Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nomadic day # 2

(I have run with the primitive day motif I first developed, but no longer seek to represent my day at work.)

She is shreiking at me through the bars. I cannot keep her, I cannot release her, I cannot give her up. Hurling insults sharper than a snake's tongue, but I have already defanged her by cutting her off from her source of majick. The great white bird, now only an angry mortal woman. A witch.
"Omji-yah," she croons now, "Omji-yah, ne tay shesh ga." She's asking to be released. 'Omji-yah' means 'Tall one'. It is what she calls me, since I dare not speak to her, even less to tell my name. Names have power and she cannot have that over me. Not more than she already does.
Over the snap and crack of the fire, she promises me beauty, a fine horse, and a warrior man to make a wife of me.
Beauty is an idle draw. My paints and muscles make me more than beautiful; I am an object of use, far more precious and rare. I do not even consider the horse. It would create ownership and jealousy in the tribe, things lethal to our culture. The most enticing lure is the husband. Many in my world have vied for me, not realizing it is in the fight (Hah! Petty squabbles.) that they lose me. They are worse than children. At least children play with gravitas.
The greatest fear I posses is that when I am bound, my hunt will end; never again to know my racing heartbeat, the give of the ground when I lunge, my sweat soaked leather smell, the wide sunset?
I make my offering of beans, a measure for myself and her, and include in my prayer an extra appeal that she may bring me enough reputation to secure a good man. Assuming I can find it in my heart to want him.
I am up early. First, to train, then breakfast for us (she won't wake 'til it's cold), finally, to move on, to continue this facade, pretend everything is normal, praying that the tribe following a few days behind doesn't notice the heavier cart tracks. What a foolish place to be stuck in.
Around noon the witch wakes. She gabbles at me about her dreams, how she slept, what she thinks of breakfast. What a strange prey. She acts like this is a game, like she is unconcerned about what she knows, what we know, is forthcoming. We've seen the smoke. The hideous, black, greasy smoke. She seems to beg for freedom more to torment me than to obtain it. She seems genuinely interested in picking me apart, has mused at length about my nose (too long), my feet (too knobbly), my back (like an ox's, though I am unsure if this is good or bad) and my breasts (too pointy). My only rebuttal has been to furiously wrap my chest harder the next morning.
"Omji-yah, If you shaved your hair further back, you would certainly find a man." That is something I have wanted to try for many seasons. How could she know I have thought it so handsome? Perhaps she saw the shaving scar on my cheek (from my over-enthusiastic childhood) and reasoned that I was razor-happy. I briefly debate keeping her as a pet, using her for beauty advice upon my return to camp, hiding her away. They'd likely notice the loss of the cart or my increased "appetite".
For someone so strong, I am weak-willed. But men scare me, and when I am most afraid, I attack. She could be the weapon I need.
As if on cue, the witch launches into a tale of a girl many centuries ahead, a succesor of mine, who will fight with a small stick of ink as a weapon, both sword and shield. Maybe witchcraft drives a person mad?
She eats her rinds and breakfast scraps. The only action I've seen that leads me to believe that she does not want our arrangement to be discovered either. Bored and sated, she begins to tell me what it's like to fly, and the great rushing torrent of happiness I could never understand.

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