The Hardest Things to Never Say

  • Baron

    Previous Story -

    The rain dove from the sky in great sheets, chased from the heavens by the roar of thunder. Tioteche watched from a protected balcony atop the Grand Mound as two processions left Kaiaomec. One led by Xaliti, the other by Sipowae. One heading North, the other South. One laden with precious Gifts, the other with Warriors. One a mission of Peace, the other of Death. Both sought to eliminate enemies - Albiet in vastly different ways.

    Tioteche wraps a patterned woolen blanket around himself and looks at Kaiao. She sits across the balcony from him, staring down at the northern procession. Neither of them have spoken or tried to move closer. This is the way it was now between them, coalesced here on this balcony. Kaiao was so different now, so unlike the excitable youth he had escaped Saskitchemoch with years ago. Maybe he had changed as well, no - he was sure he had. But what had he done to illicit such distrust? How long had it been since they had shared a quiet evening together, or even a stroll? How long since they shared a night? She must see him staring at her, but Kaiao wont turn to meet his gaze. Tio knows he should say something, anything, to bridge this gap between them. "You seem pleased." He says instead, wincing inwardly.

    "Our people endeavor for the good of the Moch. If some must venture to a faraway wasteland, so be it." She says, shooting Tioteche an irritated glance.

    "Sending Sipowae to fight the Southern Mochs was necessary. But Xaliti? To Senitwaa'iti? Why send someone so crucial to an almost certain death?" Asked Tioteche.

    "You shouldn't disrespect Sipowae. He is strong. Dependable. Present." Her words were quiet, forced through her hoarse throat. Yet they held an edge, a darkness both potent and unspoken. "Your own words named Xaliti our most capable Warrior, it seems fitting she's sent on this most pivotal expedition."

    Tioteche bit back a retort as Kaiao turned away to watch Xaliti's caravan depart. She has dismissed herself from the conversation, something she'd begun doing often. It was getting worse. He could tell she hadn't been sleeping again, the sleepless dreams - The Visions - had returned. A turmoil raged behind her eyes, mirroring the roiling sky above. Her hatred of Xaliti was a symptom of some deeper sickness.

    The both remained quiet. No sounds save the occasional clap of thunder and the hollow pattering of rain broke their shared silence. After a long moment she finally spoke. "We could have sent you. We know how you'll die, and it isnt in Senitwaa'iti."

    Tioteche sighed and leaned forward on the roped railing of the balcony. "We cannot trust the Visions, Kaiao. There is something here that doesn't seem right, something that doesn't fit together. To trust anything blindly is foolish."

    "Foolish?!" Kaiao snapped, her chapped lips cracking open anew at the outburst. "Was it foolish to blindly trust them when our people were starving in the wilderness? You didn't complain then. The Visions led us here to this buried ruin and we rebuilt it. The Visions revealed the Grand Mound you now stand on. They showed us the hidden complex where the Forgotten was found. They led us to federalize into a great Moch. And they have shown me your death. You will die in my arms in a foreign land." She stepped forward, hand reaching up to cup Tioteche's face - an act conveying the completely opposite mood from her words. "These are facts, Tio. Why do you struggle against them? Where is your faith? Twae has guided us here."

    Wrapping an arm around her, he could feel that she was ice cold. Hastily Tio opened his blanket and draped it around the both of them. "Twae'koa guides us so our souls may escape this imprisoned existence. It does not grant visions of the future."

    Kaiao's expression hardened again as she pulled away from him and disentangled herself from the blanket. She turns back towards the north, silently watching Xaliti's caravan wind it's way out of sight. Tio opens his mouth but no words will form. What could he say?

    The sudden sound of someone deliberately coughing caused them both to whip around. An attendant stood in the doorway, one of Tioteche's - how long had he been listening? "Douse my intrusion, Bloodchief. I have an urgent message from the northern pathfinders."

    Tioteche stood straight, his facade of Kaiaomoch Bloodchief falling back into place. "And? What is it?"

    The attendant smiled briefly and clasped his hands together. "They've captured one, Bloodchief. One of the Whispers. Pale Skinned and Sun Haired, a Dantaise!"

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