“God damn it” I muttered to myself as I wrapped my hands in filthy cloth that would infect any wounds I might get “Martialla should be doing this shit, but noooooo she had to fly away like . . . like . . . well like something.”
“Who’s Marshalla?” asked Dirt-tooth, so called not because of his absolutely filthy teeth but because of his penchant for eating the sugary dirt around blood-grass just like Paul taught Martialla to do before he got himself killed.
“She’s the one who should be doing this shit, I just said that!” I gestured at my waiting opponent with my so-called knife. Said knife had no handle which is why I was trying to wrap my hands, not because I had any designs on punching anyone.
“You have someone to fight for you?” asked Greasegut, so called on account of he has some kind of weeping sores on his stomach that cover his midsection with greasy slime that stinks like cat piss.
“Of course I have someone to fight my battles for me!” I threw up my non-knife hand irritably “Why the fuck would I want to fight my own battles? That’s asinine.”
“Who’s Ass Nine?” frowned GG.
DT had a look of awe on his face “Whoa, so if she fights for you does that mean that this Marsh woman is even bigger than you are? How can that be possible, you’re HUGE, like taller than a mountain.”
I gave him the eye “Okay, rude.” I turned back to peer at my shaggy-robed opponent who was limbering up while still managed to remain completely enrobed “I guess I am a foot taller than that guy. Or gal.” I squinted harder “Is that a man or a woman? I guess I’ll find out when they throw that robe off, looks like they’re naked under there.”
“It’s a woman” DT was confident in this assertion.
“How can you tell?”
“I can smell her pit.”
I gagged slightly “Jesus Christ, pit, is that what you call it? Gross. Just gross.”
He gave his buddy a wounded look “Who’s Jesus?”
GG was deep in thought “Why does Marshy fight for you?”
“Why wouldn’t she?” I scowled at him “I’m so charismatic and pretty everyone wants to do things for me.”
“You are?” and “They do?” were their simultaneous responses.
Ignoring them I continued “Plus Martialla is my oldest and dearest friend. And she’s my employee as well, I pay her, so that helps motivate her flat non-ass having ass. Well, I used to pay her when money existed, I don’t know. Maybe if there’s ever money again I’ll start paying her again, but I’m not going to cover her back wages I tell you that. I can’t be held accountable for apocalypses and acts of god and so forth, I draw the line at that!” I gave them a hard look “Are you saying that you don’t think I’m pretty as a picture? I’m the only woman around here who isn’t covered with shit and rashes.”
“You aren’t?” I didn’t catch which one of them said that.
I waved my knife at them both without really meaning to “Well I wasn’t before I landed in this shitty rash-hole! Whose God damn idea was this anyway?”
“Didn’t you say to do it?” pretty sure that was Greasegut.
“What I said if for you to shut the hell up!”
“Can you understand anything this pit licker is saying?” he ‘whispered’ to this friend.
DT shook his head “I get like every third word.”
GG snickered “Learn how to talk giant woman.”
DT giggled back at him and I seriously considered stabbing them both. Has that ever happened in a duel before? One of the duelers murders their second before the thing even starts? I’m making history all over the place.
Technically I did suggest it. Heading north along the river we came upon a large body of the Furry Robe people and their plains dune buggies fleeing from the Invincible attack on their ancestorial homes like filthy cowards. I was granted an audience with their stupid leaders and explained to them that I was forging a coalition of the willing to fight back against the aggression of Invincible and they should join up instead of running away like stupid ugly putrid losers.
The council of plains people expressed some interest in that plan but they said that they don’t deal with outsiders. I counter with the fact that I had seen their kind trading with Junktown and with the River Kingdoms, not to mention Antolpe and they rebutted by saying that those weren’t “their people” those were renegades and outcasts with no honor.
I walked them through the honor of being massacred by the Invincible because there was going to be nowhere to run away to, that the Invincible would just keep coming to everyone everywhere all at once. The only option, honorable or not, is to fight, and the best way to fight that I knew was with a bunch of other people on your side so hopefully they would get killed instead of you.
The council admitted that there was a good deal of merit to this plan and it is probably the right move, but their hands were tied because they can’t listen to me because I’m an outsider. I mean what could they do? Not blindly and stupidly follow their dumb traditions? Resisting the urge to spit directly in their faces, which for all I know isn’t even an insult in the future, I asked them kindly if I could join their stupid tribe so I wouldn’t be an outsider anymore and they could listen to me.
“Sure” they said surprisingly, no person is afforded the benefits of adulthood or respect until they complete the rite of passage, nor considered a member of any tribe until this is complete. All who wish to be of the tribe must complete a dangerous test to prove they have the honor, wisdom, and courage befitting their stupid culture. First a ritemaster would be appointed, then after long consideration and a getting to know you period the ritesmaster would send me off into the world with a specific challenge designed for me. If successful, I would be branded as full-fledged person.
“And how long does all this take?”
“The rite is a long and dangerous one, some have labored for months, even years . . .” droned the wizened hair-pile I was talking to.”
“Is there like an expedited rite of passage that I can take advantage of? Can’t I just fight your warchief or something like that?”
So yeah, I did suggest it. Technically.
I really enjoy the title for this one while simultaneously I feel ancient.
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