Mamala’s Lamb

Clemnilshala had seen lambs before, laying cradles or being held and nursed by their mothers. Babies in their laps suckling away while fathers took care of the home as mother recovered. Hinala was bore in the morning during a wind storm that brought down no less than nine trees in the forest, none of which hit the cottage where Clemnilshala stayed. She stayed longer than a few days, waking and dressing and going out to the front stoop to chop firewood side by side where Rewwer would take the chopped wood and sell it to villages in the area. Mamala often warmed her hooves by the stove while Clemnilshala went about preparing for anything that would happen before Hinala came into the world. Day by day Mamala swelled and swelled, she had tremendous amounts of beans and bread.
The morning that Hinala came, was much like any other eynnil birth that Clemnilshala had been witness to. Only there were more markings and less screaming. Mamala was completely silent. Hinala, pure of skin, with two straight facing ears. Ah but Mamala knew what to do, she held her lamb close and showered her with kisses. She cleared Hinala’s nasal passages and held her in her arms and within the hour Mamala was sitting upright nursing her lamb. The baby…why she was normal, she cried as babies do, but in the house of markings, her father’s markings, her mother’s markings, Clemnilshala’s markings, Hinala was the purest thing. Completely blank like new paper.
Rewwer scooped up his wife and his child in his great arms and in the fray pulled Clemnilshala into the embrace of a family that had been built here over the course of two months. He laughed so much that day, his voice boomed and rattled. He thrust himself more into the upkeep of the house, with Clemnilshala at his hocks to help with what needed doing. While Mamala took much deserved rest Clemnilshala would squat before Hinala’s lamb’s cradle. For hours in the night Clemnilshala watched her sleep with peeping snores.
Mamala didn’t like when Clemnilshala slept near the baby, seated on a cushion at the foot of the cradle, leaned forward with her head down resting on her arms and her arms on her knees and her hooves buried in the dirt floor. Wind storms that rustled the trees outside and shook them like well manicured bushes, from the very first night while Hinala slept in the cradle, and Mamala laid watching Clemnilshala while a rafter would creak or a branch would strike upon the pink painted door, bursting the girl awake and sending her to her feet with her fists in the air. She often shouted aloud at the dancing guards, priests, and figures who put her into exile.
This was not a good life for Hinala to see.
Not this young.
But in the months following, Mamala held her tongue, while she was bound to the chair before the stove, then as she was able to get up and aid in the up keep of the house. Clemnilshala bore a brunt of the labor around the outside. Watching over the woods and doing whatever she could to stay just one more day, for seventy three days and counting. Always always just one more day inside of the cottage, helping with the baby.
On day one hundred and seventy-four, a face passed by the window and a thud came from outside. There stood before Mamala was a golden eye’d guard with a hammer passed down for generations. Her Rewwer was away in the towns and she silently blamed Clemnilshala for bringing the golden eye here. Blame that only lasted the moment. Mamala stood by the stove, taking great care as to not look at her baby, she prayed to anything that would hear her that Hinala wouldn’t begin to cry. The Golden Eye took two great steps into the house and rested his hammer on the dirt floor. Pieces of grass burned and withered under its weight and holy magic.
“This place is filled with the stink of depravity.” He mused to himself, one of his cropped ears twitched to the approach of more hooves on the gravel just outside. There she stood with a bucket of water from the stream through the woods.
“Valthran!” Clemnilshala had shouted, calling him by name. He pivoted around, putting his back to Mamala, he took his hammer up into his hands and allowed the chain loop at the end jingle. Thankful that he was not a flail master, Clemnilshala glanced about the home, her eyes fell on three things, the tanning space, Mamala, and Hinala’s cradle. Mamala rushed in the background, wiping her hands on her frocks and stood between Valthran and the tanning space.
“You are outside your ward!” Clemnilshala took his shoulder and threw him to the ground away from the door, she drove her hoof into the crook of his elbow and kicked the handle of his hammer from his reach. He grabbed for her hocks and pulled her to the floor bringing his hand to her neck and bared his teeth. She swung at him, catching him in his golden jaw, the markings on his neck reverberated and glowed brighter telling stories of his valor. With no knife or weapon to speak of she relied on her balled up fist, she pushed herself downward and tore at the leather bindings of his plated armor. Pale and glittering, her reflection in his shoulder caught her attention off guard as her vision darkened at the corners, the leathers used on his armor were not from normal burden beasts, it didn’t tear at the bindings.
Valthran threw her to the side and rolled over on the elbow that she had attempted to break. Clemnilshala coughed and hacked, itching at her neck.
“You dare still use the language of the eynnil you wretch!” He took the chain of his hammer and used it to stand himself up before the stove. Clemnilshala held her arm out and stood between him and Mamala. “You are no eynnil!”
“Leave this place!”
“You were as vicious as any of us, you pose a danger to the true eynnil.” Valthran said, holding his hammer up, he swung backward, knocking over a stack of buckets, spilling water all over the floor and turning it to mud. He dug his hoof in and readied for his attack.
Mamala bleated aloud, grabbing Clemnilshala by the arm and shoving the handle of a fleshing knife into hand. Like a rabbit she dove and threw herself over Hinala’s cradle while Clemnilshala rushed Valthran. Valthran swung his great hammer low while she wove across the floor and made an opening for her torso for a chance to strike him in the head with the two handle knife. Somehow against every odd that ran through her head she connected with his shoulder for the very least. A loud screech of metal on metal woke baby Hinala, her startled wailing taking Valthran’s attention just long enough for Clemnilshala to throw a punch to his jaw and kick him back.
Valthran huffed a second, regaining his balance, her hoof had made a scuff in his glittering armor.
“A lamb?” He questioned the sound, looking to Mamala, who scooped her baby out of the cradle and held her close. Reaching about, grasping at anything on the wall to defend her precious infant. Clemnilshala moved to cast herself closer to Valthran, taunting him in the way she used to, ways that would get him so mad when they played and sparred. It didn’t work. His heart too had become as golden as his eyes and he did not respond to her jesting. His golden pale armor clattered together as he took a swaddled Hinala into his hand and observed how small she was. Clemnilshala tried again, glancing about the room for cushions, to find Mamala, and hold Mamala by the shoulder and quietly assure her that it would be okay. The golden eyes didn’t kill children and she would personally make sure that Hinala would not be leaving this house to be placed in the city.
Valthran set his hammer aside and held the lamb in the palm of his hand.
Tears fell from Mamala’s cheeks as what looked to be a smile came to Valthran’s face.
Clemnilshala wrapped her other arm around Mamala and turned her to face her.
“In just a moment, take Hinala and run. I will finish this once and for all for you. Just take Hinala and run and find Rewwer in the towns.” She said looking into the aged woman’s eyes. “Thank you for letting me stay in your home.”
Mamala nodded. Valthran’s attention piqued as Clemnilshala turned her back to him to assure and reassure Mamala that it would be alright in the end.
“Valthran, if this is what you’ve become, then you can count me pleased that I am no longer your partner.” She bit her lip. “Since that night I’ve only dreamt of dragging you down into the rain with me”
She told this lie, to herself, to Valthran and to Mamala if only to let her go and push off from the place at the base of Hinala’s cradle and drive, shoulder first, into his chest. There was a great pop and a spark of pain as Valthran stumbled back one step, finding more difficulty to balance the lamb in his palm. Mamala made a war cry and tore her swaddled infant from his grip and brought her close to her chest. Valthran shoved Mamala from the back, sending her into the wall where her head hit a stone decoration.
Clemnilshala dove for Valthran’s hammer, picking it up into her hands where it burned and seared. The fist of vengeance had a chain with a fashioned loop at its base that served as a lariat for the unworthy. Valthran scrambled for his hammer as well, shoving Clemnilshala out of the way, to the floor where dust and dirt got into her eye and ears. Mamala panted while her head bled down the side of her face, all the while patting her baby before she burst off through the tanning area.
An opportunity arose! The backs of Valthran’s lower legs were unprotected, and his left had a bandaged wound. Clemnilshala scrabbled across the dirt and the mud and head butted him, on any normal youngling her age she would have delivered a fracture to his bones, but his golden armor, his golden magics, it did not phase him more than a step. He swung his hammer around.
“Filthy wretch,” came his voice in ancient and deep tongue that did not suit his face. The voice of justice, of vengeance, “How far has your star fallen from the sky. I strike so that this fire ignites a new righteousness in your hedonism.”
He spun on his hoof and planted the other on her aching shoulder holding her still. Holy magics created a dim glow and reverberation of the inaudible sounds of the room. An invisible flame was at its head that slowly came down onto her side. It was hotter than a branding iron, the size of a metal frying pan, it burnt through the side of her dress and into her marked and marred skin. She wriggled and writhed but did not offer the satisfaction of letting noise escape her throat, her tail pressed itself into the dirt while it waved about wildly. This pain left a stain unlike her markings. The next thing she knew was that Valthran was standing in the doorway, hoisting the two handed heirloom hammer over his shoulder.
“I was a fool Valthran.” Clemnilshala said, wheezing as air came back to her lungs. “I will have your hide some day, I know you better than anybody and I will make it your downfall.”
“We will see.”

One thought on “Mamala’s Lamb

  1. It really seams that peace is fleeting for Clem, danger seems to strike in the quiet times too. I really like the home life that she gets to experience. Having her witness the joy of new life and the serenity of a humble home, its welcome after the events that she survived only within the last few chapters. It is however bittersweet as we witness the events later on. I would say that I appreciate the way you build towards this, I would have to imagine that despite how discreet they are, Clem is easily familiar to the folk of that region. The fact that certain authorities came knocking on this fateful day, its truly a sign of how much of a presence she is and how word probably spread on her whereabouts.


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