300 A Sonata of Sand Devils
*Eldovian Era 1713, 2nd day of the 4th month*
Whilst the original intention of staying with the Red Eyed Snake Tribe was to rest and recuperate for a few days, two weeks went by with ease. Tigin and Rima found themselves naturally integrating into the Tribe's way of life. Helping where they could and learning more about the Tribal side of them.
Aegin was not exactly idle either. Thanks to the Tribe's understanding of his path, he spent the days sleeping, and the nights he spent either talking with Cara or patrolling the territory. Often both. Where the Tribe had originally been somewhat hesitant in the new arrivals even if their demeanours were friendly, now the group found that there were fewer and fewer times when their differences were brought to light.
The dynamics of the Tribe were quite simple to understand once you'd lived among the tribe for long enough. The Chieftain Family were life Royalty, the next leader always chosen from the children of the previous one. More often than not they were male, but occasionally there were female leaders that proved to be just as adept if not more than their male counterparts. The Chieftain, in addition to his wife, had two advisors. One for the Warriors, and one for the Agriculture of the Village. The Elders comprised of both previous chieftains and previous advisors, as well as the spiritual leader of the village. It was also common for Tribe members that contributed a significant amount to the Village to be elected by the Tribe to sit on the Elder's Council.
The Elders were, by nature, far more cautious and closed-minded than the Chieftain. All except Cara, the Spiritual Leader, who by all rights seemed to live life to the fullest no matter her age or health status. It caused quite a bit of stress in the lives of her daughters, but they never dared to speak to Aegin about his near nightly visits to speak with her.
Of course, Aegin believed that that was mostly because he did not go to Cara for any kind of Spiritual need. By the very nature if their belief, Aegin was more spiritually connected that anyone in the village thanks to his status on one of the paths of Chaos. What he went to Cara for was knowledge. The more he could learn about Chaos, perhaps the more he could come to understand what being on this path meant.
He found out fairly quickly though that Cara's knowledge was limited, and knowing more about other paths was not helping his own progress. So, they instead spent the time drinking the spiced blood and debating about what certain parts of their knowledge of Chaos meant.
If someone had told Aegin a year ago that he'd be here, content to debate about the intricate and delicate balances of the world with a seventy-year-old woman, he would have probably scoffed in amusement.
"Do you think they watch us?" asked Aegin from where he lay looking up at the stars.
"Hmm?" Cara hummed in question from her seat on the opposite side of the entrance to her Bein, the Tribal word for their homes.
"The Gods," said Aegin, "Do you think they watch us?"
"Our world is as much the core of their power and existence as it ours," said Cara, "I would imagine that they have little choice but to know us and watch us".
Aegin scrunched his nose, unsure how he felt about that, "That's…unsettling".
"They are gods. Just as you're different from humans, they are different from you," said Cara, "There would no doubt come a point when the amount of power you have makes you somewhat indifferent or arrogant enough to surpass such mundane feelings like embarrassment or humiliation".
Cara tilted her head in thought, "Indeed, or guilt".
Aegin's mind could not help but wonder to that conversation he had had so long ago with the Other when he had been filled with anger at his new state.
'I realise that this change is sudden, and you clearly resent me for it, but I am not going to apologise. Wherever your path leads you Aegin, you should never have to apologise for what or who you are and the selfish decisions you make because of it'.
"Do you think Gods ever apologise?" asked Aegin as he turned to look at Cara.
Cara shook her head, "No, if they are incapable of guilt, then they are incapable of apologising".
"If the paths lead to divinity, then there is a certain point in time when they become gods right? When they are incapable of apologising as well," Aegin frowned.
Cara turned to the frowning Aegin and gave a small smile, "I think you are confusing incapability with refusal".
Aegin turned looked at her, "I-"
"From what you have told me, your Sire refused to apologise for bringing you onto his path. I cannot say for certain his reasons, but I guarantee they were not made without him preparing to bare the weight of the consequences. His refusal to apologise was indication of him not only baring those consequences, but determining the path to step beyond them. That is not the mindset of a God, it is the mindset of someone truly powerful and sure of his path," said Cara.
Aegin huffed in annoyance. The more he spoke with Cara, the more condemned he felt for being angry at the Other. Still, being told was not enough to make that anger dissipate.
"I'm going to look for Sevis so I can hopefully hit something," said Aegin as he stood up.
Cara chuckled, "Go ahead, kid. I should turn in soon anyway".
Aegin did not wait for her to speak any more.
Sevis, accompanied by Jahelo and Kaedan as usual, rode on horseback through the dark desert night. Up ahead were the dunes that marked the North-Western Border of their territory, the hard packed and often cracked land that their horses' hooves clopped on were just as incapable of supporting any sustainable life. There were a few trees here and there, though every day was a struggle for them to live.
"It sure cooled down fast tonight," Jahelo commented, "Usually by this time of year the heat draws up from the earth long into the night".
He wasn't wrong. It was unusually cold despite how hot the day had been.
"I should've brought my furs," Kaedan complained as he rubbed his arms.
"Don't be such a whiner," Jahelo scoffed.
Sevis smirked back at the two of them as they began to argue.
"You're the one that mentioned the cold-"
A long growling yowl echoed over the dunes towards then, and the horses paused, shifting and snorting with nervousness.
"What was that?" asked Kaedan.
"It's gotta be the wind," Jahelo said.
"The wind whistles," said Sevis, "It doesn't sound like that".
The three of them paused in silence for a moment, waiting for something to appear on the dunes by the moonlight.
They did not have to wait long. At first, it really did look like the wind. Like the window had kicked up the loose sand and was spinning it together into one clump, but the eyes��they were like little blue stars, but far more menacing.
It wasn't alone either, another appeared beside it, then another as they lined up at the top of the dune on the border of the territory.
"Sand Devils," Jahelo whispered.
Sevis clenched his teeth in fear, pulling on the reins of his horse, "Go!"
The growling yowls and vicious barks chased them across the dry plain.