Wisdom From The Ashes
Part Four – We Wait
Abasan stood silent as he watched the band head off towards the west, a long train of men and women climbing into the hills. Only Niati and Lakach remained behind with him and Nhaqosa, the rest leaving with Zethar. It did not take very long for them to disappear from sight, crossing the crest of a hill and dropping down behind it.
“What now?” Niati asked when the others were gone.
“Now we wait,” Abasan replied, turning his gaze back from the hills towards Nhaqosa. The minotaur half stirred fitfully in his sleep, his good hand clawing at the air. It wasn’t until mid morning that he woke, sitting up sharply, nostrils flaring in alarm. His eyes looked around yet seemed not to see anything, or more probably seeing things that were not there. Slowly he rose to his feet, fumbling for the maul that lay beside him and slinging it across his back.
He walked off, heading back to where he had stood as the sun rose at dawn, returning to his hollow eyed gaze out across the encroaching deserts once more.
Abasan followed after him, coming to stand beside the giant minotaur. “The others are gone,” he told Nhaqosa after a protracted silence. “They followed Zethar on his fool’s errand.”
An ear twitched, swatting at a fly that buzzed about Nhaqosa’s head but there were not other obvious reactions from the minotaur. Abasan didn’t know if Nhaoqa had even heard, or simply didn’t comprehend what was being said to him.
They stood that way, the pair of them, for a long while as the sun continued to rise into the cloudless sky, Nhaqosa simply staring ahead. The air in the distance out over the desert shimmered as the heat of the day increased. Insects sung in the surrounding hills, a cacophony of noise, while a hot wind picked up out overt the desert and blew in, carrying with it fine grains of dust and sand.
When Nhaqosa at last turned towards Abasan, it surprised the man deeply. There had been no signs of Nhaqosa being aware of anything until he spoke.
“We are being followed? Nhaqosa announced, his voice dull and distant, lacking any emotions. “There is something coming.”
Abasan tensed up, his hand going to the hilt of the sword at his side as he looked about, scanning the surrounding hills. There was nothing to be seen, no indications of anyone else in the region. “Where?”
“They are not here,” Nhaqosa intoned, “But they are coming. Always coming.” He walked back to the camp and sat down once more, his eyes returning to their blank, distant stare.
Niati and Lakach exchanged a quick, concerned look. Lakach gave a brief nod and the pair walked over to where Abasan stood.
“He says we are being followed,” the narrow faced man told them, “But I think it may just be in his mind.”
“Maybe we should have gone with the others,” Niati said, broaching the subject with a great deal of tentative caution. “Or anywhere that we can take better care of him than out here.”
“No,” Abasan replied, giving a quick shake of his head. “If people saw him like this then his reputation and all that he has done will have been for nothing.”
“So we wait?”
Previous Part Next Part