This is a short story written about the two famous leaders of the Farra Lee tribe. The story starts out with a telling of the pivotal event that plunged Farra Moz into the role of a historic leader. Then there is a brief telling of the tribe’s predicament many years later and the enigmatic stranger that came to bring the tribe back to greatness.
“There has been too much fighting between the six tribes.” She bellowed with a voice that defied her lithe frame. “Every petty intrusion is met with a challenge! Every angry word is a matter for the mothers to handle. This cannot go on! Your mothers have made it law that we work together. The Keahp must work alongside the Thit. The Ahawk and the Shefrah-lish are sisters but you try to hurt each other with more hate than the Chezbah have for us! This bond will break if the fighting does not end.”
She stepped down from the table with help from Bahthien. He nodded to her and as they walked from the tent, he paused to glare at the assembly. Bahthien didn’t speak very often, he communicated his disproval effectively enough with that look.
“You’re taking a risk (translated from “jumping in a dark place” literally) by not consulting the other Mothers.” Bahtien said in a near whisper.
“What do I risk? Either they will listen or they won’t. If they don’t then nothing changes, the fighting continues and the bond tears apart. If they listen, then we gain the bond.” Farra Moz replied.”They may demand that you be removed as Mother.” He replied.
“Would you let your men do that?” She asked, not really needing an answer.
Bahthien grunted softly in reply. It had been a long two births. The bond was something never tried before. Many thought that there was no way to hide such a large group. Their numbers were edging up to three thousand all in one place. Farra Moz herself wondered if it was possible for so many Scimrahn to live together and still be able to pick their fights. So far the only way they could avoid the Chezbah was to run deep into the dark places where the Grier didn’t talk and the Hosent where dead. This made it very hard to get the weapons they needed for raids. Slowly their E-Suits were wearing down and the Maker Tribes were too far away to resupply. No, they would have to form an alliance with several Carriers and they would have to be willing to travel through dangerous territory.
Farra Moz and Bahthien left the chaos of the Pord that night, to everyone it seemed that they did this to emphasize their point and threaten that the Pakegaw might be leaving the bond. In truth it was because Moz was heavy with her fourth child and her feet were swollen. Maybe it was the hormones that made her stand up that night and rail against the crowd but it changed the course of history.
Moz and Bahthien entered their tent and slept, oblivious to remainder of the nights events.
Chah Fraw was a nervous person by nature but it had served her well. She would usually rather be cautious than act and make a mistake but tonight she was in a full panic. “The Keahp tribe lost a quarter of our fighters in the last raid! If the Pakegaw leave the rest will leave too and we will not have the ability to defend ourselves from a Chezbah attack! We have no choice but to relent to Farra Moz demands.”
Difrek shook her head but some of the loose bits decided to stay where they were. It it a rare thing to see a Scimrahn with enough fat to have her jowls shake like they did but Difrek was old and seventeen children made her body store whatever nutrients it could. “Would you hand over your tribe to her? I myself would not. The Shefrah-lish will not consent to being strong armed.”
“Of course you wouldn’t” came the tinny voice from behind. Deg-chawk would naturally take the opposite stand of the woman that took her husband. “You are only interested in clutching on to what little control you have over your tribe. As for the Ahawk, our motto is ‘The Scimrahn are sisters’, we do not care who leads us as long as it is to success.
“Difrek scowled “Back to you torn tent seeter! Your tribe is barren and you need someone to save you from starvation.”
Deg-chawk’s mouth curled into a wicked Grin “Three tribes become one and what is left for you? Do you not think the other two will follow? All fear breaking the bond if Chah Fraw and I tell them the stakes, that we are going to join the Pakegaw and they will be left behind if they do not join what do you think they’ll do?”
“Frahnik will not consent, they are too proud and Chir be is too intelligent to lead the Thit after a chig like Farra Moz. I see three and three. Split down the middle and your people will remove you as Mother when they hear that you want to make them servants of the Pakegaw.” Difrek retorted.
The three split up, Chah Fraw to Elezke Neah the Mother of the Frahnik, Deg-chawk and Difrek to Chir, Mother of the Thit.”Neah! Have you heard?” Chah Fraw started.
“Fraw, what is the matter? I heard something about Farra Moz getting on a table and shouting but doesn’t she usually do that kind of thing?”
“This time it was different! I fear that she means to break up the bond if the divisions between the tribes continue.”
Elezke Neah’s brow furrowed “I do not think that Farra Moz would break the bond. We have on many occasions discussed it’s importance. It’s she that most often says that the tribes need each other.”
“I know, I know. She has often said the same to me.” Chah Fraw answered, “But something in her demeanor changed tonight. She made it clear that she felt the bond would not survive. I fear that my tribe has no choice but to swear by the motto of the Pakegaw. Deg-chawk is prepared to do the same.”
Elezke Neah’s face fell “I thought it would be Difrek that would first make a move like this, not Moz. I must speak to her.”
“You can’t! She has left the Poord and gone into privacy!”
“Then this is serious. She may be planning to leave the bond immediately. I’ve always relied on you and Farra Moz for direction, I am too young to know what is best in so many things. But my people will not want this. How can I tell them to swear by a new motto?”
Chah Fraw nodded “Yes there will be some resistance, there is with any change but I do not think there is any woman that is not aware of the contentions that threaten to tear the bond apart. The matter settles itself.”
Chir did not get the benefit of such a calm and thoughtful discussion. The two Mothers Difrek and Deg-chawk rarely were in the same room without threats and shouting resulting. In the end Chir left the battling women to themselves and went into privacy herself.
Moz and Bahthien woke to the sound of feet shuffling in unison outside the tent. This meant one thing. Someone wanted them to come out of privacy.
“What now?” Moz groaned.”Mmmmmmm not good” Bahthien mumbled.
“There are a lot of them out there. It has to be inter-tribal and serious. I wonder if one of ours killed someone? Why else would there be so many?” She wondered out loud.
“Pfffft! Let them shuffle their feet, I’m sleeping.” he insisted.
“Bahthien! I need you, I can hardly hand out a judgement without you to enforce it.”Bahthien growled and put on one of Farra Moz tunics and his helmet which had seventy two teeth from Chezbah hounds attached to it so that the teeth stood on his head pointing in every direction. Farra Moz laughed and put on his tunic.
When they stepped from their tent, they were awestruck. Four Mothers and their Enforcers stood at the door. Hundreds more crowded the Pakegaw camp.
Chah Fraw stepped forward “We have heard your words Ferra Moz. As all Scimrahn are sisters we ask you not to depart from us. To ensure that you do not, we hereby swear by the Pakegaw motto ‘Blood and Sweat’!”
Behind her the crowd, along with the other three Mothers erupted “Blood and Sweat!”
Ferra Moz cried. It was done, the tribes that swore by the motto were now Pakegaw.
To ask why they had decided to join her tribe would be an insult both to them and the tribe so even though this was the foremost question on her mind she stifled it. She approached each of the four former Mothers and hugged them.
“You have made us strong today” She started “and long lives to you! People of the Pakegaw, a great good is with you!”
The crowed raised their arms and shook their hands. This is how the Scimrahn cheer without making noise that could give their location away.
“Now with our differences behind us, we can now face outwards and take the fight to the Chezbah!”
Again arms raised and hands fluttering.
“What concerns me now is that you do not have fresh equipment. I can’t expect anything other than the last raid unless you have good supplies. I will consult with the other Moth, excuse me, I speak incorrectly. I will consult with my sisters” she pointed to the three women that had just handed over their tribes to her. “on what is to be done about this. We have amassed goods for trade, now we must find someone to trade with.”
“Will you leave us to die Ferra Moz?” came a voice from the back of the crowd. She could not see the speaker but she knew who it was who spoke. She had come, but had not sworn by the motto or she would have been up front with the other Mothers.”
Chir of the Thit, you are welcome here! Come to the front of the assembly.” Ferra Moz signaled the crowed to let her through, they acted hesitantly at first. They were used to Farra Moz being someone else’s Mother and ignoring her orders.
Chir stepped through the parting crowd and to the front. She had brought her Enforcer and his Warriors it seemed that she was expecting a fight that she might not be able to walk away from easily. Difrek was with her.
It was Difrek who now spoke “You have betrayed the bond! The Shefrah-lish will not take this insult idly and we are not just threatening a challenge! Challenges are for the past!”
Ferra Moz had delt with Difrek before. She straightened her body and got ready “You dare come to my tribe and threaten war! We are five times your size and we will fight with every woman and man! You don’t even know why you want to fight!” She boomed with a voice that Difrek couldn’t hope to compete with. Each statement was calculated, first reverse the insult so that it wasn’t Difrek being insulted but herself, next take the wind out of her threat by comparing the sizes of the tribes, and last challenging her reasoning. Now her demeanor changed to a softer one. “No Chir, I will not leave you to die and no I have not abandoned the bond. It still lives! But because of the swearing that happened here there will be some changes.”
She had no time to think about these things. She had to give a convincing an likable answer to the two other tribes immediately. But what would work? Despite her bravado a fight with the other tribes would cripple them now and it would be no different than if the Bond had failed in the first place. Difrek had been in constant odds with Deg-chawk and that created great animosity between the tribes. That would have to be addressed also.
She began “There is no doubt that the Bond has had it’s problems. It has also had it’s strengths and its failures. Difrek, Chir, I ask you to consider this and take it to your tribes. Can the Bond make our now three tribes stronger? My answer is yes! We can still use it to help all our tribes. However, when the Bond was made it was with six tribes all equal. The Pakegaw is now larger than the the Shefrah-lish and the Thit. I know that you think we will use this to dominate you and if the Bond stayed as it is, that is the only thing that could happen! For your tribes as well as the Pakegaw consider this.” She paused she was still just stalling for time by stating the obvious, telling them what she wanted and then telling them what they didn’t want would not happen. Then it hit her! Would it work? She had no time to consider the ramifications of the idea. “To survive raids the tribes require weapons and protection. The Bond as it is, does not provide for that, in fact the Keahp lost many good men because we do not have what we need to fight. Something that has troubled me for many cycles is that if we were to fail a raid and were pursued, we would need somewhere safe to go to. We have no safe place but the darkness now.”
“There is no safe place from the Chezbah!” one of the Chir’s warriors shouted.”Yes there is.” Ferra Moz replied. “What does a Maker Tribe do? They have secret escapes laid out for themselves so they can scatter. What did our Mothers from long ago do when there was nothing but hiding? They dug holes in the dirt and hid their entrances. We must do the same but for many more people. Will it be easy? No! We would have already done it if it was.”
Difrek was bold and ambitious but not overly bright. “How does this change anything? Are you saying that you will now be telling us that we must do these things?”
Chir on the other hand was far more thoughtful “I hear you Ferra Moz, you propose the Bond has each tribe take a job that helps us all”.
Difrek snapped at her “Will you turn over your tribe too?”
Chir was levelheaded, and did not react to the insult. “No Difrek and neither will you. I know what Ferra Moz is saying. The Mothers have debated every action since the Bond was made. It has made us slow to react, slow to decide and weak in our decisions. If we each take one job then we will be work apart but still for the Bond.”
Difrek Stood motionless.
Ferra Moz now continued “This is the hard part, this will only work one way. I don’t want to impose who will do these jobs but the character of you and your tribes are really only suited to do this one way. Chir must take the job of making our defensive retreats because of her intelligence and Difrek must take the job of a Carrier Tribe.”
Difrek’s face grew red “We are Raiders! We are braver warriors than all the tribes of the Bond! It is an insult to make my people anything else!”
“Difrek I mean no insult, and when I say that this can only work one way it is because of you bravery. Why do we have no Carrier Tribe now?”
It started to sink in. “Because no one will travel this deep into Chezbah territories.” Difrek answered.
“And that is why only the courage of the Shefrah-lish is what makes them the only ones that could become our Carrier tribe.”
“Even so, we do not have enough Carriers (Freighters) to function as a Carrier tribe. There is no way we could do this.” Difrek objected.
“We will have to give your tribe consideration in this matter. For the Bond, and for our own welfare we will have to give you all our goods that we do not need to survive.”
A murmur rose up from the crowd. The tribes had carried out five raids and they had been very successful. She was making a very large concession to Difrek, essentially handing over everything they had worked to amass for the last two births (eighteen months). This did not go unnoticed by Difrek as the look of anger that so often was on her face melted and turned to shock.
“However! However!” She raised her arms to show she was also addressing the crowd’s concerns. “The Shefrah-lish must make a concession to us. We will give them everything we do not need to survive. They must do the same for us. They will need fewer Warriors and weapons than they have now. They must marry into our tribes.”
Difrek’s face soured again but after a moment of consideration she nodded. “It could be done.”
Many births later, after many victories by the tribe that became known as the Farra after their great leader.
“Who is that Chahmbik?” He squinted against the darkness trying to discern features.
Chambik looked the way that Tholec indicated. His eyes were keen.
“He’s either Chezbah or Kelec. His hair and skin are pale.”
“Go and find out, kill him if he’s Chezbah. If he’s Kelec, we will greet him.” Tholec ordered.
Chambik ran out in front of the tribe. His laser always at the ready, waiting for any hostile movement. The white faced figure gave no recognition that he was approaching. His hair seemed wrong for a Chezbah. He could almost see a sad expression on his face. His cloths were wrong, not only for a Chezbah, but even for a Scimrahn and he was far too short to be Kelrath. They were colorful like the Kelrath clothing but fit close to his body.
“You! Are you Chezbah?” Chambik called out, readying his laser to fire.
“I am not.” He replied in a strange dialect.
“Are you Kelec then?” He lowered his laser.
“In a sense I am. . .”
Chambik braced his laser. “Be clear stranger. Are you my enemy?”
“I am not your enemy.” The stranger replied.
“Then be clear, are you Kelec?”
“I am Kelec and more.”
Chambik lowered his laser again “Then we would welcome you. I will tell my Enforcer.”
Running back to Tholec, Chambik puzzled over the stranger. He did not fit anything he knew. He wanted to be able to explain that to Tholec but wasn’t sure how to describe it.
“Tholec, the stranger is Kelec but he is strange, I have never seen a man like him.” Chambik reported.
“Kelec are usually strange from what I have been told.” Tholec replied. He waited for more but Chambik said nothing. “We will greet him then.” He turned around. “Mbiech, collect whatever food we will not need past today and bring it together.”
Mbeich was Tholec’s son and was accustomed to being his father’s right hand even though his rank did not warrant it.
“Yes father, there will not be much.” He warned.
“I know, but there will be enough for a final gift and maybe a song will be sung about us because of our generosity to this Kelec.
“Tholec’s son weaved and bobbed through the mothers collecting scraps of food. Tholec’s heart felt heavy in his chest. There was nothing else left to do, the great Farra Tribe that had struck fear in the heart of Chezbah Warriors would soon come to it’s end. There was still one small Chezbah city that they could reach before the Chezbah war machine found them. The net was closing around them but slowly enough to strike back one more time before they were wiped out. Generations of the Farra tribe had fought the Chezbah and succeeded. He didn’t know if it was his leadership that caused this or if Loc had focused on them in a way that he never had before. Maybe all the preparation over all the years were just slowing Loc down and this was inevitable. He would never have the chance to find out.
“This is what we have Tholec” Mbeich said holding a skin full of food.
“That will carry one man further that it would have us.” Tholec replied.
Tholec and his warriors approached the stranger. Tholec saw now what Chambik talked about, to many things were wrong about him. Instead of a wise old man as Tholec expected, the stranger was young and did not seem to have the wisdom about him that a Kelec or “Seer” should have.
Tholec approached him. “Kelec, we bring you a gift. We ask that you remember who we are and what we are about to do.”
The stranger bent over strangely, then greeted Tholec. “Father, I thank you, I have not eaten in some time, I don’t know how long. Tell me your story so it can be remembered.”
“You address me as ‘Father’? How can that be? You are Kelec? What is your name?”
“My name is Lee.”