Mountain GreetingsMature

A continuation of the Leopard Moon. Sumunguru comes upon a group of survivors of the failed assault on the mountainside fort.

In the half light of a borning day, Sumunguru Kente rode upon the campsite that lay a ways from the dark of the mountains.   Several men were tossing dirt on the four blanket covered bodies stretched out in a pit.     One of the dirt servers looked up hastily on hearing the steps of the mounted one.    He backed against the one on his right.   " Waz be wrong- Oh!  Mornin' to ya, stranger! Jus showin' some respect ta some- fallen comrades."   The speaker was a tall bearish form, his turban darkened with dirt, blood and sweat.  His scabbard gave clues that it was perhaps a curved blade he carried.    Another man began to circle away from the burial  and to the collection of weapons by the campfire.   He stopped because he and Sumunguru locked eyes and Sumunguru was placing himself between the weapons and his aspirations.      

       " It hasn't been a good night for you and your comrades," Sumunguru said still mounted.   :You can trace your way here, by following the dead."  " Did you show the proper respect?' A man at the grave said. His beard was unkempt but gave hints that he may have worn it clipped triangular.    Lean he was, almost as tall as the bear-man.     His weapon hand rested upon the knife in his belt.    " I didn't loot them, like  vultures such as you would," said a smiling Sumunguru.    The bear-man stretched his eyes and dropped open his jaws.  The first who spotted Sumunguru dropped to his knees as if prayer.    " You one of the dogs from the castle!"  another at the grave shouted , his voice trembling.     " I passed through there.  You were batted about a bit I saw."    He ducked the thrown knife and continued his roll from the saddle.    The bear-man drew his scimitar and rushed around the open grave.    Sumunguru smashed his fist into the man closest to him.    Then swept out his sword to meet the attacker.        

        The big man quickly regretted his attempt.   The blackamoor's blows struck on his Toledo forged blade with the  impact of an avalanche.  One, two bites, it took from him , then he fell back onto the bodies of the dead in the grave.    The last thought, uncharacteristic of him, was how bright the stars were in the high country.      The lean one was stretched out facedown under the trees, Sumunguru's dagger throw spot on.   Sumunguru snatched from his prayers, the one who knelt in the dirt,  Pushing him and the petrified other to the campfire.  Sumunguru stepped aways from them.    There were no thoughts of going for their weapons. "I only need one of you, so enjoy the bonus of your lives.  Where is the one who hired you, waiting for your return? Sumunguru said with a smile but with a death dealer's slitted eyes.

The End

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