Being a man. Being a woman. A web serial

Tag: Otmakla

Chapter 14

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‘You attacked my allies’ household, brought mercenaries with you to make sure you’d win, killed Romjigan, killed most of his men – for many of which I will demand compensation, as they were my relatives through marriage – took so much of their supplies that they’ll have trouble surviving the winter, and you have the nerve to come and ask me for men to help you control the mercenaries you used? The only reason I don’t take the blood price from your head here and now, Stoyanjid, is your farfetched claim that your attack was in self defense, a claim I’m entertaining only because you are my relative through your mother. Go away! Come summer we will discuss how you can repay us. I doubt you will have a household after you finish paying’.

Jetmir’s words echoed in her mind as she contemplated her next move. It was five weeks since the battle, three weeks since her visit to the Diarjid, where she failed miserably in recruiting their help. Winter had started in earnest – it had snowed more than once – and although the house was ready she was almost certain something was brewing among the mercenaries. There was nothing she could do other than try and set as many plans to counter whatever stupid move those hotheads would try. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 11

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Romial was crying when Otmakla entered the room in a quick and economical motion. Great sobs could be heard from under the sheets. Otmakla approached and sat on the edge of the bed, her thigh touching Romial’s back. He was curled up on the bed, knees held by his arms to his chest.

When she touched him his voice choked, he coughed and another sob escaped him, replaced by whimpers, as he tried to stifle his crying.

‘You will have to come out of the room tomorrow’, she said.

She decided this would be the best course of action. He was cooped up in the tiny room she gave him for the last week, barely eating, barely answering questions. When he did speak he talked about not wanting to be seen, about being a traitor, about being disfigured. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 10

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Otmakla felt numb. She was wide awake, aggressive and quick-moving in the night scenery, but she felt detached. Her house was crumbling around her. Her family. It was of no consolation that so was the Romjid house. She couldn’t stop the thought that she’s destroying both her and Romial’s families in one stroke. It was too horrifying to contemplate deeply.

She went on. There was no plan, no way to guide her people or change their course after the ambush. She walked slowly towards the Romjid household. Around her people killed and died. A man came at her, moving in a defensive stance, holding a long knife. He looked inexperienced. She walked on, then suddenly rolled forward in angle, slightly distancing herself from the Romjid man, picking up a long fallen branch and hitting his hand in a smooth motion as she rose. He lost grip of his knife. She closed the distance, and he raised his hands to protect his chest and face. She stabbed him in the stomach and retreated quickly, continuing her walk as he fell to the ground crying. The stomach wound almost guaranteed a slow death. She preferred the neck, but couldn’t take the chance. He was crying like a young boy. He probably was her own age. Maybe Preki cried that way when the Romjid killed him. She wanted to cry herself, but felt so far from it all, in a numb shell. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 9

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It had just turned dark. Otmakla stood behind the ridge that overlooked the Romjid household. Her plan was quite simple – a few men will attack from below, from the Herian valley, shooting burning arrows soaked with oil at the roof. Hopefully a counter attack would be mounted against them. Hopefully something will actually catch fire. Hopefully Romjigan will look at an attack from the valley as a proof of their stupidity, and not as a trick.

She planed to attack with most of her force, 37 men, from the woods on the ridge above the household. It wasn’t a brilliant plan – attack as fast as you can, kill or maim as many men as possible. Loot depending on the situation. She knew the mercenaries will loot for sure. It was the greater compensation for them, besides being fed for a few weeks.

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Chapter 8

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It was three weeks since his last meeting with Otmakla. On their set meetings he couldn’t find a way to go alone to the cot. They had a mark that he would remove only if it was safe for them to meet. Now he just left it. He couldn’t go alone without being noticed.

THat afternoon Romjigan and Timotei gathered the men for a talk in the Romjid hall. Romial quickly understood he had to hide his emotion during it. Romjigan and Timotei were standing in the middle. Timotei worked up the crowd and Romjigan explained things carefully.

‘Soon enough life in the mountains will become impossible. We won’t have enough supplies to survive this winter, not while fending off all these refugees!’ Timotei howled. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 7

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Romial waited outside the cot’s door in the darkness. It was already quite chilly with the beginning of winter and he was wearing a heavy wool coat. He had a bow near him, and a halberd leaning on the wall next to him. he didn’t go out without them anymore. It actually became harder to go alone to their meetings without raising suspicion with all the trouble around.

When Otmakla arrived he rose towards her and they hugged as they always did. This time she clung to him, not letting go.

‘He’s gone’ she said.

He just held her for a long while. Would he be like this if Romjigan died? Romjigan wasn’t someone you felt close to. He was a force of nature. A constant like the sun or winter. Probably not.

She suddenly moved her head from his shoulder and kissed him on the lips. It wasn’t a soft kiss – she pressed her closed lips strongly to his. He wanted this, but he wasn’t sure this was how he wanted it. They spoke about romance in their meetings from time to time, debating whether that was what they had. They also talked about physical contact. Some of the talk had been extremely intimate, like the time they discussed the way they masturbated. His face became hot just thinking of that. But it was all theoretical. The most they ever did was hug. She wasn’t sure she wanted more. He wasn’t sure this was the time to change things.
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Chapter 6

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Bujare sat by her husband’s bed. He was dying. He was dying for the last year and a half, but death seemed to be around the corner now. She didn’t want to leave his side.

She looked at Gjergj’s face. She remembered his bright young face when they first met. He had sharp and witty eyes and a smiling mouth under his thick mustachio. And those features stayed with him as he grew old. The wit and the generous spirit. Stayed, at least until their daughter Rozafati was murdered. He was already sick before that, but her death made many of his defenses crumble.

Now he lay, hardly breathing, looking like a child in the blankets – he shrunk so much from the sickness. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 5

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Romial stared at the strange people under him, trying to understand who they are.

They were eating apples from the orchards. The apples were unripe, but apparently these people were hungry enough to disregard that.

Perhaps they were bandits. Chirkid bandits made their way to the mountains from time to time to find refuge. But these men didn’t look Chirkid.

He pointed back the way he and Vasil came and they crawled in that direction silently, putting some distance between them and the strangers.

When he felt they went far enough to minimize the risk of being heard Romial whispered ‘we must warn my father. I don’t know what they’re doing here but even as weak as they look, with armor and swords they can cause serious trouble’. Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 4

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There were twenty men in the hall that evening. Only a few of the family men were missing. Both her brothers were there, as was Taulant and his two sons, Mikal and Ilir. It was as good an opportunity as she’d get.

She knew that her cousins Fitore and Gazmend, who were her hunting buddies when she was a girl, will stand with her, and they were both here. She talked with both and they assured her they will give her their support. They weren’t as important as her brothers, but at least she won’t stand alone.

She stood at the entrance looking around, then, stepping slowly, she approached the table where her father’s brothers, Ditmer and Taulant sat with Mikal.

‘Mikal!’ she boomed, ‘how are you doing?’

He looked up at her, cautious.

‘Doing fine, Otmakil’, he said quietly.

‘The food is good? No knives in your broth? No Romjid running through your halls?’ Read the rest of this entry »

Chapter 3

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Otmakla hurried along the corridors of her house, away from her father’s chambers. Their meeting was disturbing. She thought of the fake confidence with which she told Romial about her assured place at the head of her house and suppressed a bitter laugh. True, her father supported her, but to take hold of a family, of a house, you had to have all major forces of the house behind you. Her father was a major force now, but after his death only a thin thread of honor will hold the family loyal to his word. A thread that could be snapped if a suitable challenge arose. Her father suspected one such challenge was brewing, and he wasn’t even dead yet.

It would have helped had her brothers truly backed her claim. Her brothers, Tomsh and Preki, didn’t want the position, but their support of her was far from enthusiastic. They both respected her, they knew she was capable, but she suspected they weren’t sure she could get the house to unite behind her. So they bided their time, waiting to see how she handled the unification of the house.

It hurt her. These weren’t some of those jaded and ruthless men of other houses. Her brothers were tough, but they were also kind. She loved them, and thought they loved her too. She felt bitter for their lack of support. They were taking care of themselves, waiting to proclaim loyalty to whomever came out on top. Read the rest of this entry »

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