Saga of Bohok- Chapter 9

This is the ninth chapter of an online serial novel. If you want to read the story from the beginning click HERE.

Chapter 9

“Now you tell me your names.” The strange man said after a long moment of silence.

Bohok and Kirso just stared at him.

“Do you speak the People’s Speak?” He asked slowly, over enunciating each word.

“Yes.” Kirso and Bohok answered together.

“I am called Tymon.” He pointed to himself. “You are?” He pointed at Bohok.

“Bohok.”

“Good. And you are?” He said, pointing at Kirso.

“Kirso.”

“Good.” The man smiled at them. He put his long knife back in the sheath on his belt. “Now help me find my quarrel.” He started looking through the grass well past where the bear lay dead.

Bohok and Kirso both had to jog a couple of steps to catch up with him. He moved fast for an old man.  He was searching the ground for something but Bohok had never heard the word quarrel before. It was the strangest sounding word he had ever heard, it sounded harsh in his ears.

“What is a quarrel?” Bohok asked, straining to get his mouth around the word. Whatever it was the man was intent on finding it.

He looked up at Bohok and stared at him for a moment, then said, “Arrow.”

Bohok and Kirso both nodded. They knew what an arrow was. Then the man continued, “It is a special arrow. It goes in an arbalest.”

 Another strange word. Kirso cocked a confused eyebrow at Bohok, and Bohok just shrugged. “What is an arbalest?”

The man looked up again and sighed, “A crossbow.” He started, then shook his head, and held up a hand to forestall the inevitable question. He pulled a strange contraption off his back. It looked like a bow but it had a large stick stuck to the center of it, and the material the bow was made of was the same shiny stone that the man’s knife was made of. He held it up then said, “Arbalest.”

Bohok tried not to stare and shook his head. He hit Kirso in the shoulder to knock the stupefied look off his face. “Let’s help him find his quarrel.”

Bohok didn’t know why the man was looking for an arrow so far from the bear. If he had shot the bear with an arrow, the arrow should still be in the bear. Bears were incredibly dense creatures; arrows usually only penetrated a couple of inches into their thick flesh. Even the strongest Elk-Eater bow couldn’t go all the way through; even at extremely close range. Tymon must have fired from the woods, Bohok had never heard of a bow strong enough to kill a bear at that range, much less go through it.

“Here it is.” Kirso called out. He pulled a short arrow out of the ground. So short that Bohok had thought it had broken in half until he saw both the fletching and the arrow head on it.

Kirso turned the quarrel in his hand, staring at it in amazement. It was dripping blood and gore, obviously the arrow that had killed the bear, but where the blood had cleared the shaft and the point they could see that the arrow was made of the same shiny stone as the man’s knife. It seemed everything he had was made out of it.

“Good boy.” The man said excitedly and walked up to Kirso. He took the quarrel from Kirso and wiped it with a piece of hide. Then he put the quarrel onto the stick attached to the arbalest and pressed down. It made a loud snapping noise and stayed in place. “There.” He said with another smile. “The reason I brought this was it doesn’t burn up powder every time I shoot, but I only brought a dozen quarrels, I’d hate to lose one.”

Bohok didn’t even know where to begin asking questions after that last statement. He was trying to figure out half of what the man had just said when Kirso spoke.

“How did that,” he paused trying to remember the word, “quarrel go through the bear?”

Tymon got a serious look on his face. “An arbalest can put a quarrel through a steel breast plate, the man wearing it, and back out the other side boy.”

“What?” Bohok asked, confused.

“It is really strong.” Tymon said simply.

“Oh.” Bohok was still confused, but wasn’t sure he was going to get a better answer.

“What tribe are you from?” Kirso interrupted.

“What do I eat?” The man asked.

“No. What tribe are you from?” Kirso repeated with a bit of hostility to his voice.

“Ah,” Tymon smiled, “my tribe. You want to know my tribe.”

“Yes.” Kirso confirmed.

“That is a tricky one.” Tymon scratched his beard. “I am Austrian, but I came here with the Spanish missionaries. I am no missionary though.” He waved a hand in negation.

“What is a missionary?” Kirso asked.

“Well,” Tymon said solemnly, “I imagine you’re going to find that out soon enough. They are much better at explaining themselves than I. They are working their way up the river. I wanted to see what lay up stream before they got here.”

“So you paddled up the river?” Kirso asked.

“No I rode.”

“Rode? Somebody paddled for you? No man should ride in a boat without paddling. Only women ride.”

“I rode my horse.” Tymon said incredulously. The last word was another one of the strange words that made no sense to Bohok and Kirso.

“What kind of boat is a horse?” Bohok asked curiously. Every time this strange man said one of those unusual words they were treated to a new marvel.

“It isn’t a boat. It is an animal.”

“You ride on an animal?” Kirso asked.

“Yes.”

“You can’t ride animals.” Kirso argued.

“I can.”

“Where is this riding animal then?” Kirso asked his voice full of disbelief.

“I had to tie her up, she doesn’t like bears. The stupid mule wanted to fight but, she’s always up for a fight, but I don’t think she could kill one of these giant bears you have here.” He pointed at the bear for emphasis. “So I tied her up too.”

“You ride female animals.” Kirso laughed. “If you are going to ride something why not ride a male?”

“I don’t care for stallions, they have too much spirit, and geldings have too little.”

Bohok hadn’t heard so many strange words in his life. He wanted to ask the man what they meant but he was talking too quickly.

“Show me these riding animals.” Kirso demanded.

Tymon gave Kirso a strange look. “You don’t believe me?”

Kirso shook his head no. Bohok was embarrassed, this man had saved their lives and here Kirso was calling him a liar.

“Well then, let me introduce you to my girls.”

Tymon led the boys into the woods and down a small game trail that emerged into a small glade.  In the center of the glade two strange beasts were tied to a fallen log.

They were unlike anything Bohok had ever seen before. They looked somewhat like elk, but their noses were longer, and they were darker brown. They had long hair down their necks and hanging from their hindquarters. One was slightly smaller than the other and had longer ears. Both were laden down with packs but the bigger one had an area clear in the center of its back. That must be where he sits, thought Bohok.

“Those are my girls.” Tymon said with pride.  “The big one is Karina, she is a horse. The little one is Alena, she is a mule. I ride the Karina and Alena carries my supplies.”

Kirso’s jaw was hanging open. Bohok hoped he didn’t share his foolish look but he couldn’t be sure. He had never seen creatures such as this.

“Where did you get them?” Bohok asked.

“I brought them with me. Where I come from they are plentiful.”

“How did you catch them?” Kirso asked excitedly as they approached the creatures. “Do the males have antlers?”

“No,” Tymon laughed, “they don’t have antlers.”

“But how did you catch them?” Bohok repeated Kirso’s question. He was thinking that he would like to catch one for himself.

“I didn’t I bought them.”

“You traded for them.” Both Kirso and Bohok said together. They looked at each other then back to Tymon. Bohok knew that Kirso was wondering how much they would have to trade to get one.

“Yes.” Tymon answered.

As they approached the animals they started to prance about nervously. The big animal started to shy away from them but the small one’s ears folded back and it bared its teeth. Suddenly it looked very large and dangerous. Bohok and Kirso stopped dead in their tracks.

“Shhhh.” Tymon spoke to the animals in a gentle tone. “It’s alright. Now, now there. They are friends.” He reached out and stroked the horse’s nose; it calmed visibly. 

“The little one looks angry.” Kirso said still not moving forward.

“She doesn’t like strangers, and I told you, she’s always up for a fight.” Tymon went to the mule and stroked her nose and neck until her ears were standing straight up again. “It’s alright Alena, it’s alright.” He spoke in his soft tone again.

Bohok still wasn’t sure about the mule; she had a wicked look in her eye, like she was just waiting for them to get close. It was smaller than the horse but up close it still seemed pretty big.

“You want to touch them?” Tymon asked.

Kirso shook his head no.

Bohok didn’t want to get any closer either but he bravely stepped forward. He went up to Karina, keeping well clear of Alena, and slowly reached a hand out. The horse made a strange noise and rolled its eyes at him. Bohok jumped back. He heard Kirso let out a laugh behind him.

“Slowly.” Tymon counseled. “Let her get your scent.”

Bohok waited a moment longer before reaching out again. He touched the creature’s long nose. It was softer than Bohok had anticipated. He stroked it again, the way that Tymon had, and the horse pushed back against his hand.

“See, not that bad, she likes you.” Tymon beamed at Bohok.

Bohok couldn’t help but smile back. He kept petting the horse’s nose and neck. The horse nickered approvingly.

“You’re a natural.” Tymon grinned. “Do you want to ride her?”

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Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 1:04 am  Comments Off on Saga of Bohok- Chapter 9  
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