SURVIVAL OF THE BEST
After Kalhai the Northern Reptilian warrior challenged Devon to a duel, the fought a relentless battle. Eventually, Devon killed Kalhai - but he took some heavy injuries himself, as well. Some days later, he wakes up in Syrana’s village.
Devon: (very slowly opens one eyelid. He cannot see anything, it is all so blurrish.) Where… what… where am I? (sighs. He can feel, that he is laying on soft fur and wool like stuff.) Hello…? (he sees a silhouette of somebody; not Syrana since it’s green, and it speaks something foreign. He recognizes the medic, who was treating him earlier.)
Medic: (He is an older Reptilian with yellow scales under his eyes. He is already build much thinner than normal, but he still wields a special kind of strength. He is checking the bandages around Devon’s collar bone, arm and neck. He also puts some healing paste on his snout, where some pieces of flesh are missing after Kalhai’s biting attacks.)
Devon: Aaww... it is you again... I suppose... I have to thank you again for curing my wounds. (he babbles something like "Thank you" in the Northern language - an easy word, since it was the first pieces of that tongue he was able to learn. Then, he tries to move his head a bit.) S... Syrana...? Where...
Medic: (answers something and then hisses at his human slave child and it quickly runs out from the hut. Then he helps Devon to slowly sit and he hands him a chalice filled with warm herbal liquid and just gives a simple order like "drink it". Devon heard that spoke many times of him already.)
Devon: (swallows the warm juice. First, the terrible taste burns his tongue and throat - but only for a moment. Very quickly, the medicine reveals it's healing powers and Devon feels a nice and calm feeling in his body. His throat and neck already stops hurting and he feels warm and ease.)
Syrana: (enters the hut, leaving the kid outside and makes a slight bow in the medic's direction, who performs the same movement. Then she smiles at Devon.) Welcome amongst the living.
Medic: (takes chalice from Devon and checks on his shoulder bandage.)
Devon: (smiles when he recognizes Syrana, though smiling hurts since his jaw is still not fully healed.) Argh... I am glad to see you... that fight... hmm... took me longer, then I thought!
Syrana: (sits on edge of the bed) I am happy to see you alive... and what did you expected after that fight?
Devon: (sighs.) Well... I had no fast fight in mind... but I didn't intend this to be that hard, either.
Syrana: Now you know what I was talking about. Totally different material than what you know.
Devon: Yes... if every warrior I know would be as half strong as Kalhai, that would be an army... which nobody could conquer! (tries to get up and falls back into the bed again.) Oh, my... I feel so pitiful! I hate being so helpless...
Medic: (takes off some bandages from Devon’s shoulder, exposing sewed wound covered with some herbal paste.)
Syrana: That's why almost nobody tries to mock them on their territories, it is they who do that... (pats his wrist.) I have a feeling, that this land may bring you a lot more surprises then I expected...
Devon: Usually, I like surprises... if I am the one who makes them! (smiles.) But if this fight with Kalhai was to show me how tough Norss are... it was worth it.
Syrana: I am sure it was. (hands the medic a new piece of bandage when he asked her.) You will have lots of opportunities to make surprises yourself as well and... (turns around as an elderly looking Reptilian enters the hut and makes a greeting gesture and starts talking something to Syrana.)
Devon: (tries to understand something from the talk, but he is too tired and they both are talking too fast.) Something wrong...? I don't hope, that some people want... to take revenge about Kalhai's unfortunate passing. (he must smile again. He got his dark humour back, after all.)
Syrana: (elder finishes and goes out.) Uhhm... no, they understand that it was yours and his private thing and they respect gods decision about life and death when it comes to fight on the rock... but elders want to see you as soon as you will feel better to fulfil the tradition of challenges.
Devon: Elders... every time I hear about elders, I must think of unnecessary long talking and babbling... sorry, I don't intent to insult your people but... (moves in a better position.) I never trusted our elders. So, it'll be hard to accept yours... but I will try to make a difference here.
Syrana: It is just a formality, they just ask you few questions I guess...
Devon: (quickly.) It is alright. Maybe, they want to worship my victorious battle... (dreams about being new king and makes a weird smile of self-loving expression.)
Syrana: Maybe, I don't know... I suppose, I am going to be needed there as a translator anyway.
Devon: I could not think of a better one more suitable for this job! (holds her hand.) I guess... in a few hours I will be ready to talk to your elders.
Syrana: Those are not my elders... this is my elder. (points with chin at medic.) And you really should get well quickly, we must leave this place soon… before the blizzards...
Devon: (snores and growls.) I hate this cold... blizzards you say? (tries to get up and finally leaves the bed and stands insecure on his two feet. He holds Syrana’s hands - not to get help, but merely to feel her touch.) Alright... take me to these elders... what we can do now, won't bother us later.
Syrana: I suppose you should put something on first...
(Devon grabs a furry coat, which lays next to his bed and follows Syrana and her medic out of the hut. The air is fresh and not too cold. Maybe, Devon already got a little bit used to the climate of the Northern Lands.)
Syrana: (leads them to the big hut on the edge of the village. It is all painted with some local mysterious symbols and it has great bear skull hanging over the entrance; it kinda forces to gain respect and there is some holiness in this place. Syrana enters it not even waiting for the others.)
Devon: (waits a few moments in front of that hut and stares at the huge skull.) I'd like to know, who killed THAT beast... (he talks to himself. Then, he shakes his head and joins the others insides the hut. It is warm and a little bit dark inside... more or less a gloomy and mystical.)
(The hut looks like a gathering place - more than something where you can live. There are heeds and paintings on the walls, some amulets and big heavy and ornamented table. Behind that table are sitting four really elderly looking Reptilians; there is also one young warrior, who just finished to greet Syrana in the way Kalhai once did.)
Devon: (he looks a little bit around and seems quite fascinated by the jewellery. This kinda reminds him of his very own lair, which was burned to the ground by Xevon’s troops - but fortunately, this memory does not occur right now. As the young warrior recognizes and greets him as well, Devon performs the same greeting to him. He saw this move so many times by now, and it was not very difficult to remember. Then, he places himself right next to Syrana, who is standing in front of the huge table. Devon does not quite know, what he should do here.)
Elder: (they discuss something between themselves for a moment, then one of them takes the voice and speaks something to the gathered people. Then he makes a gesture at Devon, to come closer.)
Devon: (he does not know why, be he feels a little bit insecure. Maybe, it's the age of that four elders - which is way beyond his own age at least 3 times. Slowly, he goes closer so that his legs are already touching the table.)
Elder: (speaks something to Devon and his tone suggests, that is was a question. Then he just looks at him waiting for the answer.)
Syrana: (recognizes some confusion on Devon’s face.) He is asking, if you realize what kind of consequences Kalhai’s action might caused.
Devon: (moves his head in understanding. He turns his eye from Syrana to the elders.) I am... not sure. He challenged me for still some... uncertain reasons. I accepted and eventually defeated Kalhai. But... I don't know, where this action may lead to...
Syrana: (she translates Devon’s sentences, while the elders look at him cautiously, one even keep a piece of round glass in front of his eye and another one just turns his head to Devon’s direction, since his eyes are totally white. He just listens.)
Elder: (speaks something directly to Devon; making some hand gestures, which may suggest explanations.)
Syrana: Kalhai's action was - in their eyes - very irresponsible and while he challenged you, he wasn't thinking about what may happen in situation which we have right now...
Devon: (feels a little bit uncomfortable, but he doesn't show this. To mask this feeling, he crosses his arms in front of his chest to get some distance. He tries to look and speak very calm and almost menacing, since he feels no guild.) Well, and what situation could that be? I mean no disrespect, but Kalhai challenged ME! And I thought, you and your gods accept this and it'd be all okay now.
Elder: (after Syrana’s translation he again speaks to Devon in a calm way. Also doing lots of gestures again.)
Syrana: Of course, they accept the gods choice. They absolutely have no doubts, that you earned our victory... nevertheless, you are an outlander and that confuses them a little. Normally, only Norss fight with each other in this way...
Devon: (to himself.) Hm... I see, like breaking the tradition. (to the elders again.) I assure you, that by fighting Kalhai, I wanted to follow your tradition and habits. Maybe, NOT fighting him would have been the right cause of action... but what's done is done. What shall I do now?
Elder: (listens to Syrana again then speaks and places a silver ornamented dagger in front of him.)
Syrana: according to tradition you already proven that you have right in your and Kalhai’s quarrel...and because he was the one who threw the challenge and he loosed... you gained right to posses all his belongings starting with this dagger.
Devon: (hesitates a moment, but then he steps forward and opens his hands to receive the dagger. His fierce face becomes smoother and he smile, for he begins to understand the Norss' tradition.) Well, I appreciate this.
Elder: (watches at Devon and continues his speech.)
Syrana: It is also a problem, because he was a chieftain of this tribe... normally you would gain right to ask elder tribunal to take his place… but since you are an outlander and subject of the fight was not leadership, they have to make other steps.
Devon: (opens his eyes wide.) Chieftain of this tribe? I didn't know... I mean... well, it was quite clear. Never mind... (turns his head to Syrana, smiles, watches the elders again.) So, what do I have to do to gain leadership over your tribe?
Syrana: (after translating and listening to elder's speech.) If you would be one of them, then verdict would be easier to make...
Devon: (thinks a little bit. The next step was somehow clear to him from the very beginning he arrived here.) Alright... what do I have to do, to join your tribe? Or is this impossible for an outlander? At least, you do ally with other people... (points at Syrana.)
Elder: (speaks something and in meantime points with a hand at the Reptilian warrior, who sat quiet for all the time. Now that one just bows his head at them.)
Syrana: (translates.) They see you worthy, but cannot allow outlander to lead their people. They hope you to understand, since you were a leader somewhere else... that's why leadership will go to Kalhai's younger brother O'riiab and chieftain of the elu-norss. As for you... you will gain right to be his representative and eventual replacement, if he will not be able do his duties... do you accept?
Devon: (thinks a little bit, and though he is not quite satisfied with the thought of being "number two", he moves his head in agreement.) I... accept.
Elder: (nods and puts his hands on the table and it seems that this is the end of the talking, because O'riiab bows slightly and starts to walk out and Syrana catches Devon’s arm and drags him delicately to bow as well.)
Devon: (quickly, he wants to leave the hut with Syrana. He moves his head to her ear and whispers.) Can we... talk in private somewhere?
Syrana: (before she manages to answer, O'riiab walks to Dev and bows his head with respect and speaks something to him.)
Devon: (stops on his foot, turns and bows to O’riiab and the elders again.) I apologize... (then he watches at Syrana quite nervous.)
Syrana: (looks at him.) He just wanted to apologize for his brother's behaviour and stupidity and all the problems...
Devon: (looks at O'riiab and somehow, he feels a little bit sorry for him; though he does not know why.) I appreciate this... but it was not your fault. Your brother did what he thought it would right... though we don't have such rituals in my place, I can assure you... he died like a warrior! With pride and honour... (he remembers Kalhai's dead eyes.)
Syrana: (translates and O’riiab just hits delicately in Devon’s arm in sign of understanding and having no issues about it, simply put "it is okay", then he bows his head and walks away.) They are tough... what did you wanted to talk?
Devon: Well… it’s just… although I have not planned anything of this - from my rescue to the opportunity to gather and lead a grand army - I feel a bit… distracted. It's hard to explain... (takes a deep breath.)
Syrana: (smirks) I perfectly understand... you can even speak loud, nobody will understand you anyway, you also need to lay down before you feel down (leads him back to his hut)
Devon: (walks a bit clumsy at her side and breathes again.) Well… I can’t make a picture of all this. I mean, I didn’t thought it’d be easy for me here, but… first, a chieftain is challenging me, then I get all his stuff as “prize” and in the next moment, I am the “second in command” of another warrior, I have never seen before! And... hell... (sighs.) I guess, I am just confused.
Syrana: You are more lucky then you deserve, maybe… (pushes him inside of his hut.)
Devon: Maybe, it was just... too much for my first week here. (tries to laugh, but some of his wounds start to hurt again.) Another rest will easy my mind, I suppose.
Syrana: Most likely, and I really advice you to heal quicker... birds already flew south and we should as well... unless you want to spend 6 months being dig in snow to your knees and with cracking blizzards!
Devon: No way! The sooner this frenzy climate passes, the better! (runs inside the hut. Syrana follows.)