327 The Bruised, Battered, Black & Blue II
It was silent for a moment as Rima's confession hung between them, then Tigin sighed, turning away from her to look out over the camp, "That's not entirely true".
"What isn't?" asked Rima.
"Him not trying to get you back…" Tigin admitted, "He tried to get you back from Yashi when you were taken…I don't know exactly what happened, he's never talked about it. But when Sevis and I found him…he didn't talk for hours. I'd never seen him look so terrified before. I guess…I guess that because I was so worried about you his actions appeared selfish and cowardly. But now, after watching him today, I don't think he was either of those things. It never really occurred to me that he, who had before appeared untouchable, could be afraid of something".
"Aegin, afraid?" Rima remarked. She frowned when she tried to recall a moment where she had seen him act that way, but came up blank, "I've never seen him fear something".
"He does though," said Tigin, "When he thought he was going to lose us today". Rima turned to look at Tigin, realised he was right, "I think that was what changed for him last night. What made him more powerful. He realised that even with all his power, he could only go so far alone".
"So, this is where you two were," Sevis said as he climbed the dune and came to sit beside Rima, "Trying to escape your new responsibilities, Chieftain?"
Rima huffed, "I'm not a chieftain".
"Could have fooled me," Sevis grinned. Rima blushed in the fading light of the day, hiding her face behind her folded arms as she stared out over the camp.
"I'm just answering questions," Rima said, "Giving my opinion. Like Mira said I should".
"Sounds like a Chieftain taking advice from an Elder if you ask me," Sevis replied.
Rima sighed, "I can't be a Chieftain, I'm only half a Tribesman to begin with, no matter what bloodline that half might come from".
"I don't know, I think you and Tigin have done a fair job over the past year of proving that a Tribesman does not have to be born in the Hava Rastellan to two Tribesman parents in order to be a Tribesman themselves," said Sevis, "You two found your way back here somehow, and I don't think you've done too badly here since. The Hava Rastellan is certainly not a place for the faint of heart".
"You sure it's not because of some traditional initiation?" Tigin huffed, "Survive your first psychotic Djinn and you can stay as long as you like?"
"Hopefully, Yashi will be the only psychotic Djinn any of us ever encounter," Sevis admitted, "Djinn aren't all that common to begin with, and usually their masters are more…well, they're not Gryffyn Blacksand".
"So, it was just bad timing?" asked Rima with a raised eyebrow, "I'll be sure to consult the gods next time I want to take a trip somewhere then. Better safe than sorry".
"I'm not sure the gods will answer," said Sevis, "They haven't in a long time".
"Then how do we know there are gods at all?" asked Tigin.
"The stories tell us so, so we must believe them," Sevis replied, "Because none of us have the power to truly know for sure".
Rima had to agree with that. Even Yashi, despite his power, never seemed interested in gods. Or maybe that was why he wasn't interested. She found herself wanting to ask, but such a thing was futile now.
The dust kicked up beside them and a wind past over them, "Oh good, you're all in one spot".
Rima, Tigin and Sevis all looked up to see Aegin as he arrived to join them. He was wearing different clothes, appearing like he hadn't been in a life or death battle that morning. Rima was jealous. She wanted new clothes and bath after spending the day hiking in the desert.
"Where have you been?" she grumbled.
Aegin fished out a series of small scrolls from inside his coat, "I took a few detours. Figure it would be good to let everyone know that the Djinn and Gryffyn were no longer a problem. Also told them about the displaced tribes of Black Sand and Blue Suns. Most of them were pretty shocked Blue Suns still existed. Still, seeing the number of them, they'll have to split up amongst the other Tribes to be sustained for the immediate future. Keeping them all together will be difficult unless they agree to do so under a new Tribal Leader. Then the other Tribes will be willing to negotiate Trade to help them while the recover and rebuild. Though that did take some convincing seeing as they'll without a doubt be the largest Tribe in the Northern Hava Rastellan".
Rima took the scrolls in surprise as she listened to Aegin, "You…you did all this negotiating in a day?"
Aegin shrugged, "Well after a I was clean and fed, this seemed to be a better use of my time than anything else".
Rima looked at the number of scrolls. At least twenty. That meant somewhere around eight hundred per group if they were to split up. Small for this Tribe, but no doubt a formidable number for the other, much smaller Tribes around them. But this Tribe didn't have a leader. As much as they turned to Rima, she did not want this.
"I know what you're thinking," Sevis said.
Rima turned to him, "Don't try to convince me".
"You should do it, but agree only on the condition that once they get themselves back to working order, that they choose someone else," said Sevis.
"I…" Rima looked down at the large camp in the valley, "Will they even agree to that?"
"You only need to ask them".
"…so those are the options that are before us," said Rima to the gathered Elders, "I realise that we had no right to negotiate for you, but-"
"You have every right, Rima," said Mira, "As did your companions. You all contributed more to ridding us of Gryffyn Blacksand and his Djinn than anyone else".
"More importantly, when you spent your time among us, you made no distinction between our groups. You treated us equally, both Blue Suns and Black Sands," Draven, one of the warrior elders from Black Sands stated, "That left a good impression in all of us. I don't believe there would be any protest if you were to step forward as out Chieftain. Especially after what you have done today".
"I did nothing but answer questions," said Rima, "And in the streets, I only treated people as they should be treated".
"If you continue making excuses," Aegin sighed, "They'll think you don't like them".
Rima turned to glare at the Vampire, who only grinned in amusement in return. She sighed, turning to the Elders once more, "This isn't a life I want for myself. I…if I'm entirely honest, I don't quite know what life I want for myself. But I do know that even knowing my mother was of the Blue Suns has done little for me to feel connected with the Tribe. And the Black Sands, I mean no offence but your Tribe to me was a prison more than anything else. I don't want to lead, but I certainly will not lead two vastly different Tribes with such a bloody past. But a new Tribe, a Tribe formed with the hope of two peoples to start anew. That is a Tribe that I would be proud to be a part of".
The Elders looked to one another, then Mira stepped forward, "Then, if it would mean that you agree to be Chieftain, we would name this new Tribe Bluesand for our ancestors, and bestow upon you and your descendants the Tribal name".
Rima Bluesand. Rima could not help but feel shocked. Perhaps Yashi was not all that psychotic at all. And perhaps, even with all his power, all he could do was accelerated a possibility of someone's future. They were not wishes so much as goals that, should an individual work hard enough and long enough, would be achieved anyway.
It would explain his inability to bring back the dead.
Rima looked over at Sevis and Tigin, then at Aegin before she turned to the Elder, "I am honoured by your choice, and will do my best to not let you down, but if there comes a time in the future where I wish to leave the Tribe to somebody who is not my descendant, I hope you would agree to let me, and advise me in the interim".
"Of course, Chieftain," Mira smiled, bowing her head respectfully.