Fan fiction:Bane The Writings of Sanett/Chapter 1
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Bane The Writings of Sanett is a fan fiction piece by Bane (Mark C. Dunstan), originally posted on the The Dark Library. The fiction series was the sequel of Bane Hero of the North which was also recovered on April 14th 2010. On September 17th 2010 the rest of the lost stories and books were found including artwork. You can find more information on Bane:The Writings of Sanett article.
I have often wondered what life for a barbarian growing up was like, how the young survived into man-hood. Bane never did tell me much about himself prior to leaving his mountain home at the young age of 18 summers. One such story he did tell me however, was the day he had become a man, at the age of 16. The Rights to Passage he called it, and looked back on it, it seemed, with great pride.
From the Writings of Sanett Volume One
Chief Librarian of Lat Wahlin
Chapter 1: Becoming a Man
He could taste the blood as his split lip poured it into his mouth. It feels as if he has a broken jaw. With tired eyes he looks up into the sky, and at the peaks soaring towards it. Only this morning he had done the same thing, with the boy he was now fighting against. There, while the sun was rising, he had asked his friend about today, and what was to come. The Rights to Passage were so far away it had seemed while growing up yet he knew this day would come, even looked forward to it. It was a great honour among his people, the Kamidian's, and when it came it would either mean you were a man, or you were not.
He had heard of his father's stories of the day he ëpassed' and how great it had been. At only a day older than sixteen his father had passed all the challenges from swimming the Lake Kavir with small weights tied onto his ankles and wrists to wrestling and taming a young beast of foreign origin. Now it was his time, but his father would not be there to see, the wolves had made sure of that.
Bane had already swum the Kavir, and with the weights his legs and arms had felt like lead as he swam through the cold water. He had not fought a beast and would not need too. The chieftains of the two tribes Craylim and Dasht-e Tul had changed the tradition and had instead paired the young men up to fight against each other.
The young boy Tukuram charged at him again and swung a right hook. With the boy's massive arms and hands the blow would have been serious, but Bane was quicker than Tukuram, ducking under the blow and lashing out with his clenched fist his punch landed squarely on the other boys jaw. Tukuram fell backwards dazed. Bane could sense victory, but then he thought Tukuram did too for they were evenly matched. Hard-trained their arms and muscles were far more developed for fighting than a usual boy grown in a town far from the mountains. But they were barbarians of the north.
Surrounding the pair of fighters was an audience set in a semi-circle. His grandfather Kuchi, sat on a hastily erected wooden stand besides the head Chieftain, Lokoi. Bane had admired the man all his life, ever since the barbarians of his tribe Craylim had been called to arms against an invading army from the south, within the boarders of man. He had not seen the battle, but he was told of Lokoi's bravery and of his grandfathers.
The man was old now, but his body-shape was in fighting condition even if his heart was not. Lokoi sat wearing the headdress for the occasion, a large deer skull with red ribbons draping the antlers. His chest was bare, marked only by tattoos and scars. He seemed to hold interest in the proceedings though, that much Bane could tell.
Tukuram was up on his feet the instant he hit the hard ground, his jaw was obviously broken and blood dripped from his mouth. He lunged forward again, and once more Bane caught him on the cheek with a vicious right hook followed with a left jab to the falling boys ribs. Bones snapped and Tukuram cried out in pain. He did not get up this time.
Bane walked over to his fallen comrade and sat besides him, helping him onto his other side. The crowd had cheered the moment Tukuram had fell and Bane was rejoicing inside for he knew he had completed the test. He looked up to the sky in hope that his father was watching and thought that he would have indeed been proud of him this day.
Men from the circle helped Tukuram to stand and the pair was taken in front of the chieftain. He glowered down at them and at first Bane thought that the man had been disgusted with both there performances. The look he gave Tukuram was that of disappointment. His voice thundered out across the gathered people.
'Today we have seen what makes our people so different to those of the other tribes and that of the city-folk. Today we have seen our children's blood spilled on our soil by their own hands. Now we must embrace them as our brothers.' Bane looked nervously up to his grandfather who gave him a wink of the eye.
'Bane Son of Arran, you have proved yourself a man. Let it be known from this day forth that you are no longer the child you were.' He handed him down a goblet that Bane drank. He passed the goblet back up to Lokoi who refilled the cup with a small goatskin pouch that had been handed to him by another warrior. Bane suddenly realised that Tukuram had lost, and looking over at his injured friend he felt a wave of shame pass over him. No warrior deserved to be shamed. Tukuram had fought well and had delivered a few blows that had Bane wincing in pain but his plan had worked, he would let Tukuram come to him and pull out of his blows tiring the taller boy then hitting him with a barrage of punches.
'Tukuram Son of Barionous, you too have proved yourself a man. Let it be known from this day forth that you are no longer the child you were.' Tukuram gave a smile and accepted the goblet that he consumed quickly.
'Rejoice brothers, and rest now. You have earned it.' With the blessings of the chieftain the crowd had begun to depart, back to their homes. Bane stood holding his jaw waiting for his grandfather to walk down from the stand in front of him. Barionous had already taken his son by the arm and had helped him off down the trail back to the village. The pain had gone, almost anyway, flashes like lightning seemed to flow across his jaw.
He stood now, over looking the village that appeared to be so small compared to the mountains. No matter what man achieved, it was nothing compared to nature and the power of the gods.
'Are you awake Bane lad? You seem to be daydreaming.' His grandfathers kind voice drifted out of the wind and Bane turned towards him. 'Arran would be proud of you, as I am.' Bane let Kuchi embrace him for a moment and then the pair stood, wind blowing madly staring down onto the village. 'Soon you will be off getting married!'
'Kuchi, I have not made any plans of that so far.' Kuchi sighed and lent on his old crooked staff he carried around with him at all times.
'I was joking. But I am worried. For after I'm gone you will be the last of the family and I'm sure it will be soon.'
'You are still healthy and look strong.'
'I am not. I use this staff to keep me balanced boy. I need to rest more often as well. I'm old Bane and am of no use to the village anymore.' Bane shook his head and laughed.
'You will always be remembered here, you are a hero to this village.' Kuchi smiled. With that he proceeded to help him down the steep trail that ran to the village.
- - -
It was a slow journey and Bane could see now how tired Kuchi truly was. It felt as though the old man had to strain just to walk a few paces. He heard an eagle cry from a spot far off in the mountains as they made their way to the last one hundred yards or so from the village. Nothing compared to the triumphs of the empire he knew, where everything was built from stone or the defences the dwarfs had, the outer walls of his village was made from the dry timber of the mountains and so it could be burned easily. His village Craylim was the larger of the Twin-tribes homes, mainly because of the village being founded besides the great river Kavir. Dasht-e Tul was further north, about two days ride from the village and was where Bane was born and had lived before his father had died and was taken to Craylim by his grandfather.
The walls were lined daily by warriors of his tribe skilled in the art of the long bow. The entrance was wide, and two totem poles bearing large bull skulls greeted visitors. Bane could see plenty of people running about inside, and was greeted by a group of youths who were running out of the village to hunt god knows what in the mountains. A concerning mother and father chased after them.
'To be young again. What would I do? I suppose anything. A few years off my current age would be nice.'
'It is not always good to be young. Three out of every five of the children born here do not live past sixteen. Why would you wish to be young again.'
'You will find out young Bane. For age creeps up on you fast and without warning.'
The village seemed to have an excited and busy atmosphere to it Bane thought as he was almost knocked over by Rakis, Tukuram's older brother. He was in a hurry and did not stop to say hello.
'What is going on Ruathan?' Kuchi stopped besides the smith who was resting outside his hot forge. The man was middle aged and Bane got on with him well enough.
'Celebrations. Twelve have past the tests today, and in their honour Lokoi has demanded this. It will be hasty at best. Perhaps he should hold it off a few days as so the village can prepare.' Kuchi nodded in agreement. Bane left the two talking and walked off to his home.
More people seemed to notice than usual it seemed, he could have sworn some pretty girls were looking at him as he passed the stables. It must be because of the test, for he saw the same crowd watching the swimming. He had swam it the fastest. People that normally discarded him would bid him a welcome and some would offer him their congratulations. Never had so many people seemed interested in him.
This was very unusual and before long Bane was forced to rush the last few yards to his door. He swung open the door and shut it behind him. A sigh of relief passed over his face, as he lay flat across the door. His home was possibly the smallest in the village, hastily built by his grandfather and himself two years ago when Bane wanted to live alone, but it was built from stone, a rarity among the Tribes. It was a circular home, with space in the middle of the room for a fire. At the far end, away from the door was Bane's bed. A space for personal items lay besides it while the only other things in the room was two stools and a small table. He began to move across the room when he heard a knock at his door. Tukuram's voice followed. It was quick and excited.
'Bane, hurry, open the door-I know you are here, Kuchi told me.' Bane walked to his window and called Tukuram to the small opening in the wall. The shutter blew madly in the wind almost striking Tukuram as he rounded towards it.
'What is it.' He was surprised to find himself feeling agitated. Tukuram did not seem to notice and continued to talk.
'Have you not heard Bane. We are to be presented with weapons. You will be getting a large one I think and I will be getting an axe!'
'I know Tuku. Everyone who has passed in the last hundred years has received some form of weapon.' Tuku was still excited and seemed not to hear Bane's words.
'I have never owned a weapon before Bane. Now Ruathan is creating ours inscribed with our names on.'
'How's your jaw?' Tukuram gave Bane a look as if he had just been shamed.
'I thought it was broken, its not though it is bruised. Cantamoon has just stitched my lip.' One mention of the shaman was enough to send shivers down Bane's spine. He had once visited one before, in Dasht-e Tul after his father had died. It was not a happy memory.
'You should have him check you out. Perhaps he can make a remedy to heal those bruises.' He said pointing towards Bane's chest.
'They will heal. I want the pain as a reminder of earlier.' Tukuram placed his hand on his right shoulder.
'This is where my tattoo is going.' Bane gave a nod. 'Where are you having yours?'
'To tell the truth, I have not given that a single thought my friend. I have only just got back. Have you noticed anything strange since you have got home.' Tukuram raised one bushy eyebrow and drew back his long brown hair with his right hand.
'No. Not really. Why?'
'Have you not noticed the way people look at you. It is very strange. I am not used to it.' Tukuram laughed and turned to depart.
'I will call on you later Bane. For the celebrations as soon as it begins to get dark.' Bane gave him a nod and shut the window. He walked across the room and laid upon his bed. He had one thought running through his mind when he fell to sleep, and that was the result of the day, he had become a man. As he fell to sleep he could have sworn he heard his fathers voice, calling out to him in triumph.
- - -
Tukuram walked besides his brother as they approached Bane's house. It had begun to get dark and the village had prepared well. Long tables had been hastily erected and food and ale placed nearby from the storehouse. Over one hundred people now sat at the table, while the youths tested each other's bravery in the hot-coals section. Tukuram laughed as one youth made to step on the hot coals but thought better of it.
They reached Bane's home and knocked on the door heavily. Rakis looked down at his little brother scratching at his goatee.
'Bane. The festivals have started. Hurry or you'll miss out.' Bane was already ready. He had woken from his dreams ten minutes before when Kuchi had come to check on him. He threw open the door and stepped outside. Rakis placed his hand on Bane's shoulder, forcing him to look upon the taller man. They both smiled. Out of all the people in the village the pair standing with him now were his only real friends. He liked Rakis. He was easy going but what made Bane like him so much was that Rakis was also renowned for his fist fighting, and had won the gold fist a year ago out of one hundred competitors from all over the northern tribes. It was he who trained both Bane and Tukuram to use their fists so well.
'I am sorry for running you down almost earlier. It is good to hear that you had passed, although Tuku's face might not share the same thought.' The group laughed.
'I told you little brother that Bane would win did I not. That you would go charging in no matter how many times I have told you not too and get beaten back.'
'Lets go, we have already chosen our seats, Kuchi and our father are guarding them.' It was a cold night Bane thought as a wave of cold air hit him. Bane gave a nod in acknowledgment to Tukuram's words and the three walked slowly to their seats.
The night was a long one, with heavy drinking. The tattoo's had been done earlier on in the evening by a few maidens with the softest touch Bane had ever witnessed. Tukuram had a large black hollow circle etched onto his right upper arm while Bane had decided to go for a large twin axe on his left bicep. It had been done well, and Bane constantly found himself looking down at it.
The weapons had been presented to the five who passed in Craylim before midnight. By this time Bane was looking forward to see what the smith had made him. He could have also sworn that one of the maidens was looking at him? Tukuram had been presented with an Eclipse, a moon shaped two-handed axe. It had been made well and was obviously made before the week. Bane received his weapon at the head of the table by Lokoi himself. It was also a two-handed weapon, but was a sword. Its hilt was decorated in a single gold dragon clutching at the blade. The blade itself was very sharp and it drew blood as Bane ran his finger across it. Bane felt the weight and made a few practice swings away from the table and gave a smile. It was a weapon that would serve any one with a bit of skill well. He had withdrawn from the evening's events afterwards, preferring the quiet of his home.
Bane sat on his bed listening to the soft sounds of music and laughter coming from outside. It was faint; barely enough to stir a child in its sleep and Bane felt that it soothed him down even more. He had placed the sword besides his bed, resting in its simple and heavy sheath upon one of his stools.
He looked at it and then at his tattoo that he continued to rub gently. Today had been a very good day.
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