Chapter 4 SAVAGE ENCOUNTER

SAVAGE ENCOUNTER is a work of fiction. Characters, organizations, places and events are either products of the author’s imagination or when factual, used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2019 Theodore A Henning II

This is Part One in a historical fiction series entitled: SAVAGE ENCOUNTER, there are 24 chapters I will be publishing individually, be sure to scroll down to the desired chapter. I hope you enjoy the book. Gratuities can be made to bluebonnets_trb@msn.com through Paypal.

CHAPTER FOUR Unforeseen Consequences

Rudomo clansmen at Kayov village were sorely stricken by their losses. The Ayambi had retreated. Although by now it was full daylight, the early morning wake of their strike had produced a penetrating numbness as void and ominous as an astral black whole. Women totally beside themselves beat their chests wailing in lamentation. This anguish of soul became as a mighty rushing avalanche; mourning the dead began gushing forth spontaneously. Men, once erect standing warriors, had shrunken noticeably with forward sagging shoulders. Defeat was a heavy cloak to carry. Retrieving headless kinsmen and mourning their loss was not an easy task. Yet these survivors had lived through their worst nightmare. Besides which they were absolutely dumbfounded that the Ayambi warriors of Yende had broken the moon-cycle tradition and attacked their village without any advance warning.

As far back as memory served no clan group had ever broken the moon-cycle tradition. After a conflagration between two differing clans, the moon-cycle tradition gave time for each group involved in the clash to mourn their dead, heal their wounds and regain a sober sense of being. No clan wanted to totally annihilate the others. The feuds and occasional clashes, for whatever the reasons, didserve certain ethnocentric purpose. These war raids had always been, and were foreseen to be so in the future. Yet now, this attack was different.  It had come too soon, and it initiated change, something innovative and sinister.

The actions of the Yende warriors brought to the forefront the hardship of constant reprisal killing. And up to this time, no one group of any clan had ever broken the moon-cycle tradition. This was a twist, truly making the attack an unexpected surprise. Faced with this knowledge, however, did not lessen the black shroud of anguish that draped heavily upon every Rudomo clansman in Kayov village.

As a precaution, certain elders felt it best to position a sentry near the sacred white rock area close to the spot where the lone Ayambi warrior had entered and disappeared. Not being able to enter the taboo place themselves, they were not going to allow any opportunity for an enemy who might still be alive to escape. Tribal taboo was something an aboriginal did not take lightly.

From the earlier vantage point of two Rudomo warriors, it appeared the lone enemy had leaped into the air, and disappeared. This was not altogether strange in itself as the Rudomo would have conjectured this Ayambi intruder had used karuar power and thus had vanished. However, at the time, the two Rudomo warriors pursuing were disappointed they could not enter the area and investigate further. Consequently, they turned their attentions to the others.

The arrows piercing fallen Ayambi warriors, Bodnini and Andi, failed to penetrate their vital organs. Had such been the case death, as a welcomed friend, would have ensued quickly. In the thicket, Rudomo warriors mercilessly yanked out the arrows instead of killing them outright. The hand-carved ironwood arrow points were fashioned with sharp angular barbs that ripped their flesh and sinew upon withdrawal. Each wound grotesquely enlarged when this happened. The removal ushered on more intense bleeding. The pain each man felt could not be measured, and yet, it was only the beginning of their torturous ordeal.

The warriors beat the two, breaking Andi’s leg in the process and then dragged them back to the village. Even before they could tie them to the vertical foundation posts underpinning the men’s longhouse women thronged helpless Bodnini and Andi. Women, once crazed by belly-knotting anguish as they stared at the headless bodies of their revered warrior husbands and sons, stopped flagellating their own chests and focused their attentions at the two intruders. In furious attacks, the women spit at them, struck them with their fists and bamboo rods. They poked their flesh and savagely bashed their heads until their natural facial features were so rearranged even their clansmen wouldn’t recognize them.

In and out of consciousness they went. When the women finally tired, Bodnini and Andi were unconscious, their ebbing life forces held by a very thin thread. It would have been better for them to have quickly succumbed in battle, fighting with dignity, dying as warriors. Now they could be little recognized, cloaked in humiliation dying in painful shame. When finally, again regaining a measure of consciousness, the women were there to taunt them and poke. But at this last occurrence, the ferociousness of their feminine anger had noticeably diminished, being replaced by a maliciousness that surfaced as a faint  knowing twinkle in their eyes. What intent now motivated their actions?

Several women grasped their bamboo rods by the ends, and twisted them hard to make them split apart. The long thin sections were passed around. Bodnini was first to see through his one remaining but quite swollen eye what they intended to do. A new wave of terror swept over his already unrecognizable countenance as he raised up to fill his burning punctured lungs and coarsely breath out, “Pasamai!”

All too well the women knew what he meant. In a roundabout way Bodnini was begging for death. However, they intended to give him many memorable scars to take with him to the afterworld. The pasamai bamboo, when split apart, possesses an edge as sharp and lethal as any surgeon’s scalpel. Each woman struck to flay the men giving no particular attention to design. They swung their bamboo knives lacerating the two until the curtaining pink inside flesh was more prominent than their once smooth, brown skin.

The two warriors had long ago succumbed to shock. Gripping death was eminent but so miserably slow in coming to their aid. These formerly erect Ayambi warriors were now little more than two masses of amorphous bloody flesh and bone. Each man was impaled upon the coarse pillars, held firm by the blood drenched rattan lashing. Again one mass found the strength to beg, “Pasamai!”

The humiliation could be brought no further. Nearby, a disinterested leader of men took a sharp pasamai bamboo and quickly slit each man’s throat bringing their earthly ordeal to an end. “It is best we mourn our dead than prolong the lives of these two dogs.”  Kukuri spoke without emotion and retreated into the men’s longhouse. The amorphous fleshy lumps slumped lifeless as the women slowly disbursed, and resumed to mourn. Rudomo warriors would make sure the dogs’ heads were properly cared for.

Runners were sent to spread the word to other Rudomo villages that the Ayambi of Yende had broken the moon-cycle tradition and attacked Kayov. The elders and warriors would come. They would all gather together to discuss this strange and unexpected turn of events. Making the next move had to be done by group decision in the wider sense. But what move should they make? Breaking the moon-cycle tradition was a bad precedent, not to be quickly followed. Yet, since one Ayambi clan village broke the tradition, what would prevent others from doing the same.

And what of the Rudomo? Those at Kayov needed time to heal, yet who should take up their reprisal? Roon Island was not that big a land mass. For all the villages to be in conflict at the same time would lead to disturbing consequences.  The men needed time to ponder these issues and discuss them. They needed a convergence of clan.  Runners were sent immediately to other Rudomo clan enclaves.

Unaware a watery catharsis was about to begin, they continued mourning their dead. Toward late afternoon, the pungent fragrance of impending rain was in the air above Kayov. When the monsoon rains finally emerged, fiercely intense, they were prevented from gathering any time soon.

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