Fantasy Fiction posted December 13, 2021 Chapters:  ...20 21 -23- 24... 

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Friendships and the Neighboring Tribes

A chapter in the book The Chronicals Of Bethica: The Rise

The Chronicles of Bethica

by amahra

Gangus Secures friendships with three powerful nations: The Engamars, the Aenwyns, and the Qu'Venars.

Chapter 15 (part 2)
The Neighboring Tribes

Held in a cage for several days and given scraps of food and water, Olatunji still possessed little knowledge of what had happened to the woodsmen, or his fellow soldiers.

Some good fortune existed, however. The Aenwyns who had caged Olatunji told him they held strong suspicion against him and his comrades but not enough to prove theft which carried the death penalty. Relieved after hearing that, he still lingered in dire need of knowing his fate.

Gangus worked feverously with the Aenwyn leaders to release his men but always faced the same angry resistance. It seemed the Aenwyns had gotten wind that Gangus and his tribe were friendly with the Engamars who were mortal enemies of the Aenwyns. So, when they spotted the woodsmen cutting their trees, naturally they thought the Engamars were behind it.

Their history with the Engamars went like so: The Aenwyns had come to Bethica from the other world of Faerie. Unlike Faerie, Bethica's solar system was quite different in terms of suns, moons, and stars. They lived a primitive life in Bethica until they met the Qu'Venars who immediately felt parental towards them; the Qu'Venars taught the new arrivals everything they needed to know to enhance their survival skills in Bethica.

The Aenwyns were shapeshifters and not particularly attractive by Bethican standards. They admired the Qu'Venars so much, they chose their likeness which was the reason they and the Qu'Venars appeared similar with some exceptions. The Aenwyns lacked the Qu'Venars alabaster white skin and almond-shaped eyes.

The Qu'Venars were a scholarly race with a keen interest in learning about everything around them. They were known for their knowledge of the strange, and mysterious--even things that were forbidden to know. That strange fascination for the bizarre made other races view them as sinister. The Qu'Venars cared fervently about how actions impacted their future. They were longwinded--a bit meticulous about doing things and were skeptical of instant gain. Because of their patience, they were able to wait an enemy out and make their move only when they were certain of winning. They also shared that technique with the Aenwyns of whom they had a genuine fondness--a fondness which led to the Qu'Venars being overly protective.

It was one day, long ago--the Engamars, out of desperate need, came down from their mountain and ventured into the Aenwyns's forest. They had begun cutting and transporting lumber back to their territory. The Aenwyns, at that time, were a peaceful tribe and had only used their skills of archery for hunting. Frightened, they sent word to the Qu'Venars that an armed red-bearded tribe had invaded their land and was cutting and stealing their trees.

The Qu'Venars attacked the Engamars mercilessly. The Engamars took months to regroup but when they had--thus began the War of Tears--a war that lasted many years, with huge casualties on all sides.

That war turned the Aenwyns into fierce warriors and an enemy to the Engamars. However, years later, the Qu'Venars regretted their rush to judgment; they had never given the Engamars a choice to leave the region peacefully before attacking them. They also regretted the heavy casualties and cost of the ongoing war; they attempted many times to make peace with the Engamars, but the red-bearded ones refused--and swore, "Never Forget."

Gangus strongly verbalized his sympathy for their historical dilemma, but still, every attempt to get his men released including a promise never to side with the Engamars against them was met with a resounding, "No."

Gangus was beside himself. He knew, unlike the red-beards, he needed more than fine fabrics, fruit dishes, and wine to get the more sophisticated, highly skilled Aenwyns to do what he wanted. After a few days and consulting with Brehira, Dinary, Celio, and others whose opinions mattered, he decided to offer, not their steel-making secret, but their services to the Aenwyns--an offer to improve their weapons. Gangus came back to the bargaining table, strong. He brought a sample of his metal--an arrow made from steel.

The Aenwyns had often complained about the tips of their arrows breaking against bronze and other metal breastplates during battles against an enemy. Gangus assured them with several demonstrations that his tips would not break and could pierce the heart behind any breastplate used throughout Bethica except those made by his tribe.

Gangus hung an Aenwyn breastplate on a wooden post. He placed a tomato inside where the heart would be then handed the steel-tip arrow to an Aenwyn archer. The archer pulled back on the bow, aimed, and released. The Aenwyn leader's eyes widened when the breastplate swallowed the arrowhead, and the pink pulp of the tomato oozed from the hole. Gangus confidently strolled to the posted armor, pulled the arrow free, and handed it to the leader to examine. The steel blade of the arrow was barely scratched.

"Exquisite!" the Aenwyn leader said, wide-eyed.

The entire table of Aenwyn Elders marveled over the arrow as each took turns holding and running a finger over the side of the sparkling blade.

Soon after his men were released, Gangus began supplying the Aenwyns with weapons and breastplates. The Qu'Venars also became a customer, while the Engamars were kept in the dark. The Aenwyns were adamant the Engamars were never to have access to steel, or know its origin--and for obvious reasons. That too was a part of the bargain including Volarian access to the Aenwyns' forest.

In just three years, Gangus had made friends with three of the largest and fiercest warriors in Bethica. However, when the Engamars heard about Gangus's alliance with their mortal enemies--minus the secret concerning the weapons, they threatened to sever ties with the Volarians and deny their access to mine near Engamar Mountain.

Gangus, in turn, threatened to cut off their supply of wine, fruit, fabrics, and other goods for which the Engamars had grown quite accustomed. Having a reputation for being a man of his word, Gangus's sworn statement that he would never side with the Aenwyns or the Qu'Venars against them, put the Engamar leader's mind at ease and their relationship soon carried on as before.

Indeed, those three enemy tribes make for strange bedfellows, Gangus thought; yet, he managed to make their strained relationships work for the good of his people.

Twenty-seven years passed with peaceful living among the indigenous people of Bethica. Gangus and his people knew much prosperity. There were vast lands of animal and vegetable farms, fruit trees, and grapevines. There were mills, bakeries, clothing shops, learning centers, a town hall, and temples to their gods. Lord and Lady Abram lived in a magnificent house, surrounded by other fine homes built for Volarians leaders.

Many fine, more colorful houses were scattered throughout the town and villages. A stone wall with a round tower facing in every direction was both defense and decoration. The guards kept the vaulted gate closed at night. Though over the years, there were many skirmishes against small tribes that tried and failed to invade the land, the people never regretted following Gangus to the new world.

That was due in part to the Volarians' acquiring a reputation as a most deadly enemy, thanks to their superior weapons. But though their reputation had kept some smaller tribes at bay--there was one breed that seemed to have no fear. That breed became quite a thorn in Gangus's side.

As his Volarian army grew, several promotions took place. Dinary became general of his men--now called, the Volarian Guards with Celio second in command. Nazi, Judian, Olatunji, and Lygone each commanded their own unit.

General Dinary and his wife Princess Netrekka had two sons: Rahshi, the oldest, and Glinas. Rahshi and Glinas joined the Guards and served under Celio in a 40-man unit, called The Blue Dragon, named by a defeated enemy because of the Volarian's blue breastplates and also because of the ruthless way they fought. The unit was responsible for spotting and attacking invaders before they ventured too close to the outskirts of Volarian land.

Rahshi was an expert archer and Glinas, taught by Gangus, fought with two swords. Rahshi married first and had three daughters. Glinas married Lurah and later, Rahkia who both bore him many sons and daughters. Gangus and Brehira stood to be proud monarchs of a future kingdom. However, that kingdom would emerge through many heart-wrenching challenges.

"Commander, sir," Glinas said addressing Celio. "We just wiped out another band of intruders not far from Cartone River."

Celio took his time looking up from the map he was studying. It was used to keep track of the invaders and took up nearly half the six-foot table. On the map were tiny shapes like chess figures. Each figure appeared to be placed closer and closer to the settlement.

"Is that your blood or theirs?" he asked calmly, sweeping his eyes over Glinas. These little skirmishes were ongoing and of no surprise to Celio which was the reason for his serenity.

Glinas puzzlingly looked down at the blood smear. "I believe it's theirs', sir."

"You need to go to the Medicus just the same," Celio said. "No telling what you can catch from those savages." He turned his attention back to the map but noticed Glinas didn't move. "Is there something more?"

Glinas hesitated. "There is something different about these invaders, sir."

"Different how?"

"These creatures were well trained, sir, and fought like the very demons of Hades. Their armor didn't look to be from around here. And after we killed them, we searched their belongings and found lots of gold coins."

Celio didn't like the sound of that. His mind went back to why some had said the Nordoxz moved further west all those years ago. Had it really been gold mines that pulled them there...and were these mercenaries paid by the Nordoxz? Celio wondered.

Celio's calm demeanor quickly turned to panic as he rushed from his quarters and told one of the guards to have General Dinary, the commanders, and all captains meet him at Lord and Lady Abrams immediately.

After everyone had assembled, Celio had Glinas repeat everything he'd told him. The room fell deathly silent.

Several weeks passed without incident or reports of spotting mercenaries. Celio had some ideas about what could be behind the attacks but didn't want to alarm the others with his concerns since he had no facts to back them up. I simply have to wait, he thought, for them to make another move.

Days later. "Open the gate!" a guard shouted from the tower.

A middle-aged man, blood streaming down his face stumbled into the settlement's gate with a badly injured foot. He had managed to hobble the long distance with nothing but a long, thick tree branch as a piteous walking stick. The minute the guards grabbed him, he collapsed in their arms. "My wife, my boys," the man harshly whispered through his twisted face.

"Who did this?" another guard asked.

The battered man looked up at the guard--his face in a cry with no sound coming from it.
"I tried to save them. I tried," the man said.

"You tried to save them from what? Come on...stay with us," the guard pleaded as he gently shook the man by his shoulders.

"They...they were Orcs, I think," the man said, his lips puffed and bleeding.

"How many?"

"Twenty... thirty maybe," he grunted out. He coughed deeply, closed his eyes, and went limp.

"Get him over to the Medicus," the head guard said. "I'll report this to Celio."

Many settlers had continued to respectfully reject Gangus's advice about moving so far west near where attacks were taking place. After Celio had been alerted, he ordered the injured man questioned after he was fully conscious and medically treated.

A small group was sent out to scout the land and to assess the damages. When they returned, they reported directly to Dinary.

"Father, I don't think these are just mercenaries."

Dinary used two hands to lift the heavy sword and placed it on the table in front of Gangus. The blade, though inferior, was well made and had rare stones embedded in the handle.

"I warned the settlers that moving so far out would make it impossible for our troops to protect them," Gangus said. "Don't know why they're so fascinated with moving so far west."

Brehira placed a soothing hand on her husband's shoulder. "The land is so green, rich, and inviting, dear. I guess it's just too hard for them to reject it when it calls to them," she said.

"I suppose you're right, my love," he said patting her hand. He stroked his white beard, frowned, and pondered if they should wait for the enemy to make the next move or surprise them with a move of their own.

Image: by Dantegrafice from Pixabay

Main Characters

Lord Gangus Abram Leader of his clan
Lady Brehira (Bree here rah) His wife
Dinary (Deh nah ry) Youngest Son
Celio (Seal le o) Soldier and close friend
Princess Netrekka (Neh trek kah) Dinary's Lover/wife
Olatunji (O Lah Tune Gee) Nigerian Soldier
Gangus's Staff Command Tierphenjinochun (Teer fen gin o tion)

Minor Characters
Khimah (Kee ma) Eldest Son
Captain Dulcy P Dordrecht (Door check) Captain of the Cristofur
Judian (Jew-dee-in) Second in Command of the Christofur
Kofius (Ko fee us) The Sail Master
The Drake (like it's spelled) The menacing dragon

The gods
Raziel (Ray-zeal) God of gods
Dahlia (Doll-lee'ah) Goddess of Domaria--a kingdom ruled by women
Gailzur (Gale-zore) God of War
Nelchael (Nell-key-ol) God of the Underworld
Zakzakiel (Zak zah keel) God of Peace

The Races
Volarians (Vo lar rians) (Humans) 'Gangus's tribe'
Engamars (In ga mars) (Humanoids) 'Hate Aenwyns and Qu'Venars'
Aenwyns  (An winds) (Humanoids) 'Adore Qu'Venars, hate Engamars'
Qu'Venars (Q' Vin nahs) (Humanoids) 'Adore Aenwyns can't tolerate the stubborn Engamars'
Faerie (Far ree) (Another world) Origin of the Aenwyns

When Lord Gangus Abram is awakened by a mysterious voice in the night and told to seek out the Oracle Naman, he must make a journey across the Endless Ocean to destroy the Nordoxz, an undefeated race of humanoids that are controlled by powerful forces of evil.

Lord Abrams plunges into a perilous trek to obey the gods and settle in Bethica, a land of dragons, cannibals, Fallen Angels, Amazonians, and Dark Lords. He is joined by his wife, Brehira, youngest son Dinary, comrade and friend, Celio, Shapeshifter and Beast Master, Olutunji, and 750 people willing to risk their lives for land and freedom.
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