Korak was conscious that the only sounds he could hear were his own grunts as his head was yanked from side to side by his hair. The chief had tugged his face downwards and for a humiliating while he had twisted Korak’s head round and around.
Side-to-side. The tight grip in his scalp almost yanking out hair. Shaken like a naughty puppy-dog. A display of his helplessness before this tribe. A sign of the scorn in which they held him .. for his unspeakable crime.
All around, watching his humiliation, in silence, this hate-filled tribe. For them, for the crimes they held against Korak, no humiliation could be enough.
“The shaman is seeking a sign. He has withdrawn to the shrine.”
Until that moment Korak had not missed his main nemesis. The chief’s words alerted him.
Since Korak had shown him up, since he had knocked the man to the dirt, he had disappeared. Was he licking his wounds? Ashamed that Korak had caught him unawares? Sent him sprawling in the dirt? That he’d had to be rescued by warriors before Korak could smash his face in?
Or was he plotting revenge?
The chief continued addressing his people.
“Imploring their instructions, a sign from the gods. What dire punishment they wish visited on THIS …….”
Korak scoffed to himself as his head was kept pressed down to this chest by the painful twist in his hair. What was the betting the shaman would come back with the severest punishment in mind? Would it be a coincidence that the gods’ wishes would coincide with the shaman’s desire for revenge? He wouldn’t put it past the bastard. That the gods would order exactly what that shaman would wish for himself. A punishment like no other.
In the shaman he had made a powerful enemy. The chief might be leader of the tribe. The older brother, the people looked to him, they’d follow his lead. Like now when they stood in respectful silence. But the shaman spoke for the gods. What they commanded, that would be carried out. The will of the gods. What the shaman chose to hear the gods speak, THAT would be put into effect.
Without any questions asked. The gods had spoken, it was their will. No chief would deny the gods. In attacking the shaman .. in showing him up .. in bruising a younger brother’s pride before the whole tribe ….. Korak had made himself a serious enemy. Could he be in deeper shit? In effect, the shaman could order anything he liked. Claiming the gods willed it so. And Korak had no doubt his injured pride would.
“Until then ……”
The chief now tugged Korak’s head upwards. Holding it up for all to see. As he pronounced judgement.
“Until the gods speak …..”
He whipped cold eyes into Korak’s face. Korak was red in the face with anger. At getting tugged around. Shamed by a tear of pain that coursed its way down his cheek. He felt again that shiver down his backbone. At the nerves that the presence of this fearsome chief could arouse.
“ …. we shall plumb the depths of this thing’s arrogance. Test how deep this conceit goes …..”
A coldness shivered down Korak, despite himself. The chill of this man’s presence could get through to him. Prickle his proud tough body with nerves.
“Test this brute with pain.”
The chief’s eyes creased with determination.
“Test how much shame it takes.”
A long stern look seemed to claw its way inwards and plumb the depths of Korak’s spirit.
“How much it takes before this piece-of-shit sings its song of regret.”