Part Two. (<Previous)
“If you know about the cycle, you cannot leave.”
The Shriken woman took a step forward. Marisa ripped her sword from her back and pointed it forward. Marisa had only ever used her sword against wild animals. She wasn’t sure if she could fight a skilled opponent.
The Shriken sighed and then leaped forward. In an instant she was in front of Marisa. Her arm swung low, into the girl’s stomach. Marisa fell to the ground coughing. She felt a foot on her back, and then the Shriken woman spoke.
“I don’t know what to do with you,” she sounded uneasy, “but I cannot let you go. I will take you to the rest of the council.”
The Shriken stood Marisa up and grabbed her by the shoulder. Marisa held tight to her sword with the other hand as she was led back out through the cave. When they got to the entrance, Marisa pulled her arm upwards and swung at her captor.
The Shriken stopped the attack at the wrist and wrenched the sword from Marisa’s had, throwing it onto the stone ground and stomping on it. She looked Marisa in the eyes as she bent the weapon into the stone.
“If you do not struggle, I will not hurt you.”
Marisa looked at her defiantly. It was all she had left. She was lead out of the cave and towards the neighbouring mountain. She looked into the sky. The sun was getting low, she should be returning soon, and returning with food, but she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to now.
Marisa was led into another, more hidden cave. After a short journey into the mountain, the cave opened up. The walls were smooth and the ceilings cavernous. It was dark, but Marisa found her eyes adjusting.
She was led into a smaller room with a round table. There were three other male Shriken, two were sitting, one with light hair, the other with dark. Seeing them up close, Marisa realized how similar they looked to the Plainkind. Stronger, maybe a bit taller, and winged, but other than that quite similar. They looked up.
“What is this Plainkind doing here, Jolanin?” The man with dark hair asked.
“She was in one of the caves,” said the Shriken, Jolanin.
The light haired one said, “which cave?”
Jolanin said, “The one with the life cycle in it. It was not sealed, and she got in.”
He stood and told the Shriken that was not at the table, “seal that part of the cave.” Then he turned back to Jolanin, his face tense, “Take the Plainkind you found. Bar her in an extra room for now. We will have to figure out what to do.”
Marisa was put into a small bedroom. Her captor, Jolanin, said, “I am going to seal you in here until we come to a decision. We do not often have issues like this, so it may take some days.”
“Days!” Marisa said, “days? You can’t keep me here for days!”
“I will see what I can do for you, but the rest of the council will likely be slow to decide.” Jolanin pointed to the bed, “you can use that.”
With that Jolanin exited the room and closed the door. Marisa followed and pushed on the door. She figured out how to work the door latch and tried it, but, as she assumed, nothing worked.
“This is stupid. What do they want me to do? Why is the life cycle so important anyway? So what if I know that Plainkind can become Shriken? Gah!”
She gave the stone door one last kick, but again nothing happened.
Yaska had a successful hunt, and then had finished her day quite early. When by supper time she did not see Marisa return, she figured that the girl was either neglecting her duties again or was having troubles. When nightfall came, she became worried.
In the dark, she discussed with Jan.
“I should search for her.”
Jan said, “well, she has come back later than this before. There might be nothing to worry about.”
“Fine,” Yaska said, “but if she is not here tomorrow, you will be hunting, because I will be searching for her.”
Jan shrugged, and the village went to sleep.
Marisa, tired of resentfully pacing the room, eventually did use the bed. And as the night went on, she began to dream.
She dreamed she was hunting dinosaurs. She really wanted to finally kill one and get Yaska and Jan off her back. She had the strangest feeling that the dinosaurs were everywhere except where she was looking. She scanned the desert to the left, and they ran to the left to avoid her gaze. She scanned right and, predicting her, they moved right. She just couldn’t see. Then she felt a person beside her. It was a woman, and she led Marisa into the cave.
The woman said, “I am Death. Or rather, I am the Servant of the phenomena Death.”
Marisa didn’t know what to say, what to feel. She said, “am I going to die, because of this cave?”
Death said, “Something like that. Probably anyway.”
Marisa looked at her. She had long black hair and pale skin. She was dressed in dead furs and wore a playfully devious expression. Was this really Death? She seemed unfitting in Marisa’s eyes.
“Wait, why probably? Don’t you know if someone’s going to die?”
Death shrugged, “I have access to more information, variables whatever, but I don’t know the future. I’m not the Servant of the Future, I’m the Servant of Death. Get real.”
“So I won’t die?”
“Ah well, it would be better for me if you did. But don’t remember that part when you wake up. The Shriken are deliberating your future right now. They think awful strange, so not sure.”
Marisa looked at her, bewildered, and then shook her head in disbelief, “you’re really not that helpful.”
“I hear that a lot,” Death laughed.
In the morning Yaska searched the sands for Marisa’s footprints. It hadn’t been very windy, and Yaska eventually found Marisa’s tracks with ease. She followed the path as it patrolled the desert, and then eventually wandered towards the mountains. They ran right to the base, and then around the side, ending at a cave.
“You are not supposed to go into the mountains, Marisa,” Yaska mumbled.
She entered the cave and looked around. She saw a warped Plainkind dart on the ground and picked it up. Something had put enough pressure on the sword to bend it. She looked around the cave, her eyes adjusting to the dark. She saw many paths, and also a trail of sand leading from the entrance, but it curiously led to a dead end.
Yaska looked at Marisa’s sword and then into the tunnels of the cave. Then, she began her search.
So, it looks like this is getting a little complex and long to be a called short story, but I’m having fun, so I don’t mind.
Also it looks like I’m posting on Wednesdays rather consistently. That’s not on purpose…