"He will lead them out of the plains and the rivers shall run red with our blood."
Cried out by the Priestess Genai as she burned upon her pyre*
*Priestess Genai was burned alive at the order of the King Prucias in the first year of his rule. The order was given after the priestess was caught practising the dark art of Jal-nar.
Takahiro stood above the prone body of the second Barbarian and stared down in horror. What have I done? Some part of him knew he had had no choice, but the unreasoning voice in his head was shrill with the implications of what had just happened.
I just killed two armed men with my bare hands. He tore his eyes from the contorted face and scanned the crowd. There was no telling what would happen next with these crazy people. He noted with dismay that several of the younger men in the group were thoughtfully fingering their weapons and prepared himself for the worst.
Will they keep coming for me until I am dead? He didn't think he could survive another attack. There was a line of fire accross his chest where the blade had bit into him, and he had a deeper wound in his leg that was making his leg grow numb. He didn't think he would be able to stand much longer.
After a moment a tall man stepped out of the crowd and approached him warily. He did not draw his weapon, but Takahiro knew that might not mean anything. these people had proven themselves to be savage and this one walked with the grace of a proven fighter. He had to be cautious.
"Bladugh! Miener Shteegen Bladugh!" The man spoke slowly to him, but it still sounded like gibberish. Takahiro merely shook his head and tried to give his best confused expression. He did not want another confrontation, he needed these people to know he did not understand a word of what they were saying.
After a moment the man shrugged and turned around, beckoning Takahiro to follow. Takahiro stood a moment before pushing himself into motion. He didn't have many options, and at least this man was not trying to kill him. As he followed he tried not to limp but soon gave that up as impossible as his leg refused to cooperate as it usually would.
He noted with dimay that blood was quickly soaking the pant leg of his gi. It didn't feel like he would be able to walk much further, but every step took him further from the bodies of the two men he had slain so he managed to plod on.
As he hobbled along behind his tall guide, Takahiro thought about the events of the last hour. He had been in the dojo helping his uncle give instruction to the new students, when everything had suddenly stoppped. While Takahiro was gaping a great fissure had opened up beneath his barefeet and he had fallen through.
the next thing he knew he was fighting for his life, using every skill he had to do so. His Uncle was a Sensei, so he had never lacked in trainining, but he had never expected to be in a situation like this. In addition to Karate, he had studied Kendo (The Japanese 'way of the sword') out of the sheer fun of it since he was very young. He had never expected to actually have to defend himself against a sword attack, much less two within minutes of one another.
The tall man led him up to a large cluster of tents where a small group was gathering expectantly. His guide stopped in front of them and grunted some gibberish words and an adolescent boy turned on his heel and ran back to the tents. The man waited impassively as the people arrayed before them eyed Takahiro up silently. This isn't looking good.
Before too long the boy came back with an ancient looking man clinging to his arm. He guided the man right up to Takahiro before stopping, and the older man looked at him with clouded eyes and spoke.
"You speak court tongue?"
Takahiro almost cried with relief. "Yes, yes I do! Who are you people? Why did they try to kill me? How did I get here?"
Without answering the questions the old man looked over to his guide and said some words in their harsh language. The tall guide responded with a few words and the old man's eyes grew wide in alarm as he looked back toward Takahiro. After a few more exchanges, the old one turned back to Takahiro and said "come. At that he turned around and with the boy's help he started making made his way back toward one of the tents.