Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Epilogue - III

The encompassing darkness was making it exceedingly difficult to traverse the rugged terrain. Normally this would not be much of a challenge for the solitary figure as her green eyes could navigate in almost no light, but this unnatural darkness seemed to impede even her accentuated senses. Sweat poured down the grey-brown skin of her neck and into the tanned bull-leather vest she wore. In better conditions she would have leapt from rock to rock with the grace of an eagle soaring over the air currents, but instead she crouched low and close to the ground her pace slowed to a crawl.

Always aware about the importance of finishing her task with due haste and running out of options she called upon simple magic, always aware of the danger of being discovered. Drawing upon the latent natural forces inherent in the ground and air around her, she cast the incantation.

"Ujjvala"

The darkness seemed to recede somewhat and her spirits rose. The elder needed her to scout this terrain quickly and she quickened her pace. As she moved onward the terrain sloped upward with fewer boulders to block her progress. A noisome smell filled her nostrils suddenly and she shifted her stride towards the increasingly disturbing smell. Her sensitive nose made out the alarming smell of blood in that noxious scent wafting in the evening breeze and she bolted in its direction terrified of what she might find. When she got close to the source of the acrid odour she abruptly slowed her pace, crouched down and approached cautiously. As she came into view of the area, her eyes widened in horror. She beheld a scene of gruesome carnage, a massacre she could not imagining ever witnessing. What seemed to be bodies or parts of bodies were strewn all over what was once a campsite. Feeling emotions she never normally experienced, her eyes welled up with tears seeing the dismembered body parts of her people. It looked like the travelling tribe of forest dwellers had been ambushed and brutally slain. Her people were vicious warriors yet even she could not comprehend why there were no signs of struggle and how a murder this brutal could be committed.

This was a tragedy. She piled up the bodies on a single pyre and after giving them last rites she lit the bonfire. She dashed back towards the fort to bring this grim news to her commander. Her mood became more sullen as she disappeared into the ever enveloping darkness.

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