11th of Wealsun, 383ONT, 5:15pm, Bendu Island.
They had been carried most the day, tied hand and foot to long poles and hefted by the impossibly strong iods. Every half hour or so they would each be passed off to two different iods who would carry on for their companions, and so their pace was steady. With hands tied and mouths gagged it left a lot of time for contemplation. Thaden often closed his eyes trying to mediate, trying to see if the answers to his questions had already been presented to him. It wasn’t easy; the poison still coursed through his veins, dulling his wits and impeding his ability to think clearly. Who was Master Typhon? What was this island where the weave was so overwhelmingly strong? What was the magic that had shrunk Aury? What had happened in the temple? What was the cube he had and what did it mean? What were those lobstrosities? Or these Iods? Why had no one ever marked this place as a Littles haven? The deeper he tried to go the more questions came rolling at him, like a squire of the Guard his thoughts spiraled out of control with no real restraint, and thus the answers continued to elude him.
At long last they arrived in what appeared to be a great Iod city. Adobe towers and buildings stretched out of the ground as thousands of Iods, each wearing colourful textiles ran back and forth. They were marched through markets, the architecture was like nothing he’d ever seen, but most impressively, the city was not walled, these iods feared nothing on this island. Towards the centre of the city stood a great blocky pyramid, not dissimilar to the one in the centre of the island, though perhaps one third its size. At the base was a series a cages, wooden with bronzed bars, the floors had a light layer of straw and the smell implied the defecation of previous occupants. Aury was cut free first; six hours with no blood to her hands or feet caused her appendages to fail her, and though he could feel her try to disarm her attackers, her hands did not respond. Thaden winced in shared pain as he watched he trusty friend and mount beaten with the club like ends of their spears before she was thrown into her cage. The door was quickly locked as Aury coughed and sputtered blood which ran freely from her nose and a cut above her eye. Thaden was cut free next; he knew now was not the time, he couldn’t even summon his sword to him with the weave, let alone counter what the restriction of blood had done to him. He fell to ground when cut free, and even without attempting to struggle received a beating equal to Aurelia’s. He lay on his side breathing heavy, his left eye began to swell shut, he willed with all his might to stay conscious… but that was not what the weave intended for him and all went black.
Thaden groggily opened his eyes, his head swam and he thought he might vomit. He focused on his breathing and tried to force the world to stop spinning for him, slowly things righted and he was able to sit up.
“Are you ok?” Aury whispered from her cage adjacent to him. He couldn’t nod, it would cause him to vomit. The sun had set while he’d slept, the pyramid glowed with eerie light of hundreds of torches, whilst the top blazed with a four fires of green. The rest of the city was far from quiet, with great drums thrumming, and iods dressed with capes made of tiny feathers of blue, red, yellow and green. Their wore helms that looked beak like and gave them an odd alien bird like appearance. The iods danced and clicked and sang
“Kuja kujiunga na mauaji
Kuja kuruka na nyeusi
Kutoka mtego wa kibinadamu
Kuja kujiunga na mauaji
Panda juu ya mabawa yangu
Utagusa mkono wa Bogna
Naye atakufanya kuwa mfalme
Naye atakufanya kuwa mfalme”
“Sounds ominous” Thaden managed to murmur
“It’s been going for some time, they have not brought food, but did bring a dipper of water about an hour or so… I had no way to hold it or I would have saved it for you” Aury offered. He offered a smile showing he held no grudge. His eyes slowly adjusted to the crackling firelight. Thaden took stock of himself… he was not in good shape, under his brown fur he could see large black streaks running along his veins; he needed a cure for this poisen soon, or he would not be with this world long. His paws all ached and he was sure he had a mild concussion, but nothing else seemed broken too badly.
“Do you know what our fate is to be?” He asked Aury
“It’s not good… these cages go all the way to the base of the pyramid, and every so often we seemed to get pushed forward and an empty cage is moved to the back… I have seen no captives pass us though.
“Dare mo” came a deep voice from several cages beyond Aury
“Oh, we have a friends down there, a large pig like fellow, but he doesn’t speak mammalian, or common or elven” Aury offered. Thadden smiled… that is because he is Inoshishi, and speaking Inoshin
“Kon’nichiwa, watashinonamaeha Thadendsan. Watashi wa Gādomausudesu” Thaden said, projecting his voice down the line a little.
“Aisatsu Thaden. Watashinonamaeha Okamurasan” the heavy voice responded
“What did he say?” Aury asked
“He said his name is Okamura” Thaden responded
“Does he know where we are? Or what’s happened?” Aury asked
“Watashi no yūjin; koko wa doko? Karera wa horyo to nani o shite imasu ka?” Thaden asked quickly
“Watashitachiha Itocoztli ichi ni ari, karera wa saigo no 3-paku no tame ni karera no kurai kamigami ni ikimono o gisei ni shite imasu… Sore no gaiken de, watashitachiha gisei ni sa rerubekidesu.” The voice responded quickly, adding a question to the end of his response “Watashitachi no Gādomausu o kaihō suru koto wa dekimasu ka?” Thaden took a few moments to put together a response
“Watashi wa kōkina yūjin o tameshite mimashou, watashi wa shibaraku kangaete mimashou”
“Ahem” Aury cleared her throat after the back and forth went quiet. Thaden looked up at her questioningly. He stared at him all the harder “What did he say?” the Guard Mouse had a look of realization cross his face
“My apologies Aury. We are in the city of Itocoztli… the occupants are in the throes of some kind of religious ceremony, and we are slated to be sacrificed to whomever it is they worship”
“That’s not good” Aury said
“no… no it’s not” Thaden agreed… they had his sword, and most of his things, as with Aury’s guns and weapons… he needed more rest, without the weave he could not consider getting out of here.
“Kuna ndege mweusi iliyopigwa nje ya dirisha langu
Ananiketeza kwa macho yake ya dhahabu kwa kuunganisha
Anaona dhambi zangu zote
Anaisoma nafsi yangu
Siku moja ndege hiyo, alinena nami
The singing and drums continued and a chill raced down Thaden’s spine.
“Aury… have you been listening to their songs?” he asked, his voice stunted
“it’s all they’ve been singing for hours… why?” she responded
“What did they say at the end of last verse?” He asked… he was almost shaking now. He stared intently at Aury as she screwed up her face in consentration.
“ummm… Kama Typhone, Kame Typhone?” she said making it a little more like a question then a sure answer. Thaden reached out and leaned on the side of his cage. He breath came in quick little gasps. “Thaden? Thaden are you ok?” Aury asked, he voice filled with concern
“Typhon…” he whispered “…they are talking about Typhon… Master Guard Mouse Typhon” Aury looked at him hard
“It’s ok, Thaden, if they are singing about the Guard, isn’t that good?” the Guard Mouse fixed his mount with a look of equal parts jealousy and pity
“Why would they sing of the Guard while sacrificing creatures? Either they hate the Guard… though the notes of the song don’t seem to denote that… or…”
“They are sacrificing to a Guard Mouse… one from the Taking side of the Weave” as she said the words she knew them to be true
“Bogna” Thaden said in agreement “we are in a lot more trouble than I thought Aury”