Stories Hub / Sci-Fi & Fantasy / Ogres and Ogresses Ch. 19

Ogres and Ogresses Ch. 19

by stubborn_dreamer 05/29/13

Chapter 19: Deal with the Devil

"I desire her."

Rell's proclamation stunned everyone.

Zyra felt her spine sag from the relief. Looking at Hanto caused the relief to be short lived. Hanto was practically frothing with his anger.

He looked between them, wondering if this was some sort of elaborate ruse.

"You cannot be serious." Hanto growled gravely. "You cannot."

"I am," Rell replied calmly. "And she acknowledges me."

Rell turned to her and Zyra nodded briskly, stepping forward. "I do. I acknowledge Rell." She looked at the Chief, meeting his eyes for only a moment. She was unable to hold both his stare and the lie. "I want Rell."

Surprised, the older man nodded rubbing his chin. "I see." He searched her face inquisitively with his gaze. "So...you will bare Rell's child?"

Zyra coughed, hiding her grimace. "I—"

"Lies!" Hanto spat viciously. "All of it, lies! How could she pick him over me?"

"Settle down Hanto," the Chief cooed patiently. He went to touch his son, but Hanto shrugged the hand off. Instead he walked until he was toe to toe with Rell, glaring at him with pure hatred. Rell did not back down.

"You would betray me? Your own brother?" he whispered gruffly, his nose brushing his.

"I will not let you force her into accepting you brother," Rell stated plainly. "You know as well as I that what you feel for her is not love, and it is not requited."

"You have no right."

"I have every right."

Hanto's eyes widened in surprise, and he took a step back. It was impossible. Rell was spineless, he always had been. How had he changed in mere weeks? And what did he truly mean by his right? Surely...

"Do you...challenge me Rell?"

"I am merely stating facts brother," Rell declared evenly, his blue eyes piercing his. "Zyra is not yours."

"Then I challenge your claim, in combat," Hanto growled. "I propose a challenge that will prove that I am stronger and worthier of Zyra than you."

"Come, there can be no challenge if she has accepted him my son," the Chief spoke gently to him. "Strength is not a factor here— "

"I accept."

Every man looked at Rell with shock. The deeply troubled Chieftain's lips thinned and his dark eyes found their way to Zyra. She could see that he believed she was to blame and he was not at all pleased. He tore the accusatory glance away slowly, as though pulling splinters from a wound, and then he looked back at Rell.

"Are you...sure my son?"

"I am sure," Rell stated firmly. "I will do what you ask Hanto. When and where?"

"Here and now."

"Hanto my son..."

"This is not your concern old man! Stay out of this!" Hanto barked.

The village gasped in uproar. Hanto had disrespected his Chief and Father in front of the two villages. Rell's eyes hardened in righteous anger.

"Have you forgotten yourself?" he hissed at Hanto. "How dare you disrespect our Father in such a villainous manner!"

As though waking from a dream, Hanto sobered from his rage. At that moment he realized his mistake, but it was too late. With a look that indicated a great disappointment, the Chief turned from them and began to walk away. Kyzu, ever the faithful hostess, took his shoulder and silently led him to his quarters.

The tribes made room as a distraught Hanto retrieved his knife. Rell kept his obsidian knife sheathed beside him.

Angry, curious, and even lecherous looks were directed towards Zyra without shame or attempt at discretion. She instantly knew the Ursie tribe thought this was her fault as well. It reminded her of how she had treated Kail when things between her and Kyzu escalated. It was easy to be blind, especially when you belonged to a group. This was destined to happen from the beginning, with or without her.

"First blood," Hanto declared, readying his stance.

Zyra watched Rell worriedly. He was no warrior. What stance could he have?

He glanced at her then to her surprise took her fighting stance. She wasn't sure whether to be flattered or worried. Could he really pull it off?

Hanto's eyes narrowed and he flicked his gaze to her. Apparently he recognized the stance. She could hear him mentally accusing her of conspiring against him. Considering his unsavory goal and the measures she had taken to assure he had not achieved it, it that was something she would be unable to deny.

"Zyra. Count to three," Hanto commanded.

He cracked his neck, watching as a man behind him flinched. He was still powerful, still strong. He would revel in Rell's defeat, using Zyra's own voice to deliver his punishment. And once his traitorous brother Rell knew his place, he would take Zyra and make her scream his name throughout the entire camp ground. His mouth watered with violent lust.

The madness in Hanto's eyes made Zyra swallow heavily. He radiated violence, flashes of her in his mind made her want to run from the perversity inside of him. Rell could get hurt from a man as damaged as him. It wasn't too late to end it. She looked at Rell to see how he was reacting. His face was determined, his countenance calm. He was ready. Looking at him now, a frail bud grown into a healthy boisterous flower, she felt motherly pride. And she knew she couldn't stop this. It would do nothing but bring shame to him if she defended him against Hanto. Rell had to defend her, to be honest none of this was even about her. It was about a brotherly power struggle that had raged inwardly for years. She had merely provided the spark for the room filled with kindling. Licking her lips she opened her mouth.

"One..."

Hanto rocked back and forth on his heels in a tactic of intimidation. Rell's cool eyes trained on his face. He stood completely still.

"Two..."

A lump caught in Zyra's throat. Her hands began to tremble. She swallowed, forcing her fear down. May the Maker protect him, she thought. Rell you've come so far, and now Rell...

"Three!"

...it begins.

Hanto let out a loud war cry and charged towards Rell savagely. Rell didn't move as Hanto came speedily toward him. When Hanto lifted his knife overhead, Zyra saw that Hanto intended to slash Rell's face. He would draw first blood in a way that everyone who saw Rell would remember what had happened here. Hanto was truly an animal.

"Rell!" she cried.

Hanto was an arm's length away when Rell moved forward like a serpent.

Then there was only silence. Rell had moved fast, fast like Zyra, inhumanly fast. She herself had seen what had happened clearly, but she could see the others were confused. In a fluid move Rell had side stepped Hanto's blow and countered with a blow of his own. Blood dripped onto the dusty camp ground. That blood was Hanto's.

Rell's obsidian blade had cut a thin line on Hanto's shoulder. It was cut so precisely, it barely bled. Hanto pressed the wound in disbelief, staring at the dewy red moisture on his fingertips. No one made a sound, unable to believe that Rell had actually beat Hanto.

Zyra swallowed and watched as his metallic tattoo glowed a ghostly silver, and then flashed red. Apparently Hanto had something to offer, and now Rell had the dormant ability to use it. So this is what the villagers saw. For a moment Zyra could understand their wariness towards her, it looked terrifying. Everyone regarded Rell with awe but inside it, at its core, there was a measure of fear.

"I have won brother," Rell said softly.

He sliced the air. The blade was so sharp that with the flick of his wrist the blade was pristinely clean. Rell could have chopped his arm off. He gazed at Hanto with cold eyes. He knew what Hanto had tried to do to him.

Hanto said nothing, struck mute by the impossible feat. There was nothing to be said.

Sheathing his blade Rell walked up to Zyra. She yelped when he put an arm behind her back and lifted her up. Sighing, he carried her away, taking her to where her tent was. Since the celebration had officially started she was unsurprised when she heard several of the men cheer bawdily.

She frowned at a couple shouts that suggested he "give it to her" and tried her best to keep a straight face. Hanto's silence continued to follow them like a plague and their march felt more like a funeral then a romp. They could hear the women resuming their jovial mood behind them and they passed the Chief who lifted his head.

Zyra missed his reaction because of the speed at which Rell walked. Even so she could imagine it, and imagine how the look of utter disbelief in the Chief's eyes probably hurt Rell. When they were at the tent he carried her all the way in before placing her down on the furs. When he closed the tent Zyra felt more awkward than ever.

"Rell..." she said her voice sounding apologetic, but he cut her off by shaking his head.

"What's done is done," he said gravely.

He reached behind her and opened the tent flap to spy outside. There was a couple whispering loudly as they settled into the tent across from them.

Based on the pitch of the girl's voice Zyra assumed it was Lala. Sealing it once more she watched as he collapsed heavily onto her furs. He covered his face with his hands and let out a sorrowful sigh.

"He will never live that down," Rell groaned. "He will never forgive me."

Zyra shifted nervously, unsure of what to say. "He...he might one day."

Rell chuckled bitterly. "Bless your naïve spirit Zyra."

They sat in silence for a while and slowly but surely they heard the bustle of the village spread out to where they were. It was a while before they heard singing and laughter, but when they did it lightened their hearts.

"You were right Zyra."

She looked at him, one blue eye regarding her while the other stayed masked by his palm.

"About what?"

"That time you told me I could become stronger. That I could become Chief. You were right."

Zyra wasn't sure what to say. She understood now that birthright did not always mean ascension, but she still could not wrap her mind around the doubt of a worthiness that was clearly yours. Instead she had another concern.

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