Korak had condemned himself with his own words. Admitting the truth. He’d knowingly violated the sacredness of this mountain. He could justify his intrusion .. worried his friend was injured. But fact was fact. He’d knowingly entered the forbidden domain. He’d consciously committed sacrilege. And these men weren’t listening to any excuse.
Even strung-up upside down, he could see the malevolence on the chief’s face as he confessed. For a moment the man stood there glowering .. bristling muscle. Hard-packed arms crossed over a solid broad chest. Ripped belly sucked in, shocked at hearing the horror of Korak’s confession.
The man was impressive under any circumstances. Looking every bit the warrior chief, the leader of his people. A torso packed with hard muscle, shredded physique. From upside-down, totally vulnerable, Korak had to suppress a quiver of fear deep in his gut.
Till the chief surprised him. He took a step to one side .. tore a hard punishing kick into Nguana’s bent side. And strode menacing towards Korak.
“This man …. this DOG …..”
The chief had grabbed Korak by the scalp and twisted his hand. Korak’s hands were free, his every instinct was to fight them out of the tight grip. But he elected not to make things worse for the pair of them.
The chief turned and addressed his assembled tribe.
“Its own tongue condemns it …….”
Viciously the hand in Korak’s hair twisted his head one way and then the other. As if the chief was making sure every man here recognised his guilt.
“Came to seek a friend. A dog that had already violated this mountain. Our sacred domain.”
He gave a sharp tug that made Korak wince.
“Defiantly came. Consciously violating. Knowingly flouting the demands of the gods.”
The hand twisted, Korak winced.
The next tug in his hair made Korak hiss out loud. But he couldn’t deny the truth. The chief spoke right.
The chief rattled Korak by the hair.
“He knew what he was doing. But still he dared.”
Throughout his angered tirade the chief kept on shaking Korak upside-down as he hung.
Korak was relieved when the chief let go his hair.
“Profanity. Sacrilege. Arrogance.”
With each word of condemnation the chief’s forearm slashed across Korak’s extended belly. Setting him swinging .. swinging with every word thwacked across straining muscle.
Korak’s swinging was lessening. He was catching his breath from the stomach-beating. He hurt but he couldn’t miss the hiss of revulsion in the chief’s condemnation.
“A thief come to save a friend from profanity. Denying the gods rights to their privacy. Their right to justice thrown aside.”
The chief paused. Then he growled out his conclusion.
“For that first intrusion .. the gods were due justice. By his second intrusion this dog planned to rob the gods of that justice. Like justice for the gods was something this arrogant dog could cast aside.”
Korak hadn’t thought about it like that ….. he had only wanted to rescue Nguana from his folly. But Nguana had committed sacrilege first. The gods wanted Nguana punished for that crime. Their right .. justice from Nguana for his wrongdoing. Rightfully theirs. If Korak succeeded in rescuing his friend .. he would be robbing them of that right. In their eyes, a serious crime.
“Like a man can rob the gods of what is their due!”
Clearly this bitter chief was seriously aggrieved.
The chief’s finger of condemnation was centred on Korak’s face. Pointing down at him.
“He himself violates the gods’ due rights. Entering where it is forbidden. HIM too. KNOWINGLY. Condemned by his own words. Knowingly entering their domain .. to rob them of their rights .. arrogantly he violates their mountain. Disrespect.”
Fury tore into Korak’s upraised face.
The chief looked down into Korak. His lip curled. Disgust. Hatred. Fury. All mixed together. All bound together into a packed hard fist that thudded anger into Korak’s gut.