Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Great Goat Herd of the Small Abbey of Secret Wisdom--Part 18

Bayezit soared through the trees, making his way with a grace that belied his nervousness. Of course, he’d been on the run plenty of times in his life--a man with his habits generally attracted that sort of attention--and had acquired the skills that kept him from devolving into panic. Too many Devs thought that wings and apporting kept them easily above all others, ignoring that without training and a calm head, you--

He felt the feet slam into his back. Pain shot through his wings as he fell to the ground, protecting his face with his arm. A moment after landing he managed to rise unsteadily, and blinking, opened his eyes.

The female Thanatos stood there, leaning by a tree. “Yeah,” she noted, “I admit it’s a bit crude--but it takes down you Devs quicker than quick.” She peered at him a moment. “So--what house are you?”

Bayezit winced as he flexed a wing and felt the pain shoot through him. He considered an apport, but the amount of pain he was in right now made that unreliable. Another… another thing those of his fellows who… “I don’t have a house,” he stated flatly.

“Right, right, they cast you out or something,” said the Thanatos with a yawn. “Thing is, I’m from the Mountains of Sorrow--well, one of the flat bits, admittedly--and I know you guys. You’ve always got a house you came from. Even if you’re so poor you got to beg the other Devs for work…”

“I was born into the Barbanes,” said Bayezit.

The woman nodded. “One of the big ones.”

“Maybe parts of it,” said Bayezit, swaying unsteadily. “Not my father’s part… We were farmers, basically.”

“Yeah, and I’m betting you had people to bring in the harvests for you, and lived in a house where everyone had their own room to sleep in,” snapped the woman. “Don’t think you can make me feel sorry for you. I know you’re a small-timer. Everything about you screams it. You and that partner of yours--I’ve bumped into variations of you a lot in my travels, and at heart, you’re all the same. Little boys who liked to pull thing wings off flies, and just moved up as you got older.” She leaned forward. “And maybe you’ve told yourself that you’re the biggest, scariest thing there is, but guess what? You aren’t.”

Bayezit subtly moved a hand to his sleeve. “And I suppose you are…?”

The Thanatos gave a dismissive wave of her hand. “Nahh. I’m a… whatchyamacallit? The cute, harmless little things…” She bit her lip and shook her head. “Ehh, it’ll come to me. I was heading that way for awhile, mind you--but then--well, I took a look around me, and realized that I was heading down a very dangerous path. A path that usually ended badly, and for such… stupid reasons. And so I stopped. Learned to fight with honor. Became a warrior of chivalry.” She blinked. “Which isn’t as different from my old life as you think, but it is amazingly less damaging spiritually.”

“Is… there a reason you’re telling me all this?” Bayezit asked, as the familiar feel of a hilt settled in his hand.

“Ehh, I suppose to make sure I still view you assholes as humans,” stated the Thanatos. “Keep me from winding up like you despite myself. Real danger for my sort. When you can kill with a touch, every problem can start looking like a potential excuse for murder if you don’t watch yourself.” She smiled at him, in a way that seemed neither cruel, nor kind. “And here’s another part of that--I’m giving you a chance. It’s not because you particularly deserve it--hells, I’m willing to bet you don’t--but I’m a sportin’ gal, and stomping you flat while you were on your back for all intents and purposes wouldn’t be particularly chivalrous. So I will turn my back, giving you a chance to--assuming you are sensible--slip away, and not have to worry about me. Hey, maybe you’ll even go on, make a new life, and become an outstanding citizen--someone who puts me to shame.” She turned around, chuckling to herself. “I mean--anything’s possible.”

Bayezit stared at her back for a moment. He glanced over his shoulder, and considered his options. And then he darted forward, knife in hand and tried to stab her in the back.

The Thanatos moved so swiftly she was simply a blur. One hand grabbed his arm, while the other pressed against his forehead. As the pain entered him, Bayezit heard her say, “You know--one of these days, one of you guys will take the smart option. Still--at least this way I know you’ve got this coming…”

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