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B2MeM 2011: Haradhrim Nights  by Mirach

Day 14:

Challenge - Armenelos: Write a story or create a piece of art centred on freedom of religion (or lack thereof), heresy, and/or religious rites.

Jackal and Lion

Kadar's anger was like the point of the dagger held on the stranger's throat. His sister – the beautiful desert rose – was dead. Her blood was on the hands of the man before him.

"Be careful what you do, Kadar!" the snake-voice hissed again. "My master wants his head!" - it sounded like someone unused to be denied he or his master wants.

Kadar growled, finally turning away from the stranger. "He can have it later. Our gods demand vengeance. Make sure he is ready…" he addressed the last order to the two men behind him. Then he left. He saw the man want to tell him something, but he didn't care. Nothing that he could say would bring Rasha back.

He walked away from the murderer. Yes, they were both paid to kill him, but he was just a pale northerner. The gods of the desert did not care if he dies. But Rasha… she was a precious jewel, and there was no punishment in the world just enough for the one who extinguished the light of her eyes. He could not bear the sight of the man any longer – he turned away from him and watched the sunset over the desert, preparing for what will come in the night.

Quiet, stealthy steps approached from behind. He turned in a bare wink of eye, dagger drawn. "Nazim…" he breathed out through clenched teeth when he saw the man who hired him. He did not lower the dagger, however.

"Do you really want to go through the whole ritual just for that northern dog?" the smaller man whose accent reminded the hissing of a snake asked with a scowl, ignoring the dagger.

Kadar looked straight into his eyes. He looked straight through them, driving his look into the man's skull like a knife. He didn't tell a word, but the man averted his eyes. A jackal knew when to pull his tail between his legs and retreat before a lion. But not Nazim, it seemed. "Why risk so? You have him in your hands. He will die anyways. Your gods certainly do not care for someone like him…"

The dagger shot forwards like an attacking snake, and stopped right before his face. "Keep your tongue behind your teeth if you want to keep it!" Kadar hissed.

Nazim made a careful step backwards, but Kadar followed him, eyes flashing. "You know nothing about the gods of the desert. You know nothing about the spirits! It does not matter who he is. They demand vengeance, blood for blood. And it must be done properly for them to accept it!"

Nazim didn't dare to answer, but made a few more steps away. Kadar didn't follow him anymore, but kept the dagger drawn. "Do it then. Do it as you want, but if my master doesn't get what he paid you for because of it, then you will pay yourself!"

With that Nazim turned, and walked away quickly. "You fool…" he muttered when he was out of Kadar's sight. "Desert has no gods or spirits. There is only the Eye…"

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