that I felt the new magical power in me, even as I supported Melkos slender body I could feel the ley lines underneath our bodies trying to fill me further, as I nuzzled his slightly pointed ear, I could feel the trickle of power moving through him, it was instantly recognisable to me, where as I carried both the power to heal and destroy, I could feel in Melkos only the power to heal, he was to be my counter point, where I was the war mage that destroyed, he was the healer that laid hands on the damage and repaired it.

As I nuzzled his ears I took note that they were not as pointed as mine, this must have been because of his blood on his mother’s side; I was to learn at a later date that the followers of Evander had bred with some of the women of the Ebo, of them all, only Evander had had a son, Melkos was of both blood lines, I also found that he was some six months younger than I, on one hand he was my lover and on the other I felt a great need to protect him as though he was still a small child, I wrapped my arms around his still warm body and nipped his ear lightly.

A whimper from his warm lips told me I had found the key to his desires, his slender body shivered with desire as I continued to nibble lightly on his warm lobe, in seconds he was writhing and he was pressed so tightly to me that we were as one body, gasping, we surfaced from our mutual ministrations, the scene around us had still not changed and the time stayed as it had been before, not a sound nor a movement disturbed our time together, Creator had given us this place of timelessness for our use, it was with regret that I realised we would have to surface back into the real world or our friends would sleep for the rest of their lives, with this in mind, I began the last of our couplings, it was like the first time all over again and, when we both returned from the euphoria of our connection, I pulled him to his feet and began to dress him in clothes that had somehow miraculously appeared beside those of my own, including a smaller version of the Dragon Cloak for him.

Once we were clothed, there came a shimmering in the air around us and suddenly, there was a stirring of the slave boys as the dawn broke through the darkness, the sounds of wakening boys and the changing of outside guards told us both that we had returned to normalcy, it was the first day of our lives and it was time to look for our own homeland.

We left the tent to the sounds of the slave boys working to dismantle it and ready everything for the move, as we stepped out into the rising sun we were met by the smiling faces of Gregor, Tzuma and Peitro, as one they bowed to us and Gregor, with a broad smile still on his face and an arm around both Tzuma and Peitro, said.

“Welcome my Lords, to the first day of the reign of Prince Alexi and his consort Melkos, may you both reign long and true.”

Hearing Melkos name from the lips of Gregor had me wondering how he knew it, I was soon made aware that Melkos had told him when I had collapsed the evening before, I was about to reprimand Gregor for his greeting when I saw each and every boy, both free and enslaved, bowing low to us both, it was then I became aware that we now had our own small army and family to begin our new lives.

Melkos snuggled into my side as we sat to break our fast, once done we moved out on our journey of discovery, somewhere out there was our new homeland, we set our course to the east, it was the direction of the new rising of the sun each day and seemed appropriate as this was a new direction for both Melkos and myself, a new beginning and a new day.

Ahead of us lay more adventures and it was to be months before we found our homeland where, even today, we live our lives unseen even by the modern world, we are protected from harm by the gift of Creator and even if you try, you will not find us for we are under His protection and can only be seen when we wish it to be so, oh yes, even now in the 21st century, we are still here, we still look the same as when we first held each other, the boys are still with us and would not be known by you as anything other than young teenagers, our slave boys have long passed on and were all given their freedom to go their own way, all refused and stayed with us until their dying day, by then we were in our home where we are today.

In all the millennium that have gone, we have seen war and destruction not known in your modern world, we watched the spread of diseases that wiped away many humans and watched silently as your greed and avarice destroyed families and created famine and genocide while you looked on and counted your ill gotten gains and children died in their mothers arms but, be warned, there is a time coming that you can not buy, you can not hide from and you can not do anything about, you will see your wealth become sand in your hands as all those around you fall to their knees in askance, and still you will not see it.

The time is near, look to your brothers and hold out your hand in aide, only those who have walked in the shadow of Creator will see the sun rise and watch as the Earth heals itself from your greedy and grasping hands, there are still Elves today, it is we that will bring back that which you have tried in your childish attempts to destroy, of our story? if you are still of this earth in time, then I may enlighten you further on our travels and challenges but, that of course will depend on how you see the world around you in the times to come, until then, remember, Elves are real, we have always been and always will be, you have been warned.

END
Artcart65@vodafone.co.nz

 

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