"I don't get it, why are we racing after her?" The brunette breathed out heavily, jogging next to the now speeding blonde; they could see Tar'airah's hut in the distance.
"Because, you moron, if the drums are playing that means there will be a sacrifice, and chances are it's not the local hartebeest."
"But why?! They're supposed to fight each other to death. What's the point of the ritual if Tar's fighting buddy won't even have a head to fight with?!"
"It's not during the fight that she'll be headless - I have a bad feeling it's just in case if Tar' loses... which Caranthia knows wouldn't happen..." Buf'aneah's breathing had caught up with her as she was huffing out each word. She slowed her pace, as she came up to the hut with the brunette following shortly behind.
"Then why the drums? Why the sacrificial stuff?" Fa'aithlia had come up behind.
"I... I don't know..." Buf'aneah reached up to the curtain, "we'll ask Tar' what she..." Seeing the empty space before her Buf'aneah's hand clenched on the animal skin it gripped, "thinks..."
"Shit. Where'd she go?"
"To the ritual... like a good little amazon..."
"Well, what do we do now?"
"Run, try to catch her before she does anything."
"More running?" The brunette asked exasperated. She may be an amazon, trained to fight and kill at immense strength and speed, but she was also lazy.
"More running," Buf'aneah sighed.
"Why should we? I mean, really, at this point the plan is that Tar' points out Red's a girl, and can't fight an innocent woman, right?"
"Yea..." Buf' nodded in agreement, not sure where Fa'aith was going with this.
"Well, that means it doesn't matter if Caranthia is going to try to sacrifice her or no - Tar' will stop the fight from even happening."
"I don't think it's a matter of going by the rules any more. Caranthia... I get the feeling she'll try to get her killed anyway - "
"But Thea wouldn't allow the death of an innocent!"
"Innocent. Caranthia said 'he' attacked her or insulted her before - knowing Caranthia, she'll want the girl offed."
"She wouldn't do it just because of that..."
"No, not if Tar' fights her to the death."
"Which she won't..."
"And won't know not to..."
Silence sunk in. Their breathing had slowed down enough to hear the breeze touch on the blades of grass below.
"Shit," Fa'aithlia uttered below her breath again. The realization of Caranthia's thoughtfulness to Tar's possible lack-there-of enthusiasm for the ritual caught the two girls off guard.
"Where is Thea?" Caranthia asked the drummer girl she had sent previously. Night was coming on soon, and the torches had already been lit surrounding the large circle rink.
"She said she had some business to take care of, but to carry on with the ceremony."
"Very well then," Caranthia sighed inwardly.
She may miss my moment of glory, but she will remember this day, even if it's through story and legend.
She stood before the crowd slightly stepping onto the Calethia for all those that circled to see.
"Sisters, the day has come for one of... ours... to come forward and prove... herself."
Tar'airah came up to the grassy area just before the large crowd forming, and could hear Caranthia's hopeless voice trying to sound somewhat happy for her. Must be eating her up not to curse my name right now.
"Well as we all know, this is a time-honored tradition that every uprising warrior here knows she shall participate in. It is a beautiful, important part in every one of our lives. For without the proper... preparation for real-life battles, there can be no survival..."
Tar'airah stood amazed at how, even after everything else this woman put her through, she could manage to dislike her more. Picking up the latter end of Caranthia's rant Tar'airah let her, "...Some of you may have been wondering why the drums were playing... well..."
Drums? What drums?
Tar' walked up to the outside of the crowd and then saw the fully-adorned in armor and war-paint, drum line standing still.
Oh... those drums.
For the moment they had ceased play, to allow Caranthia to speak, no doubt.
"...If it seems she might fall in battle..." Caranthia allowed herself a gratuitous chuckle, which awarded her a few understanding snickers from the crowd, "If such a thing is to happen, though, in the fight, we shall all rejoice and celebrate her glorious death through the sacrifice of this..." Caranthia grabbed Willow by the scruff of the neck who promptly did nothing to stop her, "wretch," she spat.
Buf'aneah and Fa'aithlia raced forward through the brush, past hut after hut and could see the Calethia in the distance. Upon hearing the drums silenced, they sped down to the visible group of women.
"Where's... Tar'...?" Came the breathy question from Fa'aith.
"I don't know, quick, Caranthia's still speaking, that means we have time to find Tar'airah or the redhead before the ceremony begins," Buf'aneah sprinted off in the direction facing opposite of Caranthia.
"More... running...?" Yet as she asked the exasperated question she ran, hearing a few snickers from around the crowd. Apparently, Caranthia had said something funny.
Probably along the lines of "I'm an intelligent being - No, really. I am."
But even as they approached the circle's border, seeing Caranthia in plain view across the arena, Fa'aith's smirk faded. She saw the redhead that her friend adored grabbed by the scruff and held up for the rest of the tribe to laugh at.
"Buf'..." Fa'aith tugged on the blonde's arm.
"I think I found one."
Buf'aneah looked up, shock shooting into her eyes.
If Tar' were here, she'd go berserk.
Tar'airah stood motionless, her mind screaming at her to do something, anything that involved some sort of physical harm towards Caranthia.
But all that came was a demand on repeat.
Get your hands off her. Get your hands OFF her. Get your slimy, disgusting, unearthly hands OFF of her.
"Caranthia..." came an eerily calm voice.
The brunette lowered her gaze, her smile slowly fading with the voice from the crowd as it separated for the disturbance to walk by.
"I don't think that sacrifice will be necessary..."
"Okay, don't panic, there is no point in panicking, Caranthia isn't hurting the girl...much. All we need is time to find Tar' and everything will be alright, we'll stall somehow, or maybe we'll just run the girl out of the tribe..."
"...then you and I will have to live on our own, but we can survive in the jungle for at least four weeks after all the training we've gone through, but we'll have to make sure the tribe doesn't track us until we get the other one, that is if she knows where to look for us..."
"I think I found the other one."
Fa'aith pointed directly ahead to the now three figures standing, well, actually, one was more or less being held by the neck by the other.