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== The Birth ==
The old man sat and considered the request of the young woman before him. He wasn't sure of the wisdom of giving her what she had been asking for, and yet, he agreed with her reasoning. Afterall, the Mistress DID value the retaining of knowledges and histories and he WAS her Chief Archivist. Course she would probably bellow and rave, but he was used to those little "moments" of hers. Considering the young woman in front of him he made his decision.
"I will tell you her history, young lady, but I warn you... it is not a pleasant history and one she has not told to another soul for many years now. Those who knew it are either gone now or hold places in the heavens."
The young elven lass smiles and nods. "I'm ready, Master Archivist. I think that one who so scrupulously guards the past should have hers also as scrupulously looked after as well."
The old archivist nods, gets more comfortable and begins to speak.
"Many years ago now as the shorter lived humans measure time, there lived a young shaman woman. She was the Chief Shaman of her village and was very well liked. She was skilled and compassionate and cared for one and all gently, from the smallest cuts and bruises to caring for them in death. As with all practioners of her path, she needed to be out often in the different seasons collecting various herbs and plants for her medicines.
It was on one of these journies that her village was attacked by a band of Ogres who lived in one of the nearby valleys. As she crested the hill to her village, gathering basket full under her arm, she saw the smoke and heard the screaming. She ran down to the village and found many of the villagers wounded, dead and dying. The rest were herded together like cattle. The women were roughened up but basically unharmed. She heard the war party's leader demand of them to hand over their shaman. He told them he would slay one villager for everytime he had to ask...and he was true to his word, but noone betrayed her name to them. Unable to bear them being slain she came out from between the huts where she had been crouched and told them she was the shaman of the village.
The leader of the war party, seeing the talismans of her craft, and knowing the look of one who deals with the mystical forces of nature, knew she told the truth and told her she was coming with them. The journey was not easy on her but she did manage to find out that their Shaman was very ill. She tried to tell them they had only to come and ask for her aid and did not need to slay her people to get her to come try to help, but the leader of the war party just grunted at her and told her that shaman didn't need tongues to work so she better be quiet or she would be quieted.
They reached the ogre tribe's village shortly before sundown of the following day. She was brought to chieftan's tent, but alas it was already too late. The tribe's Shaman had died that very afternoon. The tribe began its mourning rituals and the woman was given over into the hands of the tribe's Chieftain. The woman, Kiriana by name, asked to be returned to her people, but the Chieftain told her that her people's resistance had cost them valuable time which may have saved their Shaman's life and that she would stay and tend to them now.
Though Kiriana was kind and compassionate she was also firey and strong willed and she began to rage at the huge ogre chieftain. He simply laughed and had her removed and taken to his cave. What followed is the tale of all too many women taken by force by war parties. I will not describe what she endured so as to spare you, but it is enough to say that she was fed and worked like a slave...and other things.
Several weeks later, there was a commotion in the village. She saw a large group of men approaching, armed and armored. The Chieftain strode out to meet them. She recognized the men of her village and her heart leapt in her chest to see her family and friends again. They spoke heatedly back and forth and finally the Chieftain grunted and nodded his head, and said something in Ogrish to one of his warriors. Kiriana found herself grabbed and dragged over and pushed at the men. It seems she had been purchased, at a very high cost to her village, from the Ogres, along with certain provisos.
She was to make monthly visits to the Ogres to tend to their needs with her medicines, but could live at her own village. If she did not show, they would come and destroy every man woman and child of her village in payment.
Returning home she was overjoyed and humbled that they had so beggared themselves to come up with the gold that was demanded for her. Still... she was home and all would now be well... she thought.
After she had been home several weeks she began to have certain suspicions... and using her craft, she verified it. She was to have a child....a child of mixed blood. Part of her was appalled at the thought of birthing something that was part ogre... and yet.. her tender heart was more appalled at the thought of destroying something that was alive and growing and was also part of her. She spoke to the village elders of it...its not like it could be hidden afterall... and they grew enraged and demanded that she end the pregnancy immediately. She flew into a rage and told them she would do no such thing and they could just learn to live with it. They forbade her to birth the "creature." Kiriana stood to her tallest height and told them squarely that if they forced her to do this thing she would never tend another wound, birth another baby, treat another sickness or tend to another body for death rites, ever. She told them she would call on every power she served to bring pain and disease and revenge on the entire village and leave never to return so that the Ogres would come and destroy what was left of them. Needless to say, the elders were greatly afraid and allowed her to keep the "beast" growing in her.
Not all felt as they did but it was never wise to incur the wrath of the elders so she had only what help her friends and family dared to give to her. Soon the time was imminent for the birth and she took her medicines off by herself where she could have the child without hostile faces around them.
The birth was hard on Kiriana for the child was so big. It drained her energies greatly but at long last the child lay in her arms taking its first draught of its mother's milk. It was a girl child and while she was definately ogrish in size and somewhat in looks, she was not totally without her mother's influences as well. "I will call you Chaynal" little one which means "Bladed Victory" in the tongue of the ancients that I serve. You will be strong and fierce, but never forget you are also of my lineage and of me, and so possess great capacity for compassion and gentleness. Kiriana stayed in the small cave for 3 days till she recovered the strength to return to the village to face the elders.
As was the custom of her village, after 1 months time a naming ceremony was held where the child was introduced officially to the village and accepted as one of them. Usually the naming was decided ahead of time and the parents chose the name. Once spoken by the elders... that was the child's name for all time, for it was thought that the Gods would only recognize the child by that name from then on. Kiriana also discussed the name of her daughter with them, but they were still angry at having this half-breed in their midst and being forced to abide it, and decided to play a cruelty on it. As Chaynal was held up to the heavens, the Chief Elder said in a loud voice for all to hear... "I name this child Chay. So it is done for all time." and handed the baby back to Kiriana who stood there shocked and furious. She began to rage at the elders but they waved her off and walked away. She stood shaking and held her daughter close to her unable to believe they had done such a cruel thing, for in the common the word "chay" meant "garbage, something to be discarded, or something of no value." She turned from the equally stunned villagers and ran home but never did she call her daughter that name, no matter how it infuriated the elders. Life progressed uneasily in the village. The elders ruled with a firm hand and few dared to completely go against their wishes in regards to the half-breed child growing among them. Kiriana, on the other hand, never really recovered from the strain of birthing the large baby, and over the course of time began to weaken slowly more and more. She kept her bargain with the Ogre village each month but the trips were becoming harder for her to make. Knowing she would not live to see her daughter reach adulthood she went to the Chief Elder.
"Brogar, I know you resent most of all my daughter being here. I also know I am growing weaker and will not live to see her reach her adulthood. We BOTH know that even in death I will find a way to destroy you if she is harmed after I die. Like it or not she IS of this village and I want to be sure YOU remember that when I am gone and care for her as you would any other orphan of the village. Do we understand each other?"
Brogar trembled for he did indeed know she was powerful in the ways of the ancients and feared she could do exactly as she claimed. So he swore the child would not be harmed and would be kept until she was old enough to care for herself. Beyond that she can make her own decisions when she is old enough. Kiriana agreed and 3 years later, she died, her body finally giving up its battle to go on any longer. No sooner had the burial fires begin to die out, than Chaynal, or Chay as she was now referred, was sent to live with the village's smith.
Life changed drastically for the 5 year old half-ogre child. She was double the size of the other children. Not just in height but in physical strength she was totally beyond their abilities. They were cruel to her as children often can be, and when she would tire their harshness she would "forget" to pull her blows and they would inevitably end up crying and hurt. She was given to the smith who was the only one strong enough to deal with the headstrong and often angry child. She missed her mother greatly; missed the one gentle and kind voice that she had ever known. Each time another child got hurt, she would be punished severely... even when what happened was not of her doing. She became the scapegoat for every fit of temper let loose by anyone in the village. Every failing of nature became somehow her fault and her responsibility. The smith was no better even when he knew she'd had nothing to do with it. He was a large man and often cruel when noone was looking.
She became little better than the village slave. She learned to work the forges in the smithy young, because of her strength, but was not permitted to forge. She would purposely destroy the smith's item if she worked on it just to get back at him in whatever small ways she could. As she grew he learned that hitting her with his fist was no longer of much use and began to beat her with cords, chains, tools.. whatever was nearest at hand. Several times almost to the point of death. Not a single person said a word.
Like all women, as she grew she began to develop in other ways, and while huge, hard-faced and rough looking, she had not quite the beastlike look of the pureblood ogres. One night as she lay close to the forge to keep warm, she heard the smith come in, drunk as was often the case. Instead of contenting himself with kicking the ogress on his way past her, he gripped her by the throat and began to tear at her jerkin in a rough manner. Chay was not naive...she knew what this meant. He growled horrible things at her, calling her names I would not dare to repeat. She might have just beared it until he began to say disgusting things about her beloved mother.
Suddenly a roaring began to fill the ogress' ears. A deafening roaring that made her feel like she had molten steel in her veins instead of simple blood. The room around her began to haze with red and she began to shake. A gutteral growl burst from her lungs and she heaved the smith off her and sent him flying against the back wall of the smithy. Bellowing in a manner she had never done before and feeling something that while amazing feeling, also frightened some part of her, she began to beat the smith with her bare hands. Bones snapped with each blow and blood began to well out of almost every opening. The noise drew the attention of the village and soon there were 6 men all jumping on her and trying to restrain her. Finally they wrapped her arms in a chain and pushed her over, still thrashing and bellowing to the heavens.
The smith lived. Barely.
Thing changed drastically. They feared her now... and for good reason. Not knowing what to do with her, and knowing that she was not of the age of adulthood yet when they would be free of her without incurring the wrath of the ancients, they bound her with boiled leather straps which could be tightened and fastened to bolts in the wall at night. Feeling brave, many nights passed where Chay had to bear unspeakable things at the hands of the men of the village. She was not strong enough yet...or big enough.. and the memories of whatever had overtaken her still lingered and frightened her. She bore it but knew someday... it would not be this way for her.
And time changes many things... as it does with growing ogre women as well. Chay grew strong.... very strong thanks to slaving in the smithy for so many years. She was a grim young woman, and rage boiled in her non-stop and was almost like a tangible aura around her. The villagers feared her greatly... as well they should.
One night the smith, drunk again, came to her and making sure she was tied, he began to ravage her as he had so many times before. But there comes a point for anyone when they cannot endure any longer and something inside of them simply... breaks. So it was that night and this time when the rage overwhelmed her, she did not fight it but surrendered heart and soul to it.
The smith died... gruesomely...as did 4 others before they finally got her restrained.
Now they feared her more than the ancients. It was decided that she would be handed over to the ogres to deal with. So they trussed her up and dragged her to the ogre village and left her there with the the now older Chieftain. The Chieftain knew of Kiriana's pregnancy but had no more wish to raise a half-breed than the humans did and left well enough alone. But now here was the young ogress.... one so angry even he feared to gaze too long into the light gray eyes she inherited from her mother. He was going to turn her out but then decided that perhaps she could be useful as a worker and let her remain.... as little more than chattel.
Chay knew she was not unusually strong or large here in this place...though she was her father's daughter as well and was of his size. Life was little better among the crude rough ogres and many beatings from their massive fists followed for the next 2 years. She knew she had to learn to fight like they did to fight back against them and began to hide and watch the armsmaster teach the young ogres in battle. She stole a sword she found on the ground after one such practice and began to practice on her own in the forests surrounding the tribes village. She let her anger have its venting on the beasts of the valley and soon she was bringing back trophies of the fiercest beasts in the region to the small cave she hid her sword in. She used their hides to fashion crude pelt armours and to use as blankets. She knew if she was found out they would beat her...probably to death...but she simply didn't care.
It was only a matter of time before someone noticed she was going off alone, sometimes overnight. While the whereabouts of chattle was usually not cared about, she was followed out of curiosity by one of the younger warriors. He watched her battle and followed her to her cave before running back and telling the armsmaster of it.
While Chay cleaned her small sword she heard a noise and no sooner had she looked out of the cave then she was grabbed and began to be beaten...heavily. Once again the feeling she had tried unsuccessfully to summon at will, rushed into her body and she became a wild savage creature of fury. She fought back with all the skills she had learned and honed on beasts but they were too many and soon she lay unconscious on the ground.... left as dead.. or dying. Beside her were 3 dead young ogre warriors as well.
When she awoke, the pain was unbearable. She faded in and out of this world, sometimes raging for revenge, other times calling to her mother where ever she was now, sometimes just wishing for the release of death. But she lived... and crawled her way to a nearby stream where she lay, wracked with fever, for 2 days. In time she grew stronger as her body began to heal, the wounds slowly closed and the fever broke. She never returned to the village again. At the age of 15 winters she became a creature of the forests and mountains, consumed with rage, for now she understood how to summon the overwhelming rage and surrender to it. She let it rage in her for days at a time, welcoming its fire and heat and embrace. She battled anything that moved...for food and just for the sheer joy of it. For 3 years she lived alone...battled alone...raged alone.
The tale of her coming to Tranos and the Warrior's Guild, and to her Lord Zir I will not tell right now, but it is in itself quite a tale. Do not ever take for granted your time with her. She strives for control of the fires that yet burn in her each and every day. She is tempered by her service to her beloved Lord Zir, who was the first to gain her trust and her heart, and it is because of the lessons He has taught her that she has learned to control, most of the time, her rages. But there are times when she loses her desire for control and in those times, only her Lord dares approach her.
Yet if you look closely...you will see in her eyes the memories of a gentle voiced mother who cared for a very young half-breed child. As if it had been a prophecy, Kiriana spoke true when she said her daughter had in her a great capacity for gentleness and kindness. But few have ever or will ever see it. Still... in rare unguarded moments... it is there."
He stops and looks up at the young woman and sees 2 tears falling slowly down her cheeks. He pats her hand and smiles at her. She smiles and whispers softly "Thank you Master for telling me. I will guard her history with the gentleness and dignity as she should have been, but wasnt." She gathers her notes and bowing, leaves the old man's office. The archivist stands and begins to rearrange some papers just as he hears an loud crash and a bellow down the hall.
"ARCHIVIST! Where ye be now, Old One?"
Smiling to himself, he goes to meet his brash Mistress...