The Lector of Orenia
It was said that the Lector of Orenia was an old man, with his claws quite long, and hunched back, and face that could only be called effeminate and hideous, in equal measure. All of these things are true, except one, he was 23, though he had been old looking for quite some time. He had come upon the place, and stated that he would now rule, and take tribute from the people. Since they were only a few people, and, as with all places, it was an island, this was not entirely out of the ordinary. As with most worlds, they thought they were the only one of the living. Though if you could look out of the corner of your eye, you could see the Shadowlands. But most people didn't want to see them, and so didn't, unless they must.
Everyone assumed that he, the Lector that is, was indeed old, and what's more evil and wise in equal measure. Since that was nothing special, they would wait for how to pay their taxes, which was the ordinary way of four times a year, and hope that nothing else would be required. Since the Lector was not particularly evil, nor in fact exceedingly wise, there was nothing more to be demanded of the ordinary people. The ordinary people thought that he would give occasional announcement. But this was also not true. He would have tribute, which was mostly going to repair the three bridges that were desperately under-prepared, and the two boats which were leaking, and there would be only enough to feed himself, and his bird.
Realize, that he didn't like the bird, not at all. But every time that he would grasp it, it would be just out of reach. That was not good enough, and just meant with extreme effort, he resisted the temptation. The bird would not only be just out of reach, it was coming enough to eat whenever he was not looking. So Lector fed him enough, so that the bird would not consume even more. Also The Lector was short, as well as scabby and gruff, what he was, however, was cunning and cruel, and disreputable. Actually, he didn't like any of these traits, and in fact he used them for good, just a wicked kind of good, that would not be absolved by any of more refined characters. While the bird was in the object of these attentions, most other people who were his guests were.
While it may seem that he was on the ground, and firmly so, he would wish otherwise, though his feet never left the the nape of the earth. He groaned for roaming over the sea, for cruising over the wind, to feel that he was floating. Even though he did not expect it to happen.
So with the bird just out of reach, and the salty wind playing at his hair, he was not very much like what the people thought he was. Which was just fine with him, because there were many creatures that would, if they knew what he was really like, finishing off. Which is why he would not set down, but he would look as if he did.
As was said, most of the land was in the form of islands.
Most of them atolls which could be in the palm of the hand. This one was no exception. It was down in the bottom left hand corner as you look at the map. Further to the west and south there were a trio of larger islands, which housed what were called ghouls, but in fact were bats that were 8 feet long, and very ravenous, drinking only the blood of large mammals, especially whales and humans. Needless to say, no one went there to find out that they were actually bats, as opposed to ghouls.
In the core, there were about 100, or so, main islands. From the South, the people were musk green, and in the center they were blue. From the North they were gray and white. There was no reason for people to be beige, and they were not on these islands. It wasn't a blue as in the sense of wild eyed color, mind you. It was a muted blue, as it was a muted green. These were not birds which reveled in color, these were mammals, and like all mammals, they tended to be subdued, even quiet, though there were exceptions.
As said, he was just about to sneak out when a ship came in to the harbor. Not that there were many huts in the harbor, probably only 200 or so, but that suited the Lector of Orenia fine. The ship was of three sails, though very tiny, think of it as cozy, if you will. The Lector was not quite ready to leave, so he summoned all is courage, and gritted his teeth, to meet whoever came. It could not be good news, but it might be an ask for offering, which would not be so bad, because, as said, he was not in the mood for tribute, per se.
“What do you think of that, bird?” He launched over his shoulder.
The bird only squawk, though it did so just out of reach. Staring down as he did the so. Lector of Orenia did not notice this, because that was the birds normal maneuver, and he was not going to give it any head.
He watched as the the mast bob up and down, and with his eyeglass, he counted at least five figures pointing in the general direction. This could be worse than he expected, because there were several more men than he would have wished for. He pocket the spyglass, and began to get down on his feet. Remember he was slow, so he was deliberate in his motions. In fact, he was so slow as to almost be down near the front of town, as the boat sailed in.
On the face was a blue-gray figure, he was tall, though of only medium build in height. He was talking to a mixed bag of gray, green, and blue figures. Which meant to the The Lector that they were from various different places, and that meant that they were, probably, going to want tribute beyond what could be born. This was not good, if true.
The ship came ashore, and tilted a little bit to the side. The man got off first, with three or four men right behind him, but just a little bit. They were trying to say that they were almost as good, but not quite. There spears were also not as powerful as the sword that the blue-gray man wore. Spears were definitely a weapon which was not as good, especially if they were flint, as opposed to bronze, let alone iron. Ah iron is not as good as bronze, but it is much tougher. Remember this, because you who read many fantasy novels will know that iron is on some worlds tougher than bronze, and on some worlds not as good. On this world, bronze is better, but iron is tougher to dismantle. In short, you want bronze if it's one fight that you are after, but iron is there for the long count.
The blue-gray man eye the Lector cautiously, and did not seem to recognize him. This was good for the lector, because, as we know, the had many secrets, which of course he did not want to reveal to a strange man. Then the bluegray man introduced himself. “ I am I Adab, the Lord of the people who flock to my banner.” In other words, what you see is all there is, and the Lector knew this to be true. In short, the Lector was not impressed, and you shouldn't be either. Adab was garbed in a single unit, with a pair of shoes, no socks. And only a few trinkets, which was more than his men got. Even had a few more trinkets that that.
In truth, while Adab was larger than his cohorts, he was the only one who had a sword, and, other than himself, the weapons that the group of, let's call them what they are, barbarians, were flint. Not iron, not bronze, not even just copper. Only flint, and not high quality link at that. In fact I will bet you can't even tell the difference, because you are so far beyond, that you can not distinguish good flint, from bad flint. Your great grand parents knew the difference, because they had flint for exactly one purpose, the lighting of fire. But even that was dying, and soon it would be dead.
If you have known Neolithic buildings, out of say Britain, you would be amazed at how good it is. Say Grimes Graves, in South Eastern England. There are other ditches all around the world. What is important is the solar alignment, daybreak and a dayset. And it is before Stonehenge, they had surgery even back when they only had flint tools, with no iron or copper anywhere to be found. It marked a shift from the Mesolithic, to the Neolithic. That is 7000 years ago. This was important, because the common folk knew that there was something about copper and iron, but they didn't know what it was. It was magic as our as they were concerned, and they went to a medicine man, of which Adab, and The Lector, were examples.
Adab realized that he was not getting great response, that The Lector knew the secret. Thus The Lector, and yes, even the bird were in the know about iron and copper. So he tried to boost himself up, and make him self look taller. But clearly that did not work. He thought this was because of his stature, but really it was because The Lector was diminishing Adab's height. Only by a little bit, but enough, so that Adab was only barely taller than The Lector. But Adab not only didn't recognize, but would continue not to recognize for a long time, the power of The Lector .
What that meant was that Adab grew smaller, and his demands grew smaller, and his demeanor grew, how does one say it, collegiate, as if he and The Lector were friends, even though they don't know each other. Instead of charging forward and demanding, he opened his hands and said: “We come in peace.” now he did anyway, that doesn't mean that he would not have preferred war, it he could get it. But that was suddenly not an option.
“I'm glad you made that decision. I would hate to have to do something, unpleasant, untoward.” “Toward” had a hissing sound that echoed through the copse, which was hidden by the sands from everything else. It was to be hidden from the common people, and that included the other men from the ship. It was obvious they were not meant to know the secrets, another little fib that they were somehow in the know. They weren't, they were carried around by Adab, but in no other way were important. They were common people, dressed up a bit. But the bird knew, and that is surprising.
“Thus a proposal,” Adab began, “Over to the northwest, approximately 4 weeks, there is a tribe of people who are different from you and I.” Actually, it was “ you and me”, but grammar wasn't his strong point.
“And what difference is that. Color? Texture? Shape? What difference would I make out, between you and the others?”
“You have a personal totem, as to I. As does every man within living reach. But they worship the twin Gods which have no name.” Adab expected horror on The Lectors face. Instead he saw amusement, which was rapidly made into a gesture, which was supposed to be horror, but it wasn't to be believed. “You don't believe me? It's true I tell you, they worship God's, which is utterly irrational.”
At this point the bird took flight a little ways, perhaps 15 feet or so, and came down atop The Lector back, and begin to coup. It was at peace, because it knew that it this was the best that could be offered, then The Lector could dismiss them. Almost no close, what seemed like one broadsword, and most of the other ones had flint, not iron nor copper. You or I would dismiss them. But that was not the plan that was chosen.
“I see you are upset about, I assure you, I am too. What do you propose. I'm sure that you have thought that it for more deeply than I.” There was a lisp running through every word and syllable, and he could have dropped one more “I”, there was more than enough to go around.