Pursuit: Twenty-Three

The fabled tattooists of Utretope demand payment both excessive and exotic for their services. Baza the slave-catcher had never once regretted the years of labor and fortunes of gold they had required of him. Even the scars upon his soul he had considered to be a worthwhile investment for the boon of that tangled mass of blue lines inked into the flesh of his right hand. For nearly a decade, over dozens of hunts, not a man nor a woman nor a beast had Baza ever faced who could resist the debilitating touch of his right hand.

Until today.

Just like always, Baza felt the cold thrill of the tattoo lines roiling beneath his skin. Just as always, he felt the warmth of his victim’s life force flare beneath his palm—fluttering and delicate like a caged songbird.

Unlike every other capture he had made, the seven-pointed stars upon Sabit’s silver necklace all flashed in the sunlight at the same moment. The sparks of light seemed to pierce Baza’s hand. The pain was like grabbing a handful of stinging nettles. Baza screamed.

Sabit’s fist landed squarely on the slave-catcher’s jaw, ending his awareness of the pain. Baza fell into the water, as unmoving as a felled tree.

The last slaver had fallen beneath Qaansoole’s kicks, despite the archer’s arms still being yoked to a branch. Allamu, wrists still bound together, had clambered into the boat with Qays and was working the makeshift paddle to steer it out of the current. Sabit labored to roll Illi on his back, rewarded with the sound of his deep, steady breathing.

In the aftermath, ropes were cut and captives were freed. The bandits chose to withdraw quickly and quietly, rather than test the mettle of Sabit and her allies. The other former captives huddled around Allamu and Qaansoole, unsure of how to proceed.

When he recovered his strength, Illi hauled the slavers’ bodies onto the shore, piling them up to be burned. Sabit paddled the boat far downstream, eyes constantly vigilant. By the time nightfall caused her to call off the search, she had found neither body nor trail of the the slave-catcher known as Baza.





Wayfarings of Sabit: Pursuit is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every weekday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/