“The Golden City” (Chapter Thirty-eight)
Where Phantoms Dwell
The chilling murmurs sifted through the trees, — stealing strength, — like a dry desert breeze strips the moisture from parched souls.
“Leave the prisoners,” the haunting whispers. “Trespassers will die,” mimicking the wind as the many voices overlapped and repeated in rhythmic cadence, — dancing within the leaves of the forest, — lingering in a hushed stillness,—hypnotically allowing fears to grow.
Superstitions fed the weaker minds of the throng. Surely ghouls of the long forgotten were casting their spells, sapping our power, readying to feed on our drained flesh.—— At any moment the demons will pounce.
Leaders of the Yak·a·taw·wee·kee·tuo barked orders. Their subordinates drove the newly acquired slaves on. Porters labored under the weight of supplies and stolen goods — ivory and meat. The entire company unnerved: — following the wide path of the pachyderms, — darting glances, — straining for the unseen hosts.
Panic loomed, but there was only one way to move under the heavy rods of command. Down the trail they pushed, — through the shadows of the steep walls of matted vegetation. Beneath the canopied tunnel they pressed on. Greed to maintain their plunder drove the raiders to harsher methods: prodding the imprisoned with spears, thrashing the slower across their backs with the blunt shafts of their weapons.
The demonic roar thundered as a strong wind ripped through the upper terrace of the primal forest. A storm was brewing and the demigod’s power over the weather incited further dismay. Was the inhuman sound awakening his children? Are the Nephraceetan near?
Then the whispers of the long forgotten renewed: foreboding,— mesmerizing. Even the bravest were terrified among the throng: the grim, ghostly message, — pausing, — replaying, — from somewhere hidden far behind the dense walls of growth. Ever moving, ever drifting, the song followed the raiders as the priests and soldiers guarding their captives turned and looked, spun and stared, spying the gloom for the dark spirits wandering the haunted jungle beyond. But not a hint of flesh could be made. Not a spark of human movement could be discerned.
For hours the party fought the madness. Soldiers cried out pointing. Crumpling to the forest floor they would die; feathered-messengers-of-death, silently stealing life-after-life.
Others would turn in the direction of the tiny spears’ flights, only to be struck down from behind. And then an array of silent missiles would dispatch more of those foolish enough to try and catch a glimpse of the demons of the forest.
But always the whispers would renew. The melodic tune painting one thought, “Free them or die,” echoing in its rhythmic chant.
A large contingent of men charged into the brush, perhaps believing they could take the fight to the enemy. They were heard thrashing through the heavy growth as the party steadily moved deeper into the tangled mass of vegetation away from the caravan. Then the screams began: one, then another, agonizing shrieks,— then silence. None returned.
“We must leave this place!” cried out one of the soldiers.
A nearby priest drove his spear through the agitator’s back.
“No one leaves,” barked a commander from behind. “Do you wish the wrath of the Magus upon…?” The leader clutched his chest. A missile pierced his heart and lodged in the hip of the priest in front of him while the holy man was extracting his lance from the vanquished instigator.
“Run and live!” the haunting song offered.
The priest stumbled under his injury, and then tripped; but twisted, landing on his face opposite the wound. An arrow pinned his head to the earth. His flesh quivered in spasms then went limp.
“Leave your spoils,” was weaved into the melody as the sky darkened over the heavy canopy. A torrential storm was brewing.
Another leader barked orders and crumpled to the ground. Then another priest fell dead.
“You will all die,” whispered the phantom’s tune.
Dark clouds rumbled, warning of the impending deluge as a strong wind shook the treetops; — pushing through the tunnel like pathway, it breached the walls of vegetation, almost blinding in its force. And riding its wake, the Blackfoot war-cry thundered as if it was the source of the blow.
Chaos erupted as soldiers and priests, abandoned their charges. Porters dropped their loads and bolted for freedom away from the coming death. “Jad·u·at·wah·que is angry! Run—run,” the frightened cry.
Only the bravest stood their ground as they watched their comrades flee.
“Come back cowards,” was shouted.
“To arms!” was ordered.
“We must hold the spoils.”
The remaining raiders spanned out, circling the prisoners with spears held ready, awaiting the charge from both sides of the forest.
“The high priest is watching. Hold your ground!” Leaders demanded throughout the lines.
But nothing happened.
The soldiers and priests’ anxieties intensified.
“Show yourselves!” was yelled by someone.
“We are the children of Inc·u·bison!” shouted another.
“Our god devours all opposers.”
The words evoked courage, but fear wasn’t so fleeting.
Their bravado was answered by silence.
Time passed. A calm set in. Small mammals again barked and clucked. Birds whistled and chirped in the high branches:—the terraces and balconies of their woodland home. But the shadows grew as the minutes dragged on. Men adjusted grips on lance and javelin, spying the forest for sign, darting glances up and down the lines for courage; but all was still.
Lightning flashed, penetrating the upper canopy. Its filtered-brilliance cast a glimmer into the shadows of the dense foliage. Ghostly silhouettes appeared and disappeared among dark underbrush.
Raiders braced for war when thunder shook the very foundation of the jungle.
Startled by the voice of god, the Yak·a·taw·wee·kee·tuo panicked. And with their enveloping fear, the Blackfoot’s demonic war-cry erupted as the devil-god’s horde charged from the fringes of the darkness beyond.
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Tawque braced against the storm as the wind swept through the jungle, launching forest debris with forces that ripped free branches and leaves and pushed over trees. Would nature’s fury put a hold on his plan? Revenge was within moments of his grasp. In anger and frustration the Blackfoot lifted his head skyward as the gale lulled in its wave like pounding. He filled his lungs and his rage thundered forth. His powerful voice boomed into the sounds of the storm, carried as if on wings, it echoed over the enemy caravan.
He dropped his head with his depleted breath and opened his eyes. To his amazement, the enemy were scattering.
Tawque watched their flight with satisfaction. At least half of the men guarding the caravan had broken ranks. They fled, continuing along the trail in the direction of the City-of-Sacrifice. Men were ordering their return, but none retreating were listening.
Tawque smiled as he looked to the heavens. Great Spirit, you are with us this day.
The odds were now in the favor of the clansmen, but there was no guarantee the fleeing cowards wouldn’t regroup. If they did, it would spell disaster. Tawque had to allow sufficient time to pass. He crept through the brush, near to Key·ol·te·ton. “Send two trackers to follow the deserters. Make sure they don’t change their minds. Have the rest of your men hold for my signal.”
Key·ol·te·ton nodded and with the chattering of forest creatures, he related the plan. The jungle seemed to come alive with animal life.
Tawque studied the caravan. He could tell their resolve had vanished. Men were shouting among them, but their nerves were played out. The hours of the haunting whispers; the silent death, picking away at their numbers, the enemy was completely demoralized.
The Blackfoot warrior looked to Key·ol·te·ton, Were the deserters gone for good?
The clansman seemed to read his mind, nodding.
Lightning rippled across the jungle sky. Night would fall soon, but the storm was already upon them. Within the flashes, Tawque could see his enemies cowering. And as the flickering display faded, Tawque rose, fitted an arrow to his bow, and roared the challenge of the Blackfoot.
The fury of the clansmen answered his call and the attack burst from the jungle’s fringes. The clashing of wood and flint sounded among the cries of anger and screams of fear. The hunters, driven to war, stormed the caravan to free their wives and brethren.
Among the throng, the mighty and terrible Blackfoot charged. None could slow him as his sinews rippled under the power of his recurve. Fletched messengers ended the course of three before he drew in close. Shifting his grip to the extremities of his bow: the warrior reverted to the swinging of his instrument and blocking blows. As a man with a sword he weaved and spun; the taut alien cord severed spear and arm, neck or leg as the warrior danced through the enemy throng. And on his lips the terrifying cry, a demon’s roar, that shook the enemy down to their core.
“Death to all!” the clansmen chimed in. And in the end not one Yak·a·taw·wee·kee·tuo raider was left breathing.
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The Golden City: hybrid fantasy novel based on Native America mysticism and a city of immense wealth, readers from young adult up, 100,000 plus, Glenwood Carol O‘Dell. With the appeal of fantasy and time travel weaved into a tale with aliens, how could you go wrong?
The legendary Blackfoot-warrior, Tawque is cast back to an age when demigods and saber tooth’s still roamed the earth.
Imprisoned,— Haiwi’s fate is sealed as sacrifice to a great dragon god; yet the time traveler Bobby reveals a coming deliverer: Haiwi escapes certain death with the help of Tawque, and together, discover a world of their own making. But the dream is short lived when she is kidnapped and returned to her homeland, “The Golden City.” At first Tawque is accepted as a hero; but if the truth of his love for Haiwi is revealed, death will be swift. The King and custom demand Haiwi marry royalty and after the primary suitor is killed, Tawque is sent into exile. The King is assassinated and Haiwi and Bobby must flee for their lives, winding up in the forbidden forest: peopled by the Nephraceetan,— children of the gods with a taste for human flesh; and Marshals of the Guardian Empire,— “Alien War Gods” from the Blackfoot’s own past.
As an outcast, Tawque must overcome the perils of time and tradition, lost in an unfathomable world of mystery and intrigue, only to find his love trapped and at the mercy of fate.
The Golden City will appeal to all ages that love science fiction and fantasy, written in a classical, pulp-fiction style. I am working on my fourth novel, “The Devil’s Remnant.” I mostly write in a classical style. I’m quirky, and although I work as a machine tool builder in the real world, I live fantasy. Currently residing outside a small town in the California Sierras, I love to hunt and fish. Worked with horses in my youth, farmhand, and love to play chess.
For more on me:
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