Oblation (Lucarionme & Vermiciro)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Vermiciro, Aug 9, 2015.

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  1. Smoke, grey like a portent of rain, unfurled with anguine grace from the council chamber. The discourse concerning Chatan’s fate was being held there. From the crude cut window of his outlying shanty, Chatan watched, imagining the weathered faces of elders cast in red chiaroscuro from a central brassier as they spoke of foreboding prognostications. He could only wish the dialogue he suffered through was theirs, and not that of Namid.

    She slapped the end table repeatedly to draw his attention. “Why aren’t you writing this down?”

    “Forgive me.” He asked, smiling sheepishly as he focused again on his work. “Your husband’s decision preoccupies me.”

    “It shouldn’t.” she stated succinctly. “Your fate is known. They are only discussing whether your offering will set precedence or not.”

    Though incredulous, Chatan’s equanimity began to falter. “Your husband said as much to you?” he implored.

    And Namid smiled wide, like a dog, relishing her intimate secrets. It was an expression in contrast to her body, soft with the adipose motherhood and affluence bring. It made bile churn in Chatan’s stomach. “If Pannoowau, our lord and keeper, should desire it, we do as we can to fulfill it. You understand the value of your sacrifice, no?”

    Chatan smiled bitterly. “Of course, Namid. It’s an honor.”

    She laughed shrilling and clapped her hands. “It is! It is!” Namid agreed. “To think our village was chosen, able to adulate Pannoowau with human oblation. It’s almost worthy of myth isn’t? Though, honestly, you better resemble a sappling’s imitation of man than a man himself. I wonder why Pannoowau didn’t choose someone with more charm. One of my daughter’s would have made an excellent offering, don’t you agree?” she carried on garrulously.

    Though he knew his place, no better than chattel or produce, Chatan was still wounded by how easily the village had forfeited his life. Such heartless disregard, he could hardly stomach it. Though Chatan never had much of a life, had cursed his own existence time and time again, but never had he wanted what was to come. It was both the dream of change and nightmare of the unknown. It was terrifying.

    As he and Namid continued their session, recording the history of Chief Mingan’s family, Chatan tried in vain to focus on his task. But fear only grew while sitting in wait. Past noon, a runner arrived. The smoke from the council chamber had turned white, signally the council’s agreement, and news was brought to both Chatan and Namid. Just as she had said, Chatan was to be offer to Pannoowau. The ceremony was set for dusk. He was only given hours to prepare, not even a full day to make peace with his family.

    And so, in one final note, written in the pages of another man’s history, Chatan made what he thought could be his last words.

    Should this village become an abattoir, then with cold indifference I will take seat at the butcher’s table. There is no sympathy for heifers, for they’ve no sympathy for the damned.

    * * *

    Under a painted sky of orange and magenta, the village gathered at the mountain’s base. Scree and pockets of course flora crunched underfoot. The low whine of primitive string instruments swelled in the air, and drums beat to the cadence of death’s wings. The people chanted. Wanton dancing and dervish spinning of women carved paths in the loose rocks. And in the controlled chaos of celebration was the forlorn song of a single flute, droning softly beneath the revelry.

    Standing head and shoulders above the villagers, flanked by warriors, was Chatan. He was clad in wraps of muslin, his only protection from the sun’s ire. It felt like he was enveloped in a death shroud, awaiting burial. He didn’t even have possessions to carry. He, and he alone, would follow Pannoowau into the mountains.

    And as they waited, anxious in expectation, Chatan could only think that if gods truly existed, then by cosmic design, he would one day repay the people the treatment he had received.
    #1 Vermiciro, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2016
  2. The daytime breeze carries the racket of the village's sacred noisemaking up, up, up into all nooks and crannies of the mountains. Trees, bushes and grasses shutter when its touch disrupts the still air and leaves all vulnerable flesh covered in goosebumps. A thin, familiar fog spills from the cliffs above and carries along with it the fetid scent of death. All goes silent save for the footsteps of the massive, horned creature making its way down the mountain path, called forth by its loyal peons. Chunks of loose rock fall to the path as the beast lazily drags a full hand of emaciated digits along its face. Its eyes lock onto Chatan, the gift wrapped so neatly like seasoned meat, like all others who're given away, for his eventual consumption. This was not the fate of this young boy, however, for as soon as his haunting gaze met with the boy's hollow, defeated one he saw himself. He saw his own physical body in those gangling proportions and tainted patches of skin. Dragging behind him in his free hand was a large, dried hide cloak, crummily pulled from at least two or three wild animals then left out in the sun to dry out. Pannoowau lazily drapes the garment around his offering's shoulders. He had, indeed, picked out this boy himself while his spirit hid under its own temporary cloak of human flesh, a measure he takes in the neighboring, "troubled" villages to feed his ever-starving body. He saw Chatan's bodily troubles as small curiosities for his own enjoyment.
    "Shield yourself from your eternal enemy, child." The monster mumbles down to the young invalid.
    Pannoowau stands back up to his full 15 feet, casting a long shadow over the stillness below.
    "Once again, your offering keeps me in your favor. But may I still remind you all, petty mortals, that while your insignificant village has no serious fear of the barbaric act of cannibalism because of my protection, plenty of other larger, grander villages are currently racked with this plague of treachery."
    Its long mossy hair sways in the still passing breeze.
    "Do any of you who feel inclined to speak have any pronouncements before I return to my residence in the clouds?"​
    #2 lucarionme, Aug 10, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2015
  3. Though having seen Pannoowau descend the mountain year after year, Chatan never accustomed to the scene. He was an intimidating creature under normal circumstances. To have him come for Chatan, the knowledge of that fate left the youth feeling hollow with fear. He hadn't even the nerve to tremble. Under Pannoowau's oppressive animus, Chatan grew small, folding into himself psychologically, almost disconnecting until the burden of his God's gift fell upon his shoulders.

    A shiver of sudden consternation rattled down his spine. The timbre of Pannoowau's voice purled over Chatan. To be addressed directly, and not in a tone of order or castigation, was an unexpected comfort that felt much like pity. Chatan tried to smile in appreciation before the scent of the wendigo washed over him. It smelled of putrefaction's acidic balm, petrichor, and earthy decay. Pungent, but familiar.

    Listening, Chatan had no idea how he would make the climb up the mountain. He had neither the strength or endurance for such a feet. But before he could worry more over the thought, a magnate spoke.

    "We are forever grateful for your benevolence, presenting you with what offerings your heart desires. But we fear Chatan may not be the only youth of our village you may ask for. In time, we worry you will desire more. Please, if we may supplicate, allay our anxious hearts. Say you will not ask of us to give you our people again."

    For all his dread, Chatan could still feel a coil of ire winding tight in his chest. His features stiffened, refraining a sneer, as he pulled his new cloak tightly around himself. That he should be the only one to suffer, an unwilling martyr to the fear and selfishness of his people, how sick.
  4. Pannoowau blows some inhaled fog from his nose, a subtly indifferent gesture. This was just a mild annoyance for him, after all, he doesn't need his meals to be willing.
    "Yes, yes, I understand your concern. Surely you need all of your humdrum, able-bodied kin to aid this village in continuing its slow paced existence. One could only assume such a grand offering will hinder your lives until its place is filled. I will ask no more for your people's flesh."
    He scoffs to himself. His speech is purposely suggestive as he revels in the fact that the villagers can never directly resent to him. It is then that he gives one last glance at the boy, and his face contorts a little quizzically.
    "His palms are bare. Is he a beggar? Has he nothing of his own to bring with him?" he asks, curious. Plenty of people who trek the mountains carry carts and carts of supplies. Maybe they don't feel like wasting anything on this sickly skeleton of a man.
    "That is not to say he'd need it where he's going..."​
  5. The majority were at ease with Pannoowau's placation, though dissent showed on the faces of several council members. They knew the wendigo they revered as a god was prone to caprice. It was a gnawing anxiety that they tried best to dismiss, but they knew. Whatever Pannoowau desired he would have, with or without the people's consent. Some believed that was why Chatan was offered so freely. They hadn't the power to deny.

    No one spoke of Chatan's lack of possessions. A hush settled over the crowd as they waited, nerves pulling taut in expectation. What relatives of Chatan's family were present hung back, eyes anxiously glancing about the people. Risking insolence, the youth spoke for himself.

    "There isn't anything I have worth taking." Chatan explained with a tight smile. Not knowing what to expect upon leaving the village, he brought nothing. All his belongings seemed like trivial burdens.
  6. The beast scratches at his chin. As a live offering, this boy must've expected a traditional offering's fate. How predictable do these humans assume him to be? He remembers, however, that human society is based in tradition. A simple living that protects them from their ironic fear of their own curiosities. It's rather pathetic and ignorant, but Pannoowau could hardly care any less.
    "...Very well. Come, we ascend."
    And without another word, he turns from the crowd. His giant footsteps once again echo through the silence as he rejoins the rocky path, expecting Chatan to follow along as well. Very, very slowly, the foul smelling fog recedes back with him. He wonders just how honest these people were with him. How much of a dent this would truly create in their village. They gave him up like a willing pioneer. Almost like they were so sure of his fate that the inherent chickenheartedness of their nature forbade them from fantasizing about life in the mountains with a "god" when the chance finally arose... ​
  7. Looking back was never advised, a sign of hesitance, of desired change. But Chatan did it regardless. He half turned to look over the crowd, a hundred sets of eyes looking back. They were not unanimous in expression. Some appeared worried and helplessly sympathetic. Others were eager to see what would transpire as he took to the mountain. But most, they just watched with blank stares. Beneath the gravity of their silent farewell, Chatan had never felt so alone.

    In tacit understanding, he followed in Pannoowau's wake. The gradually increasing incline and scree underfoot made Chatan's pace sluggish. Combined with his weakened physique, he could hardly keep up with his new master. The fog's scent was oppressive and the more Chatan exerted himself the more vile air he breathed in. He hoped where Pannoowau called home wasn't so retched. Chatan didn't know if that was something he could accommodate to.
  8. Pannoowau hears the tiny footsteps behind him becoming lighter, slower. Now cloaked in darkness and far from the village eye, he figured the boy following was having second thoughts or trying to quiet his steps for an escape. The wendigo turns to face the breeze, eyeing down the limping human with selfish concern.
    "What stalls you?" he grumbles, arms crossed and covered by the scruff of his chest.
    He stands stoic, awaiting an answer from the panting, sputtering being underneath him.​
  9. Almost laughing sardonically, and unable to hide the wry smile on his face at what sounded to him like something obvious, Chatan paused to catch his breathe. Words punctuated by panting, he tried to explain. "My lord, I am deeply, deeply sorry to inform you that my physique is not very suited for this kind of activity."

    I was embarrassing to admit, but also oddly charming. Chatan had never had anyone expect a thing from him, be it physical labor, skill, or even pleasant company. To have a being revered as a god question what others knew as common fact was so incredulous it was endearing. But the thin air and incline were notably effecting Chatan's pace, perhaps more than anyone, even a god, would consider.
  10. Pannoowau resigns with a long, hollow sigh. He should've known this boy could only go so far with his knobby joints and stringy muscles. At least he doesn't need to worry about his offering being overly courageous. Chatan very well knows that his limit is a pathetically short number. Maybe one of a child who's yet to walk, even though this one has very well been on his legs for years. The wendigo cannot fully understand how clumsy human genetics can be, only that these things happen rather miraculously and interest him so.
    "...Can you climb, boy?" He grumbles, crouching down with his back to Chatan in hopes that he may at least have the strength to scale the beast's coarsely furred back to free himself from the burden of hiking.​
  11. The gesture was arresting. Chatan almost balked, completely nonplussed. That a being revered as a god would take up a task reserved for pack animals, it was unprecedented. The act was humbling, and Chatan began to doubt the village's teachings of Pannoowau. After all, how could man ever determine the wiles and ways of a creature so vastly different from themselves. Chatan didn't know if the gesture was made out of predilection or practicality, but accepted it regardless.

    "I think I can manage it." he finally said, daring to step closer. To be offered a god's charity and be given the opportunity to make physical contact, Chatan lacked a means to measure the magnitude of it. Tentatively, he put a hand against Pannoowau's back. He found the fur thick and course to the touch, nothing like the pliable softness of the village's domestic breeds. Chatan swallowed hard. With what meager strength he possessed he managed to knot his fingers in Pannoowau's fur the slowly scale his back.
  12. Pannoowau perches still in the wind of the mountain as the frail Chatan ascends to his shoulders. While he waits out this time, his eyes wander to the visible world below them. From the very top of the mountain, there is at least one village visible in each of the cardinal directions, Chatan's being the only one in the south and the only one that knows of and thinks positively of his presence above them. All the rest are in a panic due to his violent feeding habits and no longer that awe-inspiring to look at. It's a shame, really. Humans die without his intervention anyways, why does it matter the manner in which they do so? He feels the boy finally settle on his shoulder.
    "Hold onto me. There's no telling how many of your chalky bones will turn to dust if you fall from my height..."
    When all is again still, he straightens himself and starts back up along the path. Though the area is thick with greenery, a few holes in the wall of plant life and Pannoowau's incredible hight allow Chatan to view the progress they've made in scaling the mountain.
    "How often do your people attempt to make it up the path?" The "God" is actually making the effort to start conversing with his offering more casually, even if it is about something Chatan may not care too much about.​
  13. At mention of his fragility and Pannoowau's daunting height, Chatan tried willfully to think of anything other than the sickening pull of gravity. It only served to strengthen his dizzying sense of vertigo. Chatan closed his eyes, a mistake as it too worsened the feeling. He found relief in Pannoowau's askance, grateful for the distraction.

    "If I may be honest," Chatan began, "I don't know. Those that stray farthest from the village are hunters, and I don't know how far they will pursue quarry or search for it. Otherwise, runners sending message between villages have been known to take the mountain paths, but to climb as high as this would be quite the scenic delay." he elucidated while attempting to take in the surrounding. The village settlements looked insignificant from such heights, human intrusions among sprawling nature. Chatan missed them little.
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