Category: <span>Ta-Ami</span>

Ta-Ami part 27

Plans for an Ambush

As Kevin woke from his short sleep he noticed a young Ami that had been on watch was talking to commander Soste, both faces showed concern over something. Soste woke Harris and asked both him and Kevin up to the wheelhouse of the boat for a private meeting. “I have just been informed we are being watched from the far river bank my lookout suspects that a band of Asov is hiding in the undergrowth observing us. I suspect they are unable to reach us because of where we are moored on the river and I am sure they will attempt to kill us all so maybe they wait for a more opportune moment for an attack. I can only think they raced through the night to catch us up and are probably only a small band sent only to watch us so we are in no immediate danger. It would be good Kevin if you can tell me the boat will outrace them and leave them far behind the last thing I want to do is leave them a clear trail to follow right back to Ta-Amihome.” Kevin was lost in thought looking back down the river. “This posse’s a problem I hoped wouldn’t come up but now it has I think I may have a solution. But it may only be a temporary one for all that. Up ahead of us is a bridge across the river some distance after that is a fork in the river. To the left is our destination and to the right the river runs back towards Shane mountain and its source, it is navigable for quite some distance but not long after the fork is a old river bend that is nearly cut off from the main river. If we run hard and fast up to there we can be into the old river bend then drop some scouts off and hide behind the island before the Asov reach us. They will have to backtrack to the bridge to follow our trail on the river again. The few scouts dropped off should be able to monitor when they have passed and we can continue our journey. That will give us a good lead on them and leave us in a position where we will be able to decide whether or not to attack them depending on their numbers.” Strategically speaking it was an excellent plan both Harris and Soste nodded. It would still be a while before the batteries had recharged enough for Kevin to start the boat off up river again. Kevin returned to the main boat deck and settled down to rest again. Sitting down beside some resting Ami Kevin began to listen to the telling of a story by an older and battle worn Ami about when the Ami had lived on the European continent. “After the Asov had discovered our first Ta-Amihome in the North we were forced to flee to the South. For many years we continued to make only temporary homes. Staying in one place for a few months then moving on in the hope we would elude our enemies. At some point our scouts came across a village of Asov. It appeared to be only lightly defended by a few Asov troops and most of the communities were females and young Asov. A plan was prepared and presented to the leader of all the Ta-Ami Mercus our then Furste. He approved the plan so as to give some morale to the Ta-Ami after our long trek and initial defeat by the Asov, morale was at an all time low. The village would be attacked and wiped out no Asov were to be left alive to mention the passing of the Clans. Just as day broke the best of the fighting Clans were in position around the village and launched the attack. All went well at first the sentries were taken care of and very little warning was given of the impending attack. The first resistance was given by a patrol setting out on a morning run. The attacking forces slaughtered them but the alarm was now given and all the Asov old enough to bear arms set about defending the village. Females fought with such ferocity so unexpected by our troops that we were caught off guard and for all that we outnumbered them we were fought to a standstill. The Furste himself came to observe what was happening and direct the battle from the top of a nearby hill, his family as always was in close attendance. Unknown to them they were in the direct line of the main group of returning Asov warriors that had been out on long distance patrol and food gathering expedition. Dropping their supplies they attacked the hill quickly disposing of the Ta-Ami personal guard to the Furste, then set about killing the Furste and all his family leaving us as you know with no direct heir to the throne. As you all now know Asov females also serve in the front-line fighting with male troops side by side and that is one of the reasons we avoid all contact even if the community is a small one as we first thought this one was. We lost so many good troops that day our forces have never really recovered from the setback not to mention the loss of the royal family. From that day on we were harried all the more by the Asov forces our attack seems to have enraged them all the more if that were possible for their hatred of us is undying. Many times on our journey have we encountered the Asov but never has their been a battle so fierce with so great a loss to the Ta-Ami. ” Kevin had listened to the Ami reciting the story enthralled by the detail he had woven into it. Time had seemed to fly by and now it was time to continue the journey and see if the ruse to throw off the following Asov would work. Calling all Ami to their respective positions Kevin made his way to the wheelhouse and started the boat. Having made sure that the changed battery was online and the spare was charging. Knowing the failure of the batteries would be the undoing of them. For there would be no chance to elude the pursuing Asov on foot, no matter how good the Ami were at covering their tracks, and they would be travelling considerably slower carrying the gold band of Kevin’s and the wounded.
The boat swung out into the main river and began its fight against the current such as it was and began making headway up towards the old wooden bridge.


Ta-Ami part 26

Discovery of a power in the Asov

Tethus was in meditation in contact with the group of Asov magicians still in Scotland. He was letting them know all that had happened and to forewarn them he would not be able to contact them once he moved inland with the main force of Asov. Thalis sat nearby quietly in meditation herself awaiting Tethus to instruct her. She was still seething over the perceived slight to her master and at his command would have attacked Arinis bare handed. She was as aware of the intermittent lack of her magic power but had no understanding as to why it happened. On its first occurrence it had badly frightened her nearly as much as finding out she had power it had been a simple exercise that Tethus had taught her and she constantly practised it. At first she thought it was a lack of self control on her part but then she had come to realise that it was indeed more she could not feel the power that often surged through her in such attempts. Even though she had only lately come to her power and knew she did not fully control it yet the lack of it was a frightening prospect to her. Thalis remembered the day she had met her master she had gone down to the river with the other females to collect water and fruit from the berry bushes along the bank. She had wandered off on her own getting ever further away from the group at last realising where she was she turned to return but there on the path was a large water rat. It had been following her there was nowhere to run she was out on the exposed embankment of the river water on one side and the steep bank on the other then she new real fear as the creature began to stalk her. The rat could see an easy meal and was closing for the kill the creature in front of it was hardly more than a mouthful but a meal was a meal. In panic Thalis began to back up and away from the water rat losing her footing she fell over backwards, feeling more than seeing she knew the rat had pounced on her. Nothing had happened she had resolved herself to the fact she was to be killed and a feeling of innermost peace had crept over her. Opening her eyes and still expecting the rat to be over the top of her she was surprised to find it lying by the waters edge still moving but without doubt in a death throe its feet twitching as the last ebb of life left it. Stunned by the sight she looked around for a warrior thinking one had come upon it from behind and seen her plight and attacked it, but no-one was to be seen she collapsed in a dead faint only reviving with a group of old Asov around her. She couldn’t tell how long she was unconscious, she recognised instantly this group as magicians and fearing that worse than her life was at stake immediately prostrated herself before them uttering not a word she kept her head low until she heard the voice of Tethus. “Rise before me.” The words never reached her ears but instead went straight into her head and they compelled her. As if the words themselves had lifted her off the ground unable to do anything but comply she stood up and faced the old Asov. “Tell us child what happened here who slew the rat and saved you.” The old Asov before here was Tethus high magi of all the Asov before she could answer an Asov who had been inspecting the body with a view to cutting it up for rations called for the magi to come inspect the carcass of the rat. It was cooked thoroughly but not a hair on the outside of the body was touched. Tethus quickly took stock of the situation there was but one thing to do. “You have shown potential for the use of power you are called child to serve the magi do you come willingly or not.” Thalis could remember her answer and would never forget the feeling of elation that came over her just at that moment. The joy of realising that she was no longer just a female but now commanded some respect in the clan none but a magus could call her to work. “I serve willingly master” Tethus bade her come along to a secluded part of the village where the magi lived and there in conclave with his other brother magicians they discussed her amazing escape. “That she has the power there can be no doubt even as we approached the after effect of the spell she cast was still emanating from her, I say we take and train her as we have many others.” A buzz of excited murmurs arose from the gathered magicians; Telero a magician still as yet young by comparison to the others assembled arose and spoke. “That she has the power we have no doubt but never have we trained a female in the arts before we break the lore.” Many agreed with him especially the older lore keepers, “Is not our need great? That she should show such power and at such a young age, ha and worst of all of course she is female, greater than many here can muster I wager, she must be trained and her power used for the greater need of the Asov”. Old Benthus sat down beside his old friend and colleague Tethus. Quietly he whispered into Tethus’s ear “Who can deny the greater good of the Asov? I hope you know what you are doing old friend, only in ancient lore is there tales of females with power and they weren’t much more than hedge witches in truth”. But surprisingly from the ranks closer to the rear of the assembly came a voice few had heard in open session it was a mage called Artoro a soothsayer and scryer of signs and omens. “It is time we dealt with the question of females in our society many have small gifts of healing and such like which we most time ignore. Never before in the memory of the Asov has a female shown such power always it was thought that only males could master such, now we find more and more females come to the fore. Now this one shows a magnitude of power only a few here could challenge what will she be like if left untempered and untrained, just the thought of the accidental damage she could do is unthinkable. What if some group of Asov upset her in her daily duties and rise her to anger should they do so might they not end up like the rat. And who then would be at fault for her actions, her because she did the deed them because they angered her to action, or ourselves because we did not train her in the use of the gifts she has. I say vote to train her.” The sudden call to vote by Artoro took Tethus by surprise and he was sure the vote would go against the young Asov. But heartened by the speech given by Artoro Tethus took the floor calling the meeting back to order. “Artoro has the right of it how many others are there ready to take on the training what hidden talent is there among us we may have missed in our ignorance; the power is in the child and needs tempered to this end I will offer to undertake her training.” From this point in her life Thalis new her life would never be quite the same and no matter what she would serve Tethus with all her heart for she knew without his patronage her life would indeed have been forfeit.


Ta-Ami part 24

Kevin Yawned and began a slow stretch to loosen up the muscles he was tired after his long night. “Your story of how you got here has answered a few things for me stories of the small people in different lands all going by different names these could have been brethren to you. Or even stories of chance meetings between yourselves and humans like the story my great-grandfather tells of meeting leprechauns in the hills above the town here when he found the metal for the rings. Do you think it is possible that there is still a contingent living in the hills and that the original Ami’s that stayed with the mother ship may have survived here and perhaps prospered. There are many stories of people in this area having some sort of sightings or even in a few cases if the stories are indeed true dealings with folk described as leprechauns. Which in all truth if I had to describe you to someone, it is the first thing I would think of. I think I will get some sleep now I am tired and we have a lot to do tomorrow.” In truth Kevin wanted to be alone for a while he was tired but something was bothering him. And it wasn’t the show of magic Harris had put on. No it was the show he thought he had put on himself, but no one had noticed at the time or had thought it just a lucky break. Kevin thought back to the trip up the millrace of water when the ship had lurched as it hit the stone. The same stone Kevin and his son had hit every time they had tried to drive the boat up the river with the same disastrous consequences. The boat turning turtle in the water but not this time Kevin remembered just as they struck the stone he had willed the boat back into the flow of water and it had responded. Was it just his imagination or was there more to it he was going to try an experiment and find out for sure. But first a little sleep, the sun would be a long time before it rise in the sky and the journey would continue. With the batteries onboard the boat recharging Kevin would feel a lot safer. He knew he still had one battery fully charged and if needs be the first battery still had about half a charge in it and there were still a few tricky pieces of water to tackle yet and a considerable distance to go.

Discovery of a boat

Urgo was marching up the river path with his party of Asov when the scout from the advance party met him. “Urgo we have found something strange on the river the advance party has stopped to watch and wait for you I was sent back to inform and lead you on. Just beyond where the cliffs end the path turns away from the river so the scout party split up each to follow a different route. My group went on up the river it is rough going we have to wade through a marshland and keep closer to the river than is safe. But we can see a craft of some sort lying on the far side we cant reach it but there is movement aboard it. The terrain is hard to follow and the going is slow, as the path has finished. If the craft hadn’t stopped we wouldn’t have caught up with it. They must think themselves safe from pursuit to have stopped now you have reserves with you shall we attack it”. Urgo stopped to gather his thoughts for a moment “you follow the second party and tell them to continue on up the path. If the path comes back to the river we will meet them there if not then in two hours time make your way back here and wait where the cliffs end. If we don’t return in a day then report back to the main encampment with what you know go now.” Urgo called up another runner and sent him back to the main camp with the news and to inform his lord that he would wait and follow the craft when it began its journey once more. The main force moved out with Urgo leading his pace faster at the thought of catching up with the fleeing Ami’s. One of the Asov caught in the tunnel and drowned had been a close fighting friend. Urgo had been lucky not to be caught in the tunnel himself. After a hard trek through the grass and debris alongside the river they at last came to the site where the rest of the Asov scout party waited. Urgo issued orders to make a cold camp with no fires to give away their position, creeping as far forward as he could he spied on the Ami’s upon the boat moored in the river now they would just watch and wait.


Ta-Ami part 22

Demonstration of power

No major mishaps had happened and Kevin had been able to steer the boat safely to the old river bend, dropping a lead fishing weight that had been found aboard and secured to a piece of string this was acting as an anchor. The boat had come to a rest in the relative calm of the centre of what was now a duck pond. Kevin began an inspection of the boat to see how well it had faired in its battle upriver against the current and the odd bash from a floating piece of debris. Harris was with the wounded below deck taking care and giving what help he could to each when Kevin came upon him. “Kevin there is something we need to speak of please. Your grandfathers ring do you know the history of it”. The Ami Harris had been tending to moaned in pain Harris made a pass in the air above him and he settled back down again on the makeshift bed that had been rigged for him. Kevin looked astonished “Isn’t that the Ami that was shot full of arrows at the ambush site by the bridge”. Harris smiled “Yes it is he has made a remarkable recovery don’t you think, he gets stronger by the hour and all due to my magic I think. And that is the part of it I don’t understand why my magic is working so well. I am convinced it has something to do with your ring”. “Well the story of my ring is simple enough and thinking about it now I just wonder how much truth there is in it the old man was ridiculed a bit for his story telling. It actually belonged to my great grandfather who lived up on the mountain just over to the west. He was a shepherd there and had a small farm raising sheep. The story my grandfather told me was that one night in the spring of the year when my great-grandfather was a young man he was out on the mountain looking for new-born sheep. When he saw a great fire plunging from the sky and there was an almighty explosion just over the hill in the next valley. Worried about any sheep that might be there he rushed to the site but was unable to go into the valley because of the heat. Eventually it cooled off after a day or two and he went down to investigate, he said he had met with leprechauns. They had given him the gold for the three rings he had made, one for himself one for his sister, and one for my great-grandmother I have one but am not sure where the other two went this one we have with us was passed down the line from father to son. I suppose the other went to my grandfather’s sister, as she and my grandfather were the only children of the family. I am sure there is more to the story but I can’t recall it now”. Harris studied Kevin for a moment then looked around to see if there were any more Ami’s around. “Kevin I want you to think of someone close to you” Harris waved his arms in the air in the shape of a large circle and just like magic. A mirror formed in the nothingness there Kevin began to see vague forms of someone lying in a bed, It was Inge. “Harris how is it you are able to do that, I can see my wife sleeping there”. Harris relaxed a little and the image disappeared with the mirror into the air from which it had come. “That is what I am talking about Kevin this was a small demonstration of magic, and until I met you one I was totally incapable of. Now I am able to heal warriors that would otherwise die of their wounds conjure images from places I have never seen before and what else I am now capable of frightens me a little. Before meeting you I was not much more than a weather witch able at best on a good day to forecast a little rain or sun but now I have a suspicion of what is at play here and your ring figures in it. Let me tell you of how my people came to your world Kevin, I have some knowledge of what happened but the details are lost in time only Corta knows all the tomes. Many millennia ago my people lived on a world far from here we called it Aeldarod in many ways it resembled your world here for we had trees and rivers and grasslands and all manner of habitats many you wouldn’t recognise and creatures so alien to you. Well any way we were at war with the Asov they invaded our homelands killed our folk and left no one alive after their passage. We fought but they fought harder, year after year we held them off. Eventually our scientists perfected the massive engines for our spacecraft we called them Arc’s the one my ancestors travelled in was called Anna of Aeldarod I am told they were beautiful. We had hundred’s of these Arc’s but for every Ami that escaped in an Arc there were thousands that did not and had to stay behind. All the knowledge of our race was loaded into these massive ships and we set sail for the unknown depths of space to escape our tormentors.


Ta-Ami part 21

  1. Confrontation

The main doors to the grand hall exploded inwards as Ami rushed in to the meeting outnumbered and overwhelmed by the sudden entrance the thirty odd guards of the Cortacrek were quickly placated by the invading group. The room now secured Lord DaeDann and the Lady Ka-An calmly entered the chamber. Standing now in front of the whole assembly, the Lady Ka-An bowed to Lord Ahel. “My lord we came to listen to Corta’s wisdom in this affair of the Ta-Ami population I feel sure he will tell us all what it is that so threatens us that it is worth the destruction of such a noble family. Is that the truth of it Corta”? The familiarity of using Corta’s first name was not lost on the assembly all heads turned to see what the reaction would be.

At that Lord Gil and Lord Aeladin entered with more Ami troops, as by the minute more and more ruling lords appeared. And as each party entered the hall they moved off to take up sides, in the event and the possibility of the ensuing battle to come.

Corta shook his head as if in weary resignation of the fact all was now undone “I had at least hoped the brethren would hold together as long as the threat was great enough I see now I was wrong. The great threat I speak of is not from the Asov though that is real enough I fear, no even now we feel the presence of an even greater enemy one I believe we cannot fight and which will be the end of us all.” A great shout came from all assembled within the great hall, “what could be worse than the Asov finding our last refuge”. Corta’s voice rose above the shouting in the great hall, “let all save for the ruling lords and ladies and the inner Cortacrek leave the hall”. Lord DeaDann and the lady Ka-An nodded to their respective warriors to leave as did other lords and ladies. When the hall was quiet and all had left Corta spoke to the assembled parties. “It is not that I will not tell you the danger, it is that we don’t fully understand it ourselves. Whether it’s the survey party itself or something they bring, or even if it is something that follows them we are not sure. But for months now the Cortacrek have been having premonitions of a holocaust let loose upon the Ami’s here, you may not be aware but to a great extent the Cortacrek’s powers have not been as they should. Alas we fear the fey power of magic may be about to finish altogether and leave us totally defenceless to the Asov. That was in main the reason why the survey party was sent out to see how or if we could maintain some other sort of warning if the Asov come upon us. This was to be repeated in all directions and some sort of relay would have given some warning of the approach of any invader”. Again a great murmuring started in the hall as nobles talked to nobles as to what should be done. The lady Ka-an stood forward “Lords and Ladies I think it is time that Corta and his Magi stood down it is time for the nobility to lead the way. I suggest we form a council and take control of our own affairs”. Lord Gil was but a hairsbreadth behind Lord Aeladin who took control of the floor. “What need have we in a council it is well known that my family stand next in line to the thrown I have the support of many ruling Lords and Ladies I say we reinstate the Crown. I stand before you and propose my position as Furste Leader of all the Ta-Ami, who will second me”. As if rehearsed before Lord Gil of the pathfinders called for seconding of the title of Furste. Once again lines began to be drawn those supporting A call for a council and those for an ultimate leader in the Furste. Many nobles wanted the Furste but were not prepared to support Lord Aeladin and his Clan, as this would leave him in total control of everything. But some of these Lords were as suspicious of the role of council. Many of the smaller Clan leaders stood back taking no side to await the outcome without committing one way or another hoping to take best advantage. All eyes once again turned to Corta sitting on his dais above all the rest he surveyed all sides in the dispute. “Neither I or my Cortacrek can readily give up the warrant given to us ages past, to protect and lead the Ta-Ami so I cannot support either your call for council or a reinstatement of the Crown”. Several Lords and ladies huddled in-groups with their respective leaders. On numbers alone Lord Gil and Lord Aeladin held the majority. The quiet Lord DaeDann who had stood in support of a call to council now took his turn on the floor. “My lords and ladies we are at an impasse Lord Gil and his faction hold the majority, a majority I cannot and will not support but I will not start a civil war and put Ami against Ami just to stop him. Instead my Clan and I will absent ourselves from these halls and welcome any that wish to leave with us. I must also tell Lord Aeladin without the full consent of all the ruling families he can never be crowned and as Corta will not support him either he is no further forward than he was. So with your leave I go to join my Clan in self-banishment from these halls and any that will accompany us goodbye”. Lord DaeDann walked out of the halls followed by many minor Clan Lords and the lady Ka-an. “I hope my Lord has a safe abode for all that follow “. The Lady Ka-An walked along beside Lord DaeDann as lost in thought as he was.

 


Ta-Ami part 20

The hunt quickens

Urgo had raced back to the main Asov encampment now beginning to resemble a more permanent base. Ill at ease with the assumptions he had made he must now report to Arinis Lord of the invading Asov army, and that walking slime bag Paduk his first lieutenant. Challenged by patrols all the way from the river bank Urgo became irritated with the delays but knew arguing was a waste of time with his fellow Asov. At last reaching the command tent he prostrated himself before Arinis. “My Lord I have news of the Ami’s but so far they have eluded us. It is my thought they have taken to the river to avoid leaving a spoor trail to follow. I came across a battle site late last night and found six of your Asov slain with arrows and then poorly hidden in the grass at the side of the path, as if done in some haste. Lord what worries me is that we could find little or no trace of the Ami’s that shot them full of arrows. And the blood trail we found from one wounded Ami stopped suddenly and just disappeared, like he had been plucked up to the sky”. Fearing to move at all Urgo kept his head pressed to the ground in supplication. It was Paduk that offered the solution; “perhaps it was death from the sky that took your wounded Ami”. A reference to the owls that plagued the Asov and Ami hunting parties at night, swift and silent in their hunting the Asov hated and admired them. “As Paduk says perhaps it was death from the sky but there is more to tell yet I think. Out with it what else have you found you miserable trail rat”? Arinis kicked the prone form of Urgo as he lay on the ground brining a whelp of fear from him. “Lord I think the Ami’s had some strange conveyance, we found tracks leading from there up river along the path. We followed them and at a site some distance up river we again found Ami track but when the track crossed the hard ground that leads down to the riverside the elf tracks stop. I think the Ami’s took to the river to escape us”. At this point Paduk jumped atop the prone Urgo flailing him with his fists. “You are lying trail rat to save your own miserable skin for failing to find the Ami’s and concoct this story to appease your Lord”. Tethus appeared beside Arinis watching the display of violence meted out to the nearly unconscious Urgo. “There is some logic to what your servant says, I can feel something is slipping away from us. I am not sure what it is yet but with each passing moment it grows dimmer to me, that it is of some import to us I have absolutely no doubt, we must follow it with all haste Arinis. The speed at which it diminishes from us is much faster than an Ami party on foot with possible wounded to attend to”. Tethus bowed to Arinis, “revive Urgo and send one hundred warriors with him up river. I want this party of Ami’s found” Arinis pointed to Paduk. Orders were quickly issued to nearby runners; Tethus removed one of his hands from the voluminous sleeves and wiped his face bringing his fingers together over the bridge of his nose. Under his breath so none nearby could hear he whispered “when they catch up with this party of Ami’s have runners inform you of where they are and how they travel make sure no-one is seen and have them follow at a distance reporting back at regular intervals”. Arinis turned to Tethus a rage within him building; about to unleash it he wisely thought the better of it. Through gritted teeth he hissed, “Think not to order me mage or interfere in my commands. Should it cost me my whole army I will destroy you and all that stand with you, now leave me I have work to do”. With that Arinis marched away accompanied by his personal guard leaving Tethus standing there. Thalis his body servant to Tethus approached she seethed at the way Arinis had spoken to her master Tethus even though she had not heard the words uttered. Tethus patted her hand in a kindly fashion. “Save your anger control it I may yet let you loose upon this puppy Lord. Then will he learn what it is to face my might and my right hand.” Smiling now both turned away to the main camp, others in his party following.


Ta-Ami part 19

Flight upriver

All aboard the boat watched the until now tranquil waters start to foam as the rush of water past the outcropping of concrete beat the water into a furious mass of seething froth.
“Ahattra Goddess of travellers protect us,” muttered an Ami on the bridge, “we need all the help we can get this is going to be hard on the boat and us, have the Ami’s below check all is securely lashed down we don’t want to lose anything in this maelstrom”. Kevin’s instructions were carried out, and then all that could found as safe a haven on or in the boat as there was.
The boat began to turn full head on into the swirling water and slowly as he could Kevin eased the boat on, buffeted from every side and swaying heavily in the water the boat began to make slow but steady headway. It was soon obvious to Kevin he would have to increase power to the engine to make it up what appeared to be a ramp of water. But he knew this very act had been his undoing every time he had attempted it in the past with his son as they ran along the riverbank.
The boat began to tremble under his feet, but the engine never faltered the propellers at the rear turning as steady as ever. Every fibre in Kevin’s body screamed, “More power to the engines”. He willed the boat on in the water then just as it seemed they were clear the boat gave a mighty lurch to the portside as the bow struck a submerged stone in the river. With the bow now threatening to turn across the river. This would be the end as the river race of water caught them it would turn the boat over in the water drowning all aboard. Few could survive this stretch of rapids but he resisted and again willed the boat back to course. Kevin felt the power of his mind turning the boat gradually it came about and with the bow of the boat back into the main drive of water it made the top of the ramp. It felt as if it jumped into the now slower running water.
Kevin could feel the sigh of relief coming from all on the boat, many ran to the sides and looked back into the inky darkness little was to be seen. Kevin himself felt as if he was going to pass out with the mental strain of keeping the boat right in the river.
In the now slower running water the boat was making good headway against what little current there was.
Harris had gone below to where the injured Ami’s were quartered so only Soste and the signal crew remained. Soste smiled at Kevin “good work Kevin I think you serve us well, are there any more such obstacles to overcome”?
The passage up the ramp of water had drained Kevin; he had willed the boat on overcoming the surge of water with his own force of will pleased now that he hadn’t increased power as he had so often tried to in the past.
“There is a first time for everything, and that was the first time I have ever managed to overcome that particular weir. But to answer your question fully yes there are a few more hazards to take yet, and I have always made it passed these with some little amount of difficulty”.
As if to make a liar of him the boat lurched in the water and keeled madly over to the starboard side throwing all askew. Kevin regained his feet and ran out the port side exit looking a little aft of the boat he could see a large tree branch floating into the gloom behind them, they had struck it unawares. Soste placed sentries with good night sight in the fore of the boat to look out for anymore-such dangers and give forewarning in advance. The boat carried on upstream sedately, “time for a battery check “Kevin mumbled to no one then headed below leaving a frightened Soste in command of the boat.
On Kevin’s return he called a meeting of Soste and Harris. “As I see it we can carry on as far as this battery will take us till it is depleted then change back to the battery we changed at the weir its got about half a charge in it that leaves us one full battery in reserve. Hopefully the sun will be full up in the sky by that time and we should be able to start to recharge some of the battery power.
There is an old river bend just up ahead that this battery will take us to it’s an offshoot of the main river and is calm so we can make our change there. But I don’t understand why we have been able to run so long on this battery”? At this point Harris reminded Kevin of the earlier conversation about relative time for Ami’s and humans and how in his present condition his perspective on time was a little different.
“Well now that you have reminded me of that I think a change of plan is called for, we pull in to the same river bend but when we have changed the batteries we will rest up. It will help the electric motor cool off and give us a bigger margin of safety on reserve power. By the time we come to changing over batteries again the first will be partially recharged from the solar recharging panel”.
Soste and Harris merely nodded in agreement as neither truly understood what Kevin had explained to them, Kevin was happy that this was the best course of action so Soste was happy with that.


Ta-Ami part 18

Sacrificial Lamb

Lord Ahel returned to the main feast joining with his advisors to inform them of what must now be done. Caith oldest living Ta-Ami in all the clans and first advisor to the new lord Ahel listened closely to what his master had to say of the meeting. “And now my lord in a few moments you will be cordially summoned by the Cortacrek, presumably to answer questions of treason to the high council”. His words not fully finished Caith turned his back on his master and stared at the main door to the chamber. The doors opened with a flourish and a full squad of the Cortacrek guard swung through led by an officer all in full armour. Lord Ahel turned to Caith “how did you know they would come”? Caith smiled “I presumed in the chamber my lord Gil enacted the spell of cloaking which doesn’t include this hall and as you can see there is no longer any secret in this gathering. And the Cortacrek watch all with vigilance, especially such a gathering as this”. The plumed officer of the guard approached Lord Ahels Company. “My lord if it pleases you will you accompany me to the chambers of my lord Corta”. The young officer was polite and bowed to lord Ahel then standing back and with a wave of his arm indicated to lead him from the chamber.
Lords Gil and Aeladin both stepped up to the young lord and bowing in front of him spoke in unison “may you speak on behalf of us all”. Lord Ahel nodded and with his advisors turned to leave the hall to face the coming inquisition, under no illusion now that he had been thrown to the lions to face the Cortacrek on his own.
No lord whether strong or weak enjoyed the privilege of a meeting with the Cortacrek, and in the main hall and throne room with Corta himself present made the meeting all the more uncomfortable as it was designed to be.
The officer and his guard wheeled about and escorted the young lord and his advisor through the corridors.
“Ah my lord Ahel we believe you have a request to make of the Cortacrek”. Began Tase; always the first to assault a victim, secure in he knowledge he was safe within Corta’s chamber.
“Enough Tase we know well enough Lord Ahel is the sacrificial goat to Gil and Aeladin, what mischief are they up to now my lord”. Wiydif acting the friend at court approached lord Ahel in a friendly manner, But Caith watching from beside his master could see the feral light in his eyes he was only playing with him in the hope to gain all that needed to be known sooner rather than later. Caith signed a warning with his eyes to lord Ahel. For all the young lord was new to his position he had taken minor parts in the game of council since an early age by his father’s side, and was not taken in by the friendly demeanour of the mage Wiydif. Carefully taking in the fact that he was alone and without any personal guard and there were thirty or more of the Cortacrek’s personal bodyguards about him all fully armed. Lord Ahel addressed the assembly. “It has come to our common knowledge that we prepare for war, strange orders have been issued. And now the strangest of all to kill the returning survey group. Before they can even tell us what they have found if indeed anything, I understand your powers and that you have a foresight the rest of us lack but those powers should be to aid us not to have us destroy the very thing we all seek. Information! What is it that the survey returns with that puts us all in such jeopardy, if the Asov have landed then we need to know this thus we can make better preparations to defeat them. Instead you would have us murder the very Ami’s that bring us information. And what of the promise of the Cortacrek, that this at last after our many years of wandering. This the Promised Land where all would be fruitful and where we could live in peace from our mortal enemies the Asov”. Caith nodded in agreement at the statement His Lord Ahel had made.
Corta sat above the assembly his eyes staring off someplace as if not listening to a word uttered, slowly his head turned to face the young lord making eye contact with Caith in the process and pausing for a second as if looking into his very soul and causing Caith to shiver involuntarily. “Make no mistake that I know the authors of this treason young lord and that they will be punished there is no doubt. But you sir I cannot let pass scapegoat or not it is common knowledge that you are here in this hall to challenge the Cortacrek and myself. At whose bidding is irrelevant I cannot let you challenge me now or ever. It is the mandate of this body to protect all Ta-Ami by whichever method or means we can.
To this end I cannot let this challenge go unanswered”. Corta barely nodded to Tase who stepped forward and began to raise his arms.
As he began an incantation all in the hall could feel the hair on the nape of their neck rise a sure sign of magic being invoked.


Ta-Ami part 17

1. The rapids run

Kevin would have preferred to be in the middle of the river away from the bank, with all the possible obstructions that were close in like this he didn’t want to risk grounding or doing some other damage to the boat. The full moon still supplied enough light to navigate by even in the cloudy sky if only just, occasionally slipping behind a heavy cloud now and then and leaving them in near total darkness. The boat was just coming near to the closest point to the old pump house when an Ami from the mast above gave a signal he had spotted the scout party on the river bank. Kevin signed he would pull the boat over to the side of the bank just a short way up the river where the water was deeper close to the side. Once again the survey party was complete, Kevin made for the deeper water out in the centre of the river progress was now a little faster. Harris was the first to raise a question with Kevin “how long will we be able to travel in this boat, surely there is a power supply that will need to be replaced”? Kevin smiled raised an eyebrow at Harris and winked. “I thought your orders were not to involve yourself in bigger technology”? Soste sat in the corner and raised his head to listen to the conversation between Kevin and Harris as much interested in the answers as Harris. Harris was at a loss for what to say Kevin saved him from his predicament. “We are running on a rechargeable battery system, but it won’t work till the sun has risen and gives the solar panels a chance to start to generate power to the batteries, we also have two other spare fully charged packs. I think that while one pack runs the boat one will recharge and we have a spare in case of difficulties, if you look just below the wheelhouse you will see a meter that tells us the present condition of the battery that is operating the boat at the moment. There are other things but I don’t think you need the information at the moment, as none of it is critical“. Kevin hadn’t told Soste or Harris that he was unsure of how long each pack would last or of the fact he would have to tie up to the riverbank to change the battery packs over. Estimating his speed was above running pace even though they were going up the river against the flow. They should be able to outpace any but the fastest of the Asov trackers and they could continue on while any chasing party no matter how fast would have to make stops more often than them to rest and recuperate.
The first great hurdle to navigate on the river would not be to far ahead. A bar of concrete jutted out into the river about one third of the way diverting the flow towards the old pumping station downriver, but after the station had closed no-one had thought to do anything about the semi dam.
The main problem was that it caused the river to run considerably faster at this point as the water tried to avoid the dam area. And it would take the full power of a new battery pack to get them past this point. Kevin gave orders to pull in to the side of the embankment to make the change over of batteries a little easier on the Ami’s. Kevin didn’t remember all the obstacles up the river but he and his son had taken the boat quite a distance, but never as far as Glenoe. The river path didn’t go much further turning off as it did into the wood at the end of the cliffs. At this point Kevin and his son had to follow the river through a few fields.
Well at least that helped a little as it gave any pursuers a harder time negotiating the riverbank and all the barriers fallen branches outcrops of stone and the like. Kevin could feel the boat slowing now as it got closer to the dam a few onboard had noticed the drop off in speed and were peering into the darkness of the night to see if they could make out the reason for it. Jutting out of the embankment was a large overhead branch to which the boat was fastened. The crew of Ami’s assigned to the changing of the batteries all wore the fingers from the rubber gloves on their arms as Kevin had instructed them to do back in the garage, giving them some protection. After a few mishaps none to serious the batteries were successfully changed and the boat started off with a new leaf of life up river again.


Ta-Ami part 16

Dreaming of glory

Newly promoted patrol leader Urgo stood at the site of the battle between Asov and Ami’s, at the old pump house, awaiting the return of the scouts sent to locate the fleeing Ami party. Listening to the still fast running water in the pipe he shuddered. Not the sort of death he would wish for, alone in the dark and drowning in that pipe. His thoughts ran to his favourite dream of entering Ta-Amihome at the head of his Asov patrol.
Then fighting his way unstoppably to the throne room and cutting the head of Corta the arch mage. Then brandishing his trophy for all to see and being carried shoulder high to his lord and presenting him with the head of the mage. How all would hail his victory he would bathe in the adoration of the females. “Urgo” came the shout, breaking his revelry and waking him. A scout from the river party had returned breathless he pointed downriver towards the old bridge. “We have found several of our Asov dead badly concealed at the side of the path at the old bridge near the road”.
Urgo never spoke a word he just gestured with his arm for the scout to lead the way. His face set in a mask of fury he signalled the rest of his company to follow. Eventually they reached the site where the Asov were concealed, Urgo surveyed the faces of the dead, “No great loss these, looters and brigands the lot, has anyone found out what they were doing here”.
As he asked his feral eyes searching around as if reconstructing what had happened in his mind, a young as yet untried Asov stood forward. “Sir they were hunting game and left camp some hours ago to track up the river, so say their companions.
Also we have found Ami blood over here by these strange tracks but no sign of a body carried away”.
Urgo moved over to the site pointed out and looked around the ground it was as if whatever body fell here had been lifted into the sky no drag marks or an attempt to conceal the fact someone had fallen here and lost a great amount of blood, maybe the body had been claimed by Death from the sky. Splitting his patrol he took the greater part and started up river while sending the smaller crew towards the road and Kevin’s home.
Urgo was wily enough to send trailblazers ahead perchance they would run into the Ami’s waiting in ambush. He had no fears about defeating them he just didn’t want to be first in line to die, as the Ami’s always seemed to know which Asov was leader and to target them first. Leaderless the Asov were disorganised and tended to regroup. What seemed an age afterward the party came across a site where the strange tracks turned and crisscrossed back and forth then disappeared onto the hard light grey surface leading down in to the river?
Only a few tracks led on up the river like a small patrol on scout duty and these had just appeared on the trail beside the large tracks, like someone had been travelling on something and had just dismounted.
Fortunately once the boat had floated free from the truck it had carried on into the river, leaving no other trace to the Asov of what had happened and thus discounting the need for Kevin’s original plan to hide it in the gully further up the river.
Urgo directed Asov down to the river edge and motioned for them to search the water edge up and down river for any sign of Ami’s track. Urgo directed the larger part of the patrol and told them to follow the main path of the scouting party alongside the river path if they made contact with the Ami they were to send runners back to report and the main party were to follow in stealth, but if no sign of the Ami was found then they were to make camp and wait until daylight and Urgo’s return where ever they were at that time. Selecting two other Large Asov Urgo went to report his patrols findings to Arinis. He had strange thoughts but would reveal them to none other than his lord. What puzzled him was if the Ami’s did travel along here on some transport who or what was their form of locomotion.