Happy Labor Day!

Let’s celebrate by sharing some discarded scraps that I labored over because I’m terrible at consistently writing anything.

This comes from some more fanfiction off this character my friend created.

Jatara Sen remembered the stories her grandmother would tell of her youth, back Tsungora. About the great Kobabolo beasts, which children – and some adults – would pelt with rocks, or poke with sticks, and sometimes even ride. These massive creatures never heeded the provocation, not because they were docile or kind, but simply because humans were so powerless against them that they were inconsequential. Just as she would not draw her blade against an insect, why would they bother with something so small? Jatara felt the same smallness that her grandmother must have felt standing next to a beast larger than her home. But it was a different sort of beast Jatara faced. This one was shaped as a woman, leaning casually, almost insolently, against the far wall of the First Archivist’s bare office. Although small in stature – almost a full head shorter than Jatara herself, she estimated – there emanated an air of…of danger. Death.

“Put the sword away, Jatara. I doubt you would be able to hurt her anyway.”

Jatara blinked at the First’s words. She hadn’t realized she had drawn her blade. Reluctantly, she sheathed it.

“What is going on, Moira? Who is that…that…” she couldn’t quite bring herself to say thing, but she couldn’t quite manage person either.

 The First looked haggard. An old woman, she seemed to have aged another 20 years since Jatara saw her this morning. “Do you know the story of the Vigol’Icath, commander?”

“The Icathi Witch? Sure, my grammum would tell me stories of her to scare me and my brothers into bed. Said if we were bad she’d come and feed us to her demons.”

“What utter foolishness. What use would I have for children? Their physiology is too different from adults, there would be nothing to learn from corrupting them.” The creature’s voice was low, almost sultry, but the end of each word was clipped sharply, and there was an odd cadence to her speech. She seemed to place stress on odd interval. Behind it all there was almost a faint metal sound to it, like a sword being dragged over stone. “Although, their small frame and nimble fingers would lend themselves nicely to reconnaissance and sabotage. Perhaps I spoke too soon…” she mused, flashing Jetara a nasty grin. Her teeth came down into sharp fangs.

This time, Jetara was fully aware when she drew her sword.

“The witch? She’s real? Gods Moira, what have you brought upon us?”

“What is necessary,” Moira snapped. “The Icathi have returned, commander. We need her now as we needed her then.”

“Yes,” the witch drawled. “The demons return, and humanity comes running back to me, the one they called abomination and locked away. Am I to save you once more?” She stepped forward, one hand delicately tracing the outline of the First’s jaw and neck, hovering mere inches from the skin.

“Enough, witch. You do not frighten me.” The tremor in her voice was barely noticeable. “As long as I hold the key you cannot touch me.”

“Such arrogance!” Her voice was a hammer striking hot steel. “The same arrogance your order had when they struck my name and my achievements from history, removed my sacrifices and my legacy. No, my dear Archivist, I do frighten you.” She grabbed the old woman’s chin between her index and her thumb, forcing her to look up. The smell of burning flesh filled the room. “And no one tells me what I can or cannot touch.”

Jetara’s arms vibrated as her sword bounced off of the witch’s gray skin. It had been like striking stone. With a snarl, the witch let go of the First and turned to face her. Jetara took a step back. None of her training, none of the battles she had fought, nothing prepared her for the fury she saw in those red eyes.

“Ijahn Vel’Jatta you will release my Commander of the Watch and listen to what I have to say or I swear by the gods you have abandoned that I will re-bind you and take your freedom with me to the grave!” Moira’s voice was a thundercrack through the chaos, filled with the fire of a woman 20 years her junior. She had risen to her feet, one hand grasping the large iron key hanging from her neck, the other planted firmly on the desk in front of her. Although her jaw had already begun to purple with bruises, she showed no sign of pain as she glared at the witch.

The witch—Ijhan—slowly stepped back from Jetara. “I am grateful to see at least someone in this cursed land still knows my name. For that, I will make your death quick.”

“The records said nothing about what a fool child the great and mighty Ijahn was,” the First sneered. “So much bluster, phaw, I could heat my chambers all winter with the hot air coming from your lips! Your little stunt and bold words might impress some of the lesser learned but you know just as well as I that if the keybearer dies those bracers would burn your twice-cursed hands clean off! Heh, it t’would be a funny sight to see you try to complete your research with no hands!”

Ijahn narrowed her eyes, but said nothing.

“And you!” Moira snarled, turning on Jetara. “What did I say? I said to put your blasted sword away! I said you would not be able to hurt her! You are my Commander of the Eternal Watch, and I need a level head from you and for you to not go and get yourself killed with foolishness!”

“I…she was attacking…” Jetara’s voice wilted under the First’s withering glare.

She sat down abruptly, the energy draining from her face. She reached into her pouch and grabbed another wad of poppy to chew as she massaged her temple with the other hand. “I am too old and too tired to be dealing with this. Icathi! Gods help us all…”

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