A Conversation for Najopomo 2020: Gravepicking
November 29: Competition
Caiman raptor elk - Escaping the Array Started conversation Nov 29, 2020
Vinco looks around to see where the next way marker leads them. Avi promised to put those at regular intervals, to ease navigation for future travel. That is one of the advantages of the ox cart. Anyone making markers can easily catch up with it, especially if you take turns, like the Elders have done.
Last night they crossed a pass before making camp. Apart from the markers, regular wheel marks show they are going in the right direction. It is not far now. Bora already told them that the torrent they are now following downstream is just recognisable as the river that passes her old village.
Yusna wakes up feeling happy, despite or maybe because of the large amount of parents (real, in-lore and potential in-lores) she has now amassed in one place. She grins when she thinks of Marlon’s reaction, who had to add an unknown aunt and uncle to the stack as well, plus finding out that his nephew’s wife is his niece. Yusna thinks she should ask Aryna if she can help make a diagram to sort out her extended family. She suspects they will need a rather large stone for that, maybe the wall of one of the caves?
As hosts, Aryna and Pato got up early. Last night’s drink has not helped. It is a good thing the worst noise of the river has now passed. On their return journey yesterday, Pato noticed that the water level was not as high as it was a few days ago. Still a torrent, but not raging anymore. This means that it is likely that work on the Great Mound can continue within a few weeks. His uncle has told him that it mostly needs finishing touches.
In the late morning a rumbling noise other than the river is heard throughout the village. Pato knows that sound. Galloping horses, closing in fast. Anxiously, he runs outside to see if there is any danger involved. If there is, the village will be hopelessly vulnerable. He sees several riders cresting the low ridge. The low sun prevents him from recognising who or what is racing toward him. Hand on his axe, he runs forward to confront the intruders.
“I win!” Bora shouts at the top of her voice, with Vinco in close pursuit. Just before the settlement wall she makes a hard right turn to make a full circle before entering the village. Surprised, Vinco races straight on, finally managing to come to a grinding full stop right in front of a visibly agitated brother-in-lore. “Hi Pato” he says before dismounting. The hand on the axe doesn’t escape his attention. “Your sister’s idea” is all he can come up with before adding a bear hug. Still flabbergasted, Pato tries to get some breath inside against the tight hold on him. Vinco releases his grip and looks around, booming “Nice place you have here!”.
Avi ambles out of the house in a very unsurprised way. “You could have told me!” says Pato in an accusatory tone of voice.
A little later, Joni and Keela also arrive at a more sedate pace.
Seeing the amount of guests increasing by the day, Pato sends some villagers to try and go fishing. It should be safe to do that again. He decides that if there are any fish left, they must surely be strong and healthy ones.
In the meantime, Yusna has started arranging for a large meal. Last night, Yara informed her about the impending arrival of the second group, thus giving her time to think about the required preparations. A circle of tables is placed in the village green and some of the casks of wine are carried from the cart. One of the foraging parties ran into a stag yesterday. Marlon has been busy preparing it all morning, although it was unclear to him why there was such a rush to it. His future wife’s story that she wanted the skin for something related to their marriage sounded a little suspicious, but hey, she loves him, so that’s alright.
That night, the whole village turns out to meet all the people from the old clan. A large fire is lit in the centre of the ring of tables. Stag and fish are served along with nuts and berries and flat bread. Songs are sung in both languages. Pato notices that only the women can sing along to all of the songs. He decides that from now on, the boys will be taught both languages as much as the girls.
It is very late when everyone walks, staggers or rolls inside to go to sleep.
November 29: Competition
Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor Posted Nov 29, 2020
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