Willow noticed that she was being dragged; the scrapping of her boots on the gravely ground notified her brain instantaneously of her unusual mode of transport. However, in that she had finally understood her captors were not only allowed to knock her down (for whatever reason) but that they also enjoyed it, she decided to stay limp in the two sets of strong arms carrying her.
It seems I've stumbled upon a discovery of a lifetime: The largest PMS colony in the history of womankind since Vassar.
She got a few glimpses of the primitive surroundings-huts with animal-skin doorways, any and all furnishings were made out of bone, and all "houses" were smoking of what she assumed were live fires.
Then again, Vassar students at least knew what a candle was when it was founded.
Willow kept her head down as much as possible, whilst attempting to study the land below the rim of her helmet. The jungle had cleared for several acres to allow such an extensive tribe, it seemed. Enough, luckily, for her to clearly see the sky. She had missed the sky.
"Etheh," came a small voice from her left arm. Just as she tried to comprehend the meaning she understood; they were turning to the right now instead of their straight progression forward. Perhaps she was being taken to their leader? Maybe she could try to convince these Amazons she meant no harm by stumbling upon their lovely tribe, and that it was all very nice and wonderfully decorated with the animal carcasses to boot, but she'd prefer to just walk back home now-no dragging-escort needed?
She contemplated exactly how she would plead for her freedom when, yet again, she realized the movements of her handlers were changing. It seemed they had reached their destination; they'd stopped, and with that dropped her to the ground.
"Ow…" Willow inwardly grumbled.
Stay still. Don't move. Do NOT move.
A few words were exchanged between the two women before she felt herself being pushed-no not pushed, shoved into a room. Possibly another hut? Her left leg she felt was being tugged at; a slight cuffing of her ankle by a hand ensued, and then just as quickly stopped. Finally, with relief she felt her bodybuilding buddies relent in touching her body. And after a few moments of what sounded like Amazonian-chit-chat, she was certain the two women had left. She slowly got up, and looked around-cautiously.
It was dark. The air was thick with incense, and she could swear a window-type shape was carved into the thick skin. She walked towards the hole, in an attempt to glance at the stars. Willow always took comfort in astronomy as a child.
At least those never change. Even when you travel halfway around the world, the stars stayed put.
But as she came to the corner of the 'window' she felt a slight tug at her ankle, again. Only this time, it did not cease with her continual forward movement. She looked back and saw a slight iron chain grasping around her left boot.
Willow sighed in resignation; at the least she could make a few stars out from her awkward lean/stance. That would have to do for the moment. She looked back at the chain, brow furrowed, causing a few curls to fall down her cheek, and glared at the device. Her glare softened though with the one assuring thought that came to mind.
Well, at least they're past the Iron Age.
"Grandmother Thea!" Came a surprised gulp.
"Caranthia, I have been known to walk outside of my bed-quarters, you do know that right?" The old lady replied smartly.
"I-I-I know, I just wasn't expecting an inspection of the capture so soon-"
"Oh heavens, no, I wasn't coming here to inspect…" the old woman trailed off and then sighed, "I merely am out for a night walk."
"A night walk?"
"Yes, it's called relaxation. You should try it sometime Caranthia," the old woman said touching the girl's arm, "it might calm your nerves down a bit," she added with a wink. She began walking again, inwardly chuckling at the impatience this girl had with anything warfare. She was always one of the top trainees during the fighting lessons, always the first to try new combat moves, and always the one left in endurance trials.
But she will never be the best, she thought, if she continues to let her anger get the better of her.
Then again, she could do with a little more anger from some of her other pupils…
Thea barely made a few steps forward when she heard some quiet words escape her ambitious apprentice.
"I know what you've done."
Thea sighed inwardly again, frowning slightly at the bad timing of her walk outdoors. She did not want to have this talk here, and certainly not now.
"It's for the best."
"You let her go."
"I did not 'let her go'."
"You did! You let her get away with it! Again!" Caranthia spat.
"Caranthia, she is quite far from being safe cuddled up in her bed," the woman turned as she spoke, calmly and rationally to combat the furious face of her best captain, "she knows what she has done-"
"I'll tell you what she has done, she's flaunted the privilege of being one of our kind. She has insulted our ways, our beliefs, our way of life as we know it!"
"No, she merely did not want to fight one of her sisters."
"It's the right of passage! How else would we survive in this world without preparation, without training to fight, and yes, kill?!" she hissed back.
"It does not always work in such strict manners. This life is not 'kill or die'-"
"Yet we live and die every moment-"
"Imagine me telling to you to kill Palath'ania, right now, in cold blood, for the sake of the Order," the old woman threateningly said back. Caranthia seemed shocked by this request, and stayed quiet for a few moments.
"Would you do it?" the old lady demanded.
Caranthia stayed quiet, again, but was internally fuming.
"It is different," she whispered, slowly.
"Yes, it is different. Tar'airah feels the same compassion for all her sisters you happen to only feel for Palath'ania. How can you ask her to kill the very thing she loves?"
"Why not another?"
"What do you mean?"
"If she's so compassionate," the girl punctuated the word like a dagger, "for us, why not have her complete the Trials with the death of one she does not know?"
"And who here does she not know? We've all grown up with her, there is not a woman here that hasn't been touched by the other in some way."
"Then what are you suggesting?"
"Have her kill the boy."