The Far Side of the World: Isara
The Far Side of the World: Isara
Shane winced against the burning sun, he couldn't have gone through the Canal, other helians would have seen him, they would have questioned him, they would know that he was a deserter. A more northern port and a general direction set him walking through the sands. A normal man perhaps would not have made it as far as he did every day, braving the blistering sun with an endurance he never had before, and each night he slept fitfully the moon taunting him as it inched closer to being full. He knew he'd not make it to the coast before he changed again.
"I swear these men will be the death of us" Mariam signed to her brother Tigran. They sat on the edge of the Oasis pool, they had already filled their skins with water but used it as an excuse to speak to each other out of eye sight of their companions. They traveled with a mix of people, but notably about six slaves shackled and blindfolded.
"Miriam, we only have maybe a day and a half of walking more to Sumir's and then we will be paid and rid of them" Tigran smiled to his sister and have a small sign of patience. "Ok that should be enough water." He said in the common tongue, to reassure their companions.
The sun had already faded and the moon was rising, it's bright fullness was so much, everyone could see easily and everyone was awake. They had a small fire going, just to warm up some water and rations, but there was little kindling anyway. The companions all laughed and joked, they were slavers or criminals all, and that was enough to bring them together. Miriam and Tigran were just guides, and stayed just outside of the roughs circle.
The laughter and jovial mood was cut by a howl in the distance.
Tigran shot to standing. He knew the desert well, and there were no animals that made that sound. He looked to Miriam and she pulled her bow free and quickly strung it.
"It's just a wolf." One of the men said and they all laughed. "A wolf far from home I guess." Another said and then they laughed again, but a second longer howl cut them off.
"What's a wolf?" Miriam signed.
"I don't know, but it is big. And moving close." Tigran returned the sign and picked up his spear. his job was to keep them all safe, and delivered and if he was over reacting that was fine, but he had encountered many strange things in the sands of Isara.
The bright moonlight cast long shadows across the dunes but whatever creature it was was clear atop one of them. Even at that distance he would tell it was huge, he took a step back, fearful even then. "What in the hells is that." He said without thinking.
The companions looked over their shoulder, only catching a glimpse of it as it disappeared into the shadows of the dune. They god to standing and each of them were confused at the sight. The howl came again, this time much closer, and the men familiar with wolves knew this was something larger and bigger. Knifes and axes were picked up, and they moved to protect the chained slaves who were just as frightened but didn't share language enough to complain.
Then they could hear it bounding toward them out of the long shadows over the sand. The moonlight washed it's fur in a pale blue. It's eyes were pink orbs bouncing in time with it's lopsided gallop.
Miriam loosed an arrow from her bow and it sailed into the night. She was sure it made contact but the creature didn't yelp or slow. She notched another arrow and Tirgan raised a hand to stop her from firing. She gave a quick sign. "Run and don't stop!"
"I wont leave you!"
"I'll be right behind. Just run!"
The companions were standing together until the wolf creature was into the oasis and they could see how huge it as. Moral broke immediately and they ran screaming, doing their best to scatter into the thick groves of palm trees.
EAT THEM! KILL THEM! EAT THEM ALL!
Miriam had run and made it to the far edge of the oasis, but Tirgan was nowhere to be seen. She could hear the screams in distance, the sound carried in the silent night. The palms were too dense to see too much, but the tops of palms danced and she could hear trunks snapping. What had the strength to do such a thing.
Then she made out her brother, his arm was shredded an his armor rent but he struggled to run towards her. "RUN SISTER RUN!"
He screamed for her to run and she found her feet moving before her mind caught up with what she had seen. The heavy footfalls of the creature were heard behind her and then she looked over her shoulder in time to see it, double the height of her brother and covered in blood, it slashed down and crumpled him into the sand. She wanted to stop, to do something for him, but she had already dropped her bow and arrows, she was running hard but the sand cut much of her momentum.
The gallop was heard again behind her, and then nothing as the sand absorbed the sound. She could only hear it's approaching heavy breath. She cut to an outcropping of stone, she thought maybe there would be somewhere to hide within. She was almost there when the sand gave way and she fell into a thin crack in the sandstone. She felt her ankle twist and she screamed in pain. The wolf creature roared in response.
It stood above her, atop the crack looking around but not seeing her beneath it's hulking form. Blood and gore dripped from it's fur and fell down onto her but she made no sound, even as what she knew were the remnants of her brother fell onto her. Its frustration mounted and it tore away from her. She could hear it searching but all she could do was remain silent, but her heart was a thunder in her chest and she felt that every breath was a cry.
Even after it was gone, she barely moved or made a sound, at least until the sun was up. She crawled from the crevasse and limped her way back to the oasis. There were no bodies, just smears of gore in the sand. She went back to where the slaves were and it was just bloody chains and a few hands and feet left behind.
She could do nothing but weep at the thought and the fact that she alone survived.
Shane awoke in a panic, the dream was too real but when he felt his hands and the stickiness across his naked body he knew full well what had happened. He gathered himself, there were bit of people let and he managed to find a pair of shredded pants and some fabric that perhaps once been a cover and draped it over himself. There was an oasis not far, he managed to get there and could tell already from the smell he had been there before. He found a pool of water and dunked himself into it, scrubbing the blood from his hair and skin.
It wasn't until it was all done that he heard the crying. She hadn't noticed him even after he inched closer. Perhaps it was best he didn't. He stole away from the Oasis leaving the crying woman, she was bloody but didn't look hurt form that distance. He knew where he had camped it wasn't that far from the oasis, at the least he would get his own clothing back soon.