Archive for January, 2016

January 30, 2016: 4:47 pm: Exarthy, writing

Her name was Martina but everyone called her Vanka. In the village language it meant fair or blessed and it was meant as a compliment.

But now as she stood opposed by Nex the son of the dead chief it sounded like a curse.

“Vanka,” Nex spat. “You would have us run and hide like cowards. BUt that is not what my father would want. We must avenge him and protect our lands. We must let Okrex and his hordes know we will not be bowed.

Vanka’s shoulders sank. He made her position sound cowardly and unreasonable. When it was he who was being irrational. Brave maybe, but stupid. She saw the yes of mthe survivors of her village look to her for an answer to him. She knew they did not want to die. But they did not want Okrex to win either.

Vanka spat to buy time. It also eloquently summed up what she felt of Nex’s words. “You sound like fair winds but speak wet dirt. Okrex has given us two options. Fight and die or submit and be slaves. You would have us die. Which is brave. BUt I would have us outsmart Okrex. I would have us live and yet not be slaves. I know the ways through the forest. We can save our village. We can live another day. If venegance we want we can wreak it in the next moons. But if we listen to your words we give Okrex what he wants. We give him our village.”

Nex sputtered at this. She was a fine speaker, she knew. She liked words. She was the unofficial storyteller. But he had not given in to her yet. “You would give him our village too,” was all he managed.

“Yes,” she answered quickly. “But not with anything valuable in it. Certainly not with us in it.” He might get thatch and mud, but that is all. You would give him our bodie.”

Nex gave up arguing with her. She saw it. “We are riven!” he declared, invoking the ancient term for a village that has decided to split in two. It was not what she had proposed. She was heartbroken. More than half their number had died in Okrex’s attack. There was not much left as it was without splitting up.

Nex continued. “Those who would stay and fight, to me. Those who would run and hide, to her.” He didn’t give her the courtesy of using her name this time.

Vanka turned to the villagers. “If you wish to survive, follow me.”

She gathered her things, a pack of the barest essentials and made for the tree line.

Almost two dozen followed her. She would not keep her promise. Not all would survive.

January 25, 2016: 1:52 am: Exarthy, writing

Bil left his house to head to the community center and find Erika. It was an unusually bright morning. In any other place on Earth it would have been described as sunny but in Barnitukku, the sun never appeared in the sky. An odd shelf of rock and trees prevented that. But plenty of sunlight made it through anyway and today more than usual.

Lots of people were outside enjoying the light. He knew them all. It was a small place and they all relied on each other. So he smiled genially and hid his worry. Erika had said she would be at he Vistatu, the community center in the middle of town until late but she had never come home.

In most areas on the planet that would have been cause to worry about some kind of accident or crime. Barnitukku was small enough that anything like that would have immediately spread through the town like wildfire. Crimes were not unheard of but they were rare and accidents while less rare were taken very seriously.

So Bil was curious to find out what had kept her. She must have just decided to sleep there rather than walk home. The Vistatu was meant for that. IN fact it had been its originalk and ancient purpose and it still offered beds and comfort to any Barnitukku who needed them.

The Vistatu was very small even by the town’s generally small building standards. It was made of mud bricks that had been replaced many times in its long centuries. In fact it had been patched and repaired so many times none of its walls were made of the original materials, meaning it really wasn’t as ancient as it was regarded. Except for one brick. Legend said it was the first brick put down, but Bil and many others doubted the original builders took the time to commemorate it. Rather it was likely a brick some ancient Barnitukku noticed was one of the few left from the original building and pointed that out. Since it happened to be on the ground the story grew that it could have been the first one, then that it must have been and then that it was.

Whatever the case, Bil gently opened the aluminium screen door attached in blasphemous contrast to its walls of varying antiquity, and entered.

The lights were off and he flicked the switch to turn them on. Some rather old bulbs flickered to life. Erika lay on a couch in the entrance room. That was very odd. The sleeping couches were off towards the back.

“Erika?” Bil asked.

“Vankam,” Erika said greeting him and rubbing the sleep from her eyes, then opening them wide. “Oh my it is morning isn’t it? I meant to just rest before I walked home. So sorry to worry you.”

“No worry,” Bil dismissed the concern. “I’m more curious what kept you,” he lied.

“We have a katarru man from the camanaba,” she said. Erika had a bad habit of speaking in patois. Barnitukku were supposed to speak in English whenever possible in vigilant preparation for any trips outside the country.

“A piece of scrap iron from the outside world?” Bil gently chided.

“Well if you want to be literal about it,” she grumbled. “He’s a systems analyst for one of their intelligence agencies. Was going to pull a Snowden before I found him and convinced him to come with me.”

Bil nodded.

“And he’s awake,” said a voice from behind them both.

Bil turned to see a tall blonde european in modern dress of a t-shirt and jeans.

“And he’s still not sure he’s convinced.”

Bil bowed then quickly realized that was the wrong greeting and stuck out his hand. The other man shook.

Erika had risen and stood between them. “Bil, this is Mattias from the country of Germany. Mattias this is Bil.”

“Nice to meet you Mattias. Welcoem to the hidden kingdom of Barnitukku.”

“So you all call it that. I thought Erika was just the dramatic one,” Mattias said.

“She is,” said Bil. “But not about that. Our Kingdom is hidden.”

“What about the part where she said it runs the world?”

Bil laughed. “A bit dramatic. We guide the Exarthy. But. Maybe it’s a distinction without a difference. Most would say we run the world.”