Kur shuffles over to the shop, favoring his left leg a bit. "Ut-Napishtim, you there?"
Ut-Napishtim 's shop is a combination hut / tent; wooden framework covered with richly died animal hides
Ut-Napishtim comes bowing out of the low doorway
Ut-Napishtim "Greetings welcome again to my humble shop, most noble Kur! How may I serve you today?"
Ur-Nammu is trying to catch up with Kur
Kur glances over his shoulder at his favorite spot of the river, in the distance, and spots Ur-Nammu as well. He clears his throat and hurriedly asks, in his best imitation-upperclass "I would be honored to see your wares today
Ut-Napishtim bows some more
Ut-Napishtim "Ah very good, very good. I am most honored to display my unworthy items before your exalted gaze!"
Ut-Napishtim claps his hands
Ut-Napishtim "Ninki! Bring water and dates for our customer!"
Kur "Ah, right." He nods uneasily. "What've you got that's good for killing people... oh wonderful Ut-Napishtim?"
Ur-Nammu is sweating as he walks down the trail, for he brings bad news (good news for the dealer I guess)
Ut-Napishtim A very dark young woman wearing a loin cloth and a gold colar appears bearing a clay vessel and a bowl of dates.
Ut-Napishtim "And tell Atraharsis to bring out the gisgida!"
Ut-Napishtim Ninki bows low. "As you command, Master Ut-Napishtim!"
Ur-Nammu finally makes it to the shop's entrance
Ur-Nammu "ah, Kur"
Ur-Nammu bows to the dealer
Ut-Napishtim A young boy - about 12 years old - emerges from the shop with an armload of sharpened cane spears and begins laying them out before the two customers.
Kur bows low to the village elder.
Ut-Napishtim The spears are all roughly 5 feet long
Ut-Napishtim bows perfunctorily to the fisherman
Ut-Napishtim is annoyed by this interruption, but does not show it in front of his important customer
Ur-Nammu whispers to Kur "the scouts tell me the attack could come any time now"
Ur-Nammu is trying not to show to the dealer he's deeply troubled
Kur scowls, and mutters, "Cursed inlanders."
Ut-Napishtim grins to himself
Ur-Nammu "um, Kur, do you see anything here we could use?"
Ut-Napishtim bows low to the elder again
Ut-Napishtim "If I may suggest, most noble inspirer of men, the royal armies of the King of Kush - may the Glory of Enki reflect from his majestic baldness for eternity - protect themselves with wide shields of bull-hide."
Ur-Nammu "protection... yes... good idea"
Kur "I'm no expert... It's been forever since that last big battle... But those spears of yours, they don't look like what you used back then. Back in the last war, you were sellin, what'd you call em.. magic amulets an' fishin spears."
Ut-Napishtim "Atraharsis, bring out our wicker shields so that our noble customer may view them!"
Ur-Nammu looks more troubled still
Ut-Napishtim "So it is, happiest of fishermen. But I am such a weak sorcerer that I have gone into partnership with the mighty sorceress Shubure. Her tent is a mere quarter-day's journey to the east."
Ut-Napishtim waves a hand up river
Kur "So these ones'll work, right?"
Ut-Napishtim "Armed with her charms and my recently improved spears and shields, and of course guided by your unwavering generalship, your warriors cannot fail at whatever they put their hand to!"
Ur-Nammu "yes, we need something that works..."
Ut-Napishtim Atraharsis reappears and begins laying out a row of crescent-shaped basketwork sheilds, each about 2 cubits across
Kur grunts and rubs his leg.
Ur-Nammu "what do you think, Kur?"
Ur-Nammu whispers to Kur "these shields look good, but can we afford them plus the spears?"
Kur picks up one of the shields, hefting it with a bit of experience.
Kur mutters to the Chief, "We'll have to."
Ur-Nammu whispers insistently "after all, you were my father's strongest warrior..."
Ur-Nammu is counting on Kur a great deal...
Ur-Nammu turns to the dealer
Kur scowls, "That was a lifetime ago. I'm just a fisherman now."
Ut-Napishtim "For fine spears such as these, fit for the army of a god, I ask a mere 4 dinars each!"
Kur "Back before you were the chief, and we were friends."
Ut-Napishtim "The shields, oh most noble customers, I usually sell for 6 dinars, but since you are outfiting a whole expedition, and since I am having a special on shields today, I will give them to you for half price - a mere 3 dinars! I am in such a good mood today!"
Ur-Nammu looks suspiciously at the dealer
Ut-Napishtim "It is all because of Ninki. Ahhhh... I just bought her last week in the slave markets at Uruk. She will put me out of business keeping in such good moods as these!"
Ur-Nammu "what leads you to believe we're outfitting a whole expedition?"
Ur-Nammu doesnt know the dealer sold the weapons to the inlanders
Ut-Napishtim looks left
Ut-Napishtim looks right
Ut-Napishtim lowers his voice
Ut-Napishtim "Forgive me, most wise and perceptive elder, if I have erred! I merely assumed from the seriousness of your visage and your comments to the most skilled of fishermen that you were embarking on some punitive expedition with your warriors."
Ur-Nammu bows forward to hear
Ur-Nammu glances sideways at Kur...
Kur "Nothing of the sort. We're just preparing, in case the tales of unrest are true."
Ut-Napishtim bows low
Ut-Napishtim "Of course, of course. I understand."
Kur "You'vn't heard of any other villages preparin' for war, 'ave you?"
Ur-Nammu "our town is not the richest, as you know, esteemed merchant"
Kur squints at the arms-dealer
Ut-Napishtim "In that case, would it be too presumptuous to offer the services of my assistant Nergal? He is strong and young..." <throws a sidways glance at Kur> "...and recently fought in the King of Nippur's mercenary wing. For a few extra dinars he will drill your warriors in battle maneuvers and defense."
Ur-Nammu "but we would very much like to aquire a dozen of those shields, as well as some spears"
Ut-Napishtim "Ninki! Come here girl!"
Ut-Napishtim Ninki emerges once more from the hide hut
Ut-Napishtim "These noble customers whish to buy 12 spears and 12 shields."
Kur scowls at the comment. "He may be young and strong but does 'e take orders proper?"
Ut-Napishtim Ninki produces a clay tablet and a stylus and begins poking away
Ut-Napishtim "That is a price of 4-score and 4 dinars, Master Ut-Napishtim."
Ut-Napishtim counts on his fingers
Ut-Napishtim "Are you sure? I thought it was more!"
Ut-Napishtim "Yes, oh wise master, you are forgeting the discount."
Ur-Nammu smiles discreetly at the slave
Ut-Napishtim "Nergal is a most proper and subserviant captain, by the way."
Ur-Nammu is in over his head, and mops at his brow
Kur "How much for his services? Can 'e train the village boys?"
Ur-Nammu mutters to himself "if the inlanders are as numerous as last time, we could sure use the mercenary..."
Ut-Napishtim "The services of Nergal are a mere 5 dinars a day. Of course, he expects to be fed. But he could have your younglings whipped into a fighting force in less than a week, I'll be bound."
Kur "Five? I'll pay no more than Three, if he's getting food and a bed."
Ur-Nammu "he's right, I'm afraid we cannot afford much more"
Ut-Napishtim shakes his head
Ut-Napishtim "Alas, for less than four the mighty Nergal will take the remainder out of my unworthy skin."
Ur-Nammu shoots a glance at the slave
Kur "Hang on." he says to the weapons dealer, then grabs Ur-Nammu by the elbow and pulls him off a little ways, so the man can't hear them
Ut-Napishtim grinds his teeth together
Ur-Nammu "we need something more to offer him..."
Kur "Most HONORED Ur-Nammu, are you planning to steal away another man's slave for your bed? Keep your eyes on the merchandise, not the girl. The boy, we could use, but if they don't come in a week, we'll have to lead an attack ourselves."
Ur-Nammu "lead the attack..."
Ur-Nammu "oh dear"
Ur-Nammu "as for the slave, I was trying to get some bargaining indications"
Ur-Nammu tries to look dignified
Ur-Nammu "how about we offer the dealer a part of the spoils?"
Ur-Nammu "I mean, if we have to attack anyways..."
Kur "Are you sure you're your father's son? He would never have shied away from leading the village in a rightful attack." He snorts at Ur-Nammu's explanation. "If it comes to that, we'll give this Nergal a part of the spoils as his pay."
Ur-Nammu "just trying to do what's best, you know..."
Ur-Nammu is trying to keep his shit together...
Ur-Nammu "I'll make the dealer the offer"
Ur-Nammu "I am the village chief, after all"
Ur-Nammu turns back to Ut-Napishtim
Kur scowls at the boy, a mere scrap of what his father had been. "Go then. And make your deal." Ever since he'd become chief and exercised his 'right' to take Inanna from him, claiming she 'loved him' or some such nonsense, he had been looking for a way to put the boy in harm's way. Either he'd prove himself, or he'd get what was coming to him.
Ur-Nammu "esteemed Ut-Napishtim" (waves his arms)
Ur-Nammu "I have a proposition"
Ut-Napishtim "Speak, oh voice of wisdom. My ears are in your posession."
Ur-Nammu "say we were to, um, anticipate some of the troubles that could be coming our way"
Ut-Napishtim "I listen, farsighted seer."
Ur-Nammu "would it not be the justest form of payment for your Nergal if we were to give him, and thus, you, a part of any spoils we would most certainly amass?"
Ut-Napishtim looks at Ur-Nammu for a few seconds
Kur looks over at Ut-Napishtim and nods slightly.
Ur-Nammu is sweating...
Ut-Napishtim "I am a cautious man, oh fearless general of warriors. I fear the possibility of your defeat, as tiny and unlikely an event as that might be. It is a sore risk for a humble businessman to take."
Ut-Napishtim looks Ur-Nammu straight in the eye
Ur-Nammu "you would have our eternal gratitude as well, naturally"
Ut-Napishtim "In that case."
Ut-Napishtim "Ninki, bring out the agreement tablet!"
Ur-Nammu sighs with relief
Ur-Nammu goes to sit down, in order to sign the tablet
Ur-Nammu smiles at Kur
Ut-Napishtim Ninki fetches a larger clay tablet with pointy cuneiform markigns on it that say something along the lines of "On this day the 14th of July, 2521 BC, I Ut-Napishtim agree to give to Ur-Nammu, the elder, 12 spears and 12 shields for the price of XXX dinars and a XXX share of whatever spoils he may acquire."
Kur smiles and runs his fingers over an old scar. "You did well, Nammu."
Ut-Napishtim sets his seal in the wet clay and offers it to Ur-Nammu
Ur-Nammu "you see, no problem at all"
Ur-Nammu sets his family seal in the tablet as well
Ur-Nammu "when can you show us this fine warrior Nergal?"
Ur-Nammu now wipes the intricate seal clean
Ut-Napishtim "He will appear in your village early tomorrow morning. There is no time to lose I gather, eh, eh?"
Ur-Nammu "no, no time to lose..."
Ut-Napishtim "His tent lies just that way," - waves down river
Ut-Napishtim "I will take him his price when he returns from hunting this evening."
Ur-Nammu gets up and rearranges his robes
Kur "We will await his coming, to the village then."
Ur-Nammu "oh, um, and, em..."
Ur-Nammu "where did you say you got that Ninki?"
Ut-Napishtim "She comes from the exotic west! Verrrrry expensive. I found her in the slave market at Uruk."
Ur-Nammu "with my share of the spoils, I might go and see there for myself"
Kur scowls again at Ur-Nammu.
Ut-Napishtim bows and grins
Ut-Napishtim "Yes yes, you should definitely do that. Uruk is is an amazing metropolis!"
Ur-Nammu is a fickle man, easily distracted
Ut-Napishtim A few hours later Ut-Napishtim goes to the tent of Nergal
Ut-Napishtim Nergal is tearing into a shank of wild antelope with his teeth
Ut-Napishtim "I have a job for you Nergal."
Ut-Napishtim hands Nergal 10 dinars
Ut-Napishtim "Starting tomorrow you train the young men of the fishing village in warfare. You have 5 days. I'll see to it that the farmers hold off their attack that long. 2 dinars a day is not so much I know, but at least this time they'll be feeding you. I expect you can get them to throw a village woman into the bargain. And if you stay for the fight, they promised you a share of the spoils!"
Ut-Napishtim snickers nastily
Ur-Nammu is sitting in a chair
Ur-Nammu "Hanish has to stay with me"
Nergal is not sitting in a chair
Nergal is looming over everyone
Nergal sounds fairly disinterested.
Nergal is instead busy examining Inanna's bosom
Ur-Nammu "well, um, you see..."
Kur is also standing, though age has made him somewhat smaller than Nergal. His broad chest is still strong from hauling nets. "Yes, Nammu. Tell us why?"
Ur-Nammu is trying not to show he's just doing what his wife told him to
Ur-Nammu "I will need someone around who can relay my orders"
Ur-Nammu "and besides"
Nergal "I can do that."
Kur Inanna keeps her eyes downcast, but she is blushing a little. This man is so much more strong and handsome than any others in the village.
Nergal is thinking, you mean relay MY orders
Ur-Nammu "well, you'll be busy with the townsfolk, obviously"
Ur-Nammu "in the thick of it, as it were..."
Nergal looks at Ur-Nammu and raises an eyebrow
Ur-Nammu "and I'll need someone to watch my back, also"
Ur-Nammu "a personal guard, you know"
Nergal "Are you anticipating that your 12 boys will make a line of battle that will stretch out of earshot? Or do you have a mighty host hidden at the bottom of the river?"
Kur is thinking, you mean relay MY orders.
Ur-Nammu "good point, of course"
Ur-Nammu is a litlle intimidated...
Ur-Nammu "but if something were to happen to me..."
Nergal waves a hand
Ur-Nammu "Hanish would be in command"
Kur "Ur-Nammu, surely you're not thinking of sendin' your subjects off ta fight and staying behind in safety yourself. What would your father say?"
Nergal "These things tend to take care of themselves. This Hanish can stand by you in the battle, it makes no difference to me. However, are you so willing to trust your life to a bodyguard that remains UNTRAINED?"
Ur-Nammu "another good point, of course, but..."
Nergal takes his eyes off Inanna for a minute and spears Ur-Nammu with a firy gaze
Nergal "What I want to know is, who is this woman - this vision of beauty - who listens in on our secret council of war, with downcast eyes, saying nothing!"
Ur-Nammu suddenly becomes very focused...
Ur-Nammu "one of my slaves..."
Nergal grins widly, showing a lot of crooked teeth
Nergal "How... interesting."
Ur-Nammu Sabit says "a half-wit, that one, don't pay attention to her"
Kur Inanna makes the proper sign of obesience to Ur-Nammu. Although she finds herself slightly disenchanted with the warrior's crooked teeth, she cannot help but think he would be more interesting than staying here in this quiet village. Kur sees the slave's gaze and scowls again. She'd used to look at him that way.
Ur-Nammu Sabit says "Nergal, we are paying you"
Ur-Nammu Sabit says "and Ur-Nammu does not want my brother to fight with the simple village folks"
Nergal "That is true. Ostensibly."
Nergal laughs loudly
Nergal "Very well, I will save his poor soft flesh from the spears of the evil farmers."
Ur-Nammu looks ill at easy, as is often the case...
Ur-Nammu Sabit shoots a reproachful gaze at Ur-Nammu
Nergal looks Inanna up and down
Kur "One man might make the difference between winning and losing."
Nergal "Well, is there anything else of vital importance to discuss? Or shall I move on to more... diverting activities?"
Kur "It'll be on yer head if he's that man."
Nergal "Yes Kur. THIS man!"
Nergal thumps his own chest
Kur "Uh huh."
Nergal "It's no wonder your warriors are weaklings, with you lot to lead them."
Nergal "The sun already climbs. I should lose no time starting their morning drill."
Ur-Nammu "just do what you're paid to!"
Nergal moves towards the door, with another lingering look at Inanna
Ur-Nammu glowers at Nergal
Ur-Nammu turns to Kur
Ur-Nammu "who'se side are you on, fisherman?"
Ur-Nammu "I am the chief here!"
Ur-Nammu angrily turns to Inanna
Kur bows stiffly to Ur-Nammu. "I thought you cared for your people, Nammu."
Ur-Nammu "and you: don't you have something better to do?"
Ur-Nammu "I do!"
Ur-Nammu "this is war we are talking about!"
Kur "Saving one man won't save us all!"
Ur-Nammu "I am the one with all the pressure on my shoulders!"
Kur Inanna bows and says meekly, walking out the door backwards, still bowing. "I am sorry, my Master. I will prepare your bath"
Ur-Nammu Sabit says "Kur, your chieftain has spoken..."
Ur-Nammu "ah, yes, I need a relaxing bath...."
Kur grits his teeth, and straightens. "I will be helpin' Nergal train the ones who're willing to fight for you, honored chief."
Ur-Nammu "very well, very well..." (absent-mindedly)
Kur tosses an amulet to the chief. "Here. I've been meanin' to give you my lucky amulet from the last war. Seems this was the only one't worked."
Ur-Nammu is alone with his wife
Ur-Nammu looks at the amulet
Ur-Nammu is brooding alone on his chair now
Ur-Nammu resents his wife talking down to him in public
Ur-Nammu resents Kur talking back to him
Ur-Nammu resents Nergal intimidating him in his own tent
Ur-Nammu resents Inanna blushing at Nergal most of all...
Ur-Nammu tells himself he's the chief, by the gods!
Ur-Nammu needs some kind of plan...
Ur-Nammu could send for the sorceress the dealer was talking about earlier today, and ask her for magic help
Ur-Nammu needs something to pay her with though...
Nergal marches the pathetic band of fisher-warriors onto the flat land just north of the town. The irrigation ditch is on their right, still wet, but much lower than usual due to the mud dam.
Nergal "STAND YOU SONS OF JACKALS" he roars
Nergal "FRONT TWO ROWS, LOWER SPEARS!"
Nergal Eight spears, in two rows of four, lower shakily to point in the general direction of the enemy village
Kur stands to Nergal's right, watching over the training and leaning on his own cane-spear.
Nergal shakes his head
Nergal "We are doomed," he mutters to himself
fishermen "these sure are heavy"
Nergal "RIGHT YOU LOT!"
Nergal "Here's what we're going to do"
Nergal picks out the strongest looking of the fishermen
Nergal "You, what's your name?"
Nergal "YES YOU MAGGOT BRAINS"
Nergal "YOU JUST BECAME A CAPTAIN"
fishermen "Enlil, sir..."
Nergal "All right Captain Enlil. These 3 men are your responsibility
Kur shakes his head. Enlil! A captain!
Nergal They line up in front of you like this:
Nergal digs into the ground with his own spear
Nergal o Enlil
Kur "You would'a done just as well to pick a girl, as Enlil."
fishermen Enlil looks at the others
Nergal And make sure they don't run away!"
Nergal "CAN YOU DO THAT?"
fishermen Enlil spins to face Kur, but thinks better of saying anything
fishermen "yes sir"
Nergal "NOW WATCH EVERYONE!"
Nergal shows enlin how to hold the shield, how to ground his spear, how to lower it, etc.
Nergal lines them up like this:
fishermen Enlil learns OK
Nergal marches them up and down the drainage ditch
Nergal opens and closes their ranks
Nergal charges them
Nergal retreats them
Nergal makes them skip lunch
fishermen "I'm hungry..."
Kur practices his own spear forms, when he's not criticizing the recruits.
Nergal "YOU CAN EAT WHEN YOURE DEAD"
Nergal goes over to Kur
Nergal "This is not going to work. We don't have enough men."
Nergal "Isn't there ANYONE in the village who can use a bow? Or a sling at least?"
Inanna is walking down a nearby path
Inanna has no reason at all to be around this part of the village
Kur smiles slightly at the dire news, then looks solemn again. "Most of em were killed in the same battle that took out the chief. There are a few promisin' lookin' young ones though."
Inanna makes sure Nergal spots her
Nergal waves Inanna over
Inanna pretends to hesitate
Nergal pokes Kur with his spearbutt
Nergal "Take over the troops for a bit, old man. I just had an idea."
Kur slaps the butt away with his own spear.
Kur snorts. "I bet you had an idea."
Nergal goes over to Inanna
Inanna Inanna walks down the path
Inanna slows down so Nergal catches up
Nergal "Listen. We are all going to die here. Well, except for me. I am part god. But unless you want your entire village to get overrun and sacked and you most likely raped by ravening farmers, we need a trick. A strategy to even the odds."
Inanna a... trick?
Nergal "Yes. How many children are there in the village that can hit things with a sling?"
Inanna "I don't think there are many, sire"
Inanna "perhaps it would be wise to plan for defeat...?"
Inanna looks up at him with her gorgeous eyes
Kur sidles over in the direction of the two young'ns and listens in
Kur is, of course, still practicing his rather impressive spear moves.
Nergal is momentarily distracted by this line of thought
Nergal "Hmmm. That is a pleasant idea. However, I mislike the thought of fleeing from farmers. Also, I will acquire a certain amount of wealth from the spoils of victory.". "
Inanna "sire, what says you if I could make sure you got the woman you were promised, even if we lose?"
Nergal "Here is what we will do."
Nergal "Now that I believed already."
Inanna "what if I could promise only if we lose?"
Nergal "But I had a good idea!"
Kur considers that Inanna might be more than she'd seemed.
Nergal looks at her knowingly
Inanna now looks uncertain
Nergal "Is there some particular warrior among the men that you wish to see lose?"
Nergal "It might be worked out that we WIN the spoils of victory, but that HE does not return..."
Inanna "well, sire..."
Inanna "things are not always meant to remain as they are"
Nergal "I think I understand you."
Inanna "the gods willing, even a slave could become a free woman"
Inanna "but Ur-Nammu would never let me go"
Inanna "if we were to win, of course"
Kur stops to wipe the sweat from his brow, watching the 'troops' train, and contemplating how the treachery of Inanna could be turned to his use.
Nergal "Very good! In that case, if we are defeated, await me by the riverside and all will be well.
Nergal "But if we were to win... then things could be much better. For we could be... wealthy. Do you agree?"
Inanna "you perhaps..."
Inanna "I would still be here, a slave"
Nergal "Oh no. I will see to that."
Inanna looks up at Nergal again
Nergal looks down at Inanna
Inanna is serious as death
Nergal 's eyes are lit with fire
Inanna "tell me what I should do"
Nergal "Here is my plan: Gather all the village children. Any that counts himself skilled with a sling, send to the far side of the irrigation ditch. I notice that the Elder's wife has a tent made of canvass. You will have to tear that down. If any question you, tell them that it is done at my command and that their survival is at stake! Cut the canvas into cloaks and give one to each slinger. Tell him to make himself the color of the de
Nergal sert, and then hide until my signal."
Nergal demonstrates by pulling out his short curved copper slashing sword and waving it in the air
Kur listens in on the plan, grudgingly coming to the conclusion that Nergal is not as stupid as he thought
Inanna "sire, I will do as you command, and I will pray to the gods you succeed"
Nergal "Then you must gather all of the women and their fishing baskets. Fill the baskets with damp straw."
Nergal "And gather all the old men of the village to join them. Cut down the poles of Sabit's tent to a cubit's length and give one to each man and woman."
Nergal "If you hold them aloft, from the distance they will appear as spears. When the battle begins, set fire to the baskets. It will appear to the farmers as though a MIGHTY HOST OF DEMONS has marched from the river to join us!"
Nergal "You are now my lieutenant in this war!"
Nergal hands her is signing ring
Inanna takes it and holds on to his hand
Inanna looks into the distance
Dam In the growing darkness, along the riverway to the tower of Shubure, lies an innocuous pile of dirt, sticks and mud. Beyond it, the irrigation ditch that is usually flooded with water to send to the fields holds barely an inch or two of flowing water.
Ur-Nammu is walking towards the dam, clutching an oil-lamp
Ur-Nammu is wondering what the witch will ask him
Dam There is a bridge across the ditch, though it is hardly needed.
Ur-Nammu has to give it to her, whatever it is, because he really needs her help... he can trust no one
Ur-Nammu is too caught up in his thoughts to see the dam now, but he might spot it on his way back to the village
Ur-Nammu sees the witch's tower now
Ur-Nammu walks up to the entrance, and holds his lamp up high
Ur-Nammu "Mighty Shubure, may I enter?"
Ur-Nammu listens to the echo
Ur-Nammu "I have something to ask of you..."
Shubure Eventually, the young chief has come far enough upon the path to see more than the silhouette of the tower. It is tall and dark, arcanely arranged chips of obsidian glittering in the sides, picking up the lamplight and reflecting back like hundreds of eyes. There is a single door, and little else to the observer on the ground. From above, Shubure watches the man from the hidden windows.
Ur-Nammu tries to push the door open
Shubure The door remains stubbornly closed until....
Shubure "Enter." Shubure calls, manipulating a lever from the room 42 steps up the tower. The door clicks and swings open slightly, revealing a spiraling set of shining stairs that reflect Nammu and his lamp.
Ur-Nammu can't help but whimper at the witch's magic
Ur-Nammu "thank you Shubure"
Ur-Nammu hurries up the steps
Ur-Nammu bows deeply to the witch when he comes before her
Ur-Nammu "Shubure, I am honored"
Ur-Nammu "I have heard about you from Ut-Napishtim, the arms merchant"
Ur-Nammu "I would not disturb you if the matter was not of the greatest importance"
Ur-Nammu waits for the Sorceress to aknowledge him...
Shubure reclines in crimson splendor. Tapestries depicting various magics line the wall, and thick red curtains crisscross the room. The floor is covered in pillows, and incense fills the room with a heady musk. "I see." She says, looking at him with a critical eye. "What is this matter of such importance that you did not send a messenger ahead to announce your coming?"
Ur-Nammu kneels in front of the Witch
Ur-Nammu "my life is in danger, Shubure"
Ur-Nammu "and so is that of my village"
Ur-Nammu "please forgive my lack of manners, but there is little time"
Ur-Nammu is very pale now
Ur-Nammu is awed by the tower's alien splendor
Ur-Nammu "mighty Sorceress, the inlanders, they are coming, and they will burn down my town if nothing is done"
Ur-Nammu "this town is mine by right"
Shubure smiles slightly. She rings a tiny bell, and a man enters with tea. He walks with a surety that belies the fact he has no eyes. He bows and presents the tea to them silently. "And so you come to me, as do all men who wish themselves to be great."
Ur-Nammu "I come from a great line of chieftains, ideed" (a little shakily)
Shubure "What are you willing to pay for the honor of keeping your village from the torch?"
Ur-Nammu "as my father has reigned, so do I"
Ur-Nammu "well, I have paid for weapons already..."
Ur-Nammu "and a mercenary"
Ur-Nammu "but he doesn't seem to be as loyal as he was made out to be, you see...'
Ur-Nammu "and Kur, my trusted helper, well, I'm not so sure about him either anymore"
Ur-Nammu "um, to answer your question..."
Ur-Nammu "I come before you as a poor, poor man, begging for your help"
Ur-Nammu buries his face in the thick carpet
Ur-Nammu "I will repay you, a hundred times, if you can help me, I swear!"
Ur-Nammu has tears in his eyes
Shubure smiles. The slave, face veiled except for the place his eyes should be kneels next to her, holding her saucer. She picks up the teacup delicately. "You have little left to offer in return for my power. Your troubles are many. If you win, I wonder if you will be able to repay me even then."
Ur-Nammu "mighty Sorceress, I beg of you..."
Ur-Nammu "I will do anything, anything at all you ask of me!"
Ur-Nammu "please, have mercy!"
Shubure places her hand on the slave's shoulder lightly. "As your father begged before you. Though he had more dignity."
Ur-Nammu "you were kind to him, very kind and mercuful"
Ur-Nammu "has he not repaid you, as he promised?"
Shubure The eyeless man nods, and makes a noise of assent.
Shubure "I am ever merciful."
Ur-Nammu "as the gods themselves"
Shubure "When Ur-Shanabi came to me, desperate to stave off the depradations of the other nations. To save his only son, he pledged his life to my service. In return, I set curses upon his enemies, sent demons to devour them in the night. When he was mortally wounded on the battlefield, I showed my mercy once again, and set a demon to take his place in death."
Ur-Nammu is thunderstruck...
Ur-Nammu 's eyes widen
Ur-Nammu "you mean... my father is alive?!"
Ur-Nammu raises up his head from his kneeling position
Ur-Nammu and slowly recognizes the human-looking creature kneeling at the Sorceress' side
Ur-Nammu 's mouth slackens with terror
Ur-Nammu starts to tremble
Shubure smiles gently. "Oh, yes, Ur-Nammu. He is very much alive. When he awoke in my service, and tried to escape, even then I did not slay him; I only took his eyes. When he spoke honeyed words, to try to convince me to let him tell you that he still lived, even then I did not slay him. I only took his tongue." The man beside her trembles, but does not change his position. "Will you join him? You can be reunited with your beloved father."
Shubure "You can save your people."
Shubure The eyeless slave moans as Shubure's voice carries on in a light tone. "What are you willing to pay?"
Ur-Nammu starts to get up shakily
Ur-Nammu "no.... I can't..."
Ur-Nammu looks at his father, his face contorted by horror
Ur-Nammu "please, is there not another soul you will accept?"
Ur-Nammu "I will give you my eldest son if you ask for him..."
Shubure "I will only accept a soul freely given."
Ur-Nammu cries "I... I cannot!"
Ur-Nammu panicks and runs for the stairs, howling
Shubure 's grip tightens on Shanabi's shoulder as he moves to follow his son. The china crashes to the floor. The door at the bottom of the stairs is open.
Ur-Nammu runs through the door, screaming "NOOOOOO! HEEEEEELP!"
Ur-Nammu runs out into the desert, forgetting his lamp
Ur-Nammu is out of breath pretty fast
Shubure chuckles, pulling the lever that closes the door behind Ur-Nammu. She turns to the slave. "It seems you got to have a family reunion after all."
Ur-Nammu stumbles on, until he drops to his knees next to the ditch
Ur-Nammu sees something in the water, after some time
Ur-Nammu idetifies it as some kind of dam...
Ur-Nammu doesn't remember that dam being there
Ur-Nammu doesn't remember anyone asking to build it either
Ur-Nammu gets up and stumbles on towards the village, dumbstruck
Ur-Nammu 'll figure something out sooner or later though
Inanna is cutting up Sabit's tent
Hanish walks into the village, scuffing up dust
Hanish has just been asked to kill Ur-Nammu by Nergal, in the event that the day of battle goes well.
Sabit stomps to the flap and pushes it open. "Inanna! What do you think you are doing, girl!"
Inanna is considering her options
Hanish walks buy, muttering under his breath
Inanna lowers her eyes, her head and her hands, meekly
Inanna "please forgive me, lady"
Sabit storms over, gaping at the damage the slave girl has caused. "You've ruined my tent!"
Inanna lifts up her arm to fend off the blow that might come now
Sabit grabs Inanna's arm and pulls her forward. "Explain yourself immediately!"
Hanish notices the commotion
Hanish "What's going on, Sabit?"
Inanna "Nergal, the mercenary, asked me to do it"
Inanna eyes Hanish wearily
Sabit "What? The mercenary my husband hired?"
Inanna "he said it was of the greatest importance, my lady"
Inanna "I thought he had your blessing, my lady"
Hanish looks nonplussed
Hanish "Why does he need a TENT?"
Sabit "I was not warned of this, and if I HAD, I would not have agreed!"
Hanish "Isn't he supposed to lead the spears to battle?"
Inanna "my lady, sire, I am terribly sorry for this... I'm sure if we call for the mercenary, he can explain everything"
Hanish suddenly looks uncomfortable
Hanish "I don't see any need for that."
Inanna sees her hopes of freedom in peril
Inanna "but, sire!"
Inanna "I swear those were his demands!"
Inanna "I had only known you disapproved..."
Sabit "It is not your place to deny what Hanish says."
Hanish shifts his weight from foot to foot
Inanna bows again
Inanna feels inside her robes for the ring
Inanna is weighing her options again
Hanish expects that Inanna is not, in fact, lying. He further expects that whatever this tent scheme is, Nergal has cooked it up in connection with his assassination idea. Stopping it could prevent Hanish from siezing power. But does he really WANT to be the chief?"
Hanish "Sabit," he begins, uncertainly.
Sabit "What, brother?"
Hanish "Your husband, may he live forever, Ur-Nammu, did he not hire this mercenary to lead us to victory?"
Hanish "Still, what could he POSSIBLY need a tent for?"
Inanna is fastening her grip on her cutting knife
Sabit rolls her eyes and smiles. "That is what he says. But this mercenary, I haven't heard of him before. He can't be THAT good."
Inanna forgets it's Sabit's knife for a moment
Hanish looks at Sabit, trying to figure out if she's in on Nergal's plan
Hanish knows she has no love for Ur-Nammu
Inanna moves the hand holding the knife behind her back
Hanish looks at Inanna wondering if SHE is in on Nergal's plan
Hanish Or trying to stop it...
Sabit notices the movement, but doesn't quite see what she's got.
Hanish decides that Inanna - Ur-Nammu's favorite slave - is probably on Ur-Nammu's side
Sabit "So tell me how this plan to destroy my tent could possibly help win the war?"
Hanish decides he doesn't like Ur-Nammu; the elder was going to put him in with the spearmen - in the front line, no less, his own brother in law! - until Sabit intervened.
Inanna "my lady..."
Inanna "look, if you please, at the ring" (motions her to come closer)
Sabit hmphs, but leans over to look at the ring.
Hanish crowds in for a look too
Hanish 's eyes widen as he recognizes the mark of Nergal
Hanish does some fast rethinking
Inanna gets ready to stab Sabit...
Hanish "Sabit, I think we should let her go about her business. Nergal has obviously dispatched her on an important erand."
Sabit "Am I supposed to recognize that ring?"
Inanna holds her breath...
Hanish "It is the seal ring of Nergal the mercenary!"
Sabit "Inanna, go fetch him. I will have words with him over the destruction of my tent!"
Inanna releases her breath
Inanna has a trickle of sweat on her temple
Inanna "of course, my lady, at once" she whispers
Inanna turns so she stays between Sabit and the knife
Inanna slowly leaves the tent, curtsying
Sabit "Hanish, do you trust this mercenary? My husband, bless his soul, is not the wisest in the ways of war."
Hanish "Yes, sister, yes I do."
Hanish "Your husband is wise to know his limitations and to bring in this mighty warrior to guide us."
Sabit frowns, but nods.
Hanish looks at Sabit, still wondering
Inanna is going to frantically look for Nergal
Hanish After all, Nergal didn't tell HIM that Inanna was working for him
Hanish thinks to himself, "Maybe we are all on the same side here after all."
Nergal The day dawns bright and clear and deadly; the inlanders have arrived a day earlier than expected. The watchman rouses the fishing village with panicked cries as a mass of armed farmers - unordered (they have no Nergal to lead them) but many and well armed with the wares of Ut-Napishtim - march over the hill north of the village.
Nergal strides about, looking like one of the gods with the sun shining on his bronze helmet and copper disks of his armored cloak.
Nergal crowds the terrified spearmen into their formation.
Nergal "KEEP IN LINE SONS OF DOGS OR I'LL KILL YOU MYSELF."
Ur-Nammu the spearmen believe him
Nergal Off to the left Inanna busily assembles her illusory army and readies the smoke baskets for firing.
Ur-Nammu she's praying to the gods Nergal will be true to his word
Kur stands behind the spearmen in his weathered leather armor, almost as creaky as he. He keeps looking to see if Ur-Nammu is comporting himself well.
Nergal As the day breaks, Ur-Nammu stumbles into the village, wondering what's going on.
Nergal Only hanish, standing well back from the spearmen lined up against the irrigation ditch, notices his appearance.
Ur-Nammu hasn't slept all night
Kur "There you are, Ur-Nammu. Where have you been?" He asks, striding over to the chief. He's been walking better ever since he'd started practicing again.
Nergal Curse Kur
Nergal That was the perfect opportunity to dispose of Ur-Nammu unnoticed - ruined by the old fool's observantness
Ur-Nammu has a crazy look in his eyes
Nergal "STAND YOUR GROUND YOU ROTTING BAGS OF DONKEY DUNG"
Nergal is roaring
Ur-Nammu looks around for his brother-in-law
Nergal His copper sword is hanging by his side still; he whacks anyone who looks likely to step out of line with his spear.
Ur-Nammu "Hanish?" he calls out
Kur "Ur-Nammu! Where have you been? Your people have been wondering if you'd run off to save yourself."
Nergal "I am here, oh husband of my sister."
Ur-Nammu trots forward
Nergal steps forward fingering his dagger, wondering if he can take down both Ur-Nammu and Kur at once
Nergal Kur is old, but he has armor, and his spear work looked intimidating
Ur-Nammu "so we are under attack, as we feared"
Nergal In the background, Nergal orders the spearmen to advance at a walking pace
Nergal "So it seems," says Hanish.
Ur-Nammu "Nergal, how do our chances look?"
Ur-Nammu "And where is Inanna?"
Nergal is about 30 feet away or so
Kur glances over at Nergal and smiles unpleasantly.
Nergal "Our chances?" he yells
Kur Sabit: "This had better work! You owe me a new tent!"
Ur-Nammu is oblivious to the men's glances
Nergal "I would say the chances are good that your cowardly dogs will flee if I don't march behind them to kill the straglers!"
Nergal turns on his heel and heads after the spearmen
Ur-Nammu "see that you do..."
Nergal turns back at the last second and gives Hanish a knowing nod
Nergal hastens on after the spearmen
Ur-Nammu looks around for Inanna
Kur frowns slightly, glancing over at Hanish.
Hanish waves an arm over at the left flank where the "demon" army is bustling about
Hanish "Nergal put her in charge of the women and old men. He has some scheme worked out."
Ur-Nammu turns to see
Hanish takes a step closer to Ur-Nammu
Ur-Nammu "Hanish, you wouldn't believe what I'v been through..."
Hanish "I feared for your safety, oh husband of my sister. What has happened to you?"
Hanish puts his left hand on Ur-Nammu's shoulder, as though about to embrace him.
Ur-Nammu "pray the gods we are victorious"
Ur-Nammu sees Inanna and waves
Kur looks up to the horizon to see the mass of angry farmers growing closer. In their midst is a figure that is familiar, yet not. He seems to tower over the others, leaving the ghost of an image in his path. "Ye' better pray harder... they've got a demon!"
Hanish "Oh yes, husband of my sister, I pray that INDEED."
Ur-Nammu freezes up as he hears those words
Hanish Wiht this last word he stabs Ur-Nammu beneath the fifth rib
Ur-Nammu falls to his knees, clutching his back
Hanish jerks the blade back out and quickly turns to warily face Kur
Ur-Nammu dies like a dog
Ur-Shanabi leads the farmers, clad in black armor. A sword is bound to each hand, and his movements seem forced, slightly slower than they should be as if he is attempting to resist moving forward.
Ur-Shanabi Kur looks up at Hanish in surprise. "I knew there was a plot to assassinate the whelp, but I did not think you would be the one to hold the blade."
Nergal As the farmers and their demon advances
Nergal lifts his blade and waves it, hoping against hope that the slingers have not fled
Sabit sees her husband slump to the ground in front of Hanish
Nergal is rewarded by a shower of stone bullets pelting into the advancing farmers from across the irrigation ditch
Sabit "Gods! Ur-Nammu is dead!"
Nergal A few of them fall, the rest of the disordered mass press on over their corpses.
Hanish "YES SISTER! Is this not what you desired? Now I will rule the village, with you at my side!"
Ur-Shanabi Kur salutes Hanish "Lead the battle, Chief." and runs off to set himself to the defense of the village.
Sabit runs towards Hanish
Sabit "you killed him?" (she seems surprised too)
Hanish Out on the field the line of spears crashes into each other like a wave, with a roar that only thirty or so fisherman and farmers can make
Ur-Shanabi screams, hearing Sabit cry out, and his reluctant steps become fast, ferocious. He plows through the ragged line of spearmen, met with little resistance as they part around him.
Hanish Inanna and her mass of women and oldsters have stopped dead before their smokescreen, unsure what to do now that they are faced by (evidently) a real power of darkness.
Sabit looks at her brother with new respect
Sabit runs back to the defense line
Hanish "I, even I!" declaires hanish.
Hanish picks up his spear and heads to catch up with the battle line
Hanish Better late than never
Ur-Shanabi lifts his swords, heading towards Hanish, making incoherent noises
Nergal The stronger left side of Nerga's midget phalanx pushes forward, while the weaker right side falls back. A whirlwind of dust rises from the battlefield
Sabit reaches the women just as they start to flee
Nergal lays around him with his sword, smiting mightly at the farmers whose cane spears are no match for his armored cape
Nergal On the left flank the women and oldsters flee before the advancing presence of the demon
Ur-Shanabi Kur rallies several of the spearmen, "Kill the demon, or all is lost!" They chase after the man that was Ur-Shanabi, and thrust mightily with their spears! They do little to distract him from his drive towards Hanish, though he is slowed by the one through his leg.
Hanish Running to catch up with the spearmen, Hanish sees the lines part like the red sea as Ur-Shanabi comes charging through. There is only open ground between them.
Hanish plants his feet and his spear and awaits the charge.
Sabit sees Hanish through the dust clouds
Sabit and then the demon, whom she slowly recognizes, to her horror
Ur-Shanabi throws himself on the point of Hanish's spear, the part of him that he can still control wishing for release. The spear tears through his body, and out the other side, as he forces himself forward far enough that his twin swords can reach Hanish's neck.
Hanish 's head rolls in the dust
Sabit screams incoherently!
Nergal Wit the death of both their leaders, and the presence of a demon warrior, Nergal's spearmen begin to throw down their arms and flee.
Sabit runs to the spot where her brother has just fallen, moments before
Nergal realizes that Inanna was right; it is time to escape defeat. Farmers are one thing, but there is no shame in running from a demon.
Sabit collides with the retreating spearmen, but plows on
Nergal turns and sprints after Iranna toward the river
Ur-Shanabi Kur picks up a broken spear, and screams at the demon, who turns to face him. Kur stares, and staggers back, clutching his heart. "It can't be!"
Sabit reaches Hanish's body at last
Sabit in her eldritch tower, far away, the Sorceress smiles cruelly
Sabit sobs, clutching Hanish's headless body
Nergal sees Kur and Ur-Shanabi facing off and wonders if he can get around them to get to Inanna
Ur-Shanabi rips the spear from his leg and throws it away from him. It strikes Sabit, cutting off her sobs
Sabit never saw death coming
Nergal heads past while Ur-Shanabi is killing Sabit
Nergal "Good luck, old man," he calls to Kur as goes by
Ut-Napishtim is eying Inanna's progress from his concealed position in the weeds
Ur-Shanabi Kur: "Ur-Shanabi! My friend! Please, lay down your weapons! Don't you remember me?"
Ut-Napishtim decides to make his move
Ur-Shanabi turns to Kur, the black pits of his eyes seeking the sound of his voice. He opens his mouth and moans, "Krrrrrr" He hesitates for a moment, regaining some control. "rrrrrnnn" He lurches towards the old man, slashing with the swords.
Ur-Shanabi Kur leaps out of the way, stumbling as he lands. He almost catches his balance, then falls. When he looks up, he sees the amulet still around the neck of Ur-Nammu. He crawls towards the amulet, as Ur-Shanabi struggles after him.
Ur-Shanabi Kur grasps the amulet and tugs, but the chain does not break! Quickly, he tries to pull it off of Nammu's head, but the demon is catching up!
Nergal looks back over his shoulder as he flees
Nergal sees Kur about to die and stops
Nergal realizes that he has developed a grudging respect for the old man
Nergal turns back around, draws his sword, and throws it end over end into the demon's face
Nergal turns back around and resumes his race towards Inanna
Ut-Napishtim has grabbed her already
Ut-Napishtim is disappearing into the weeds and the smoke
Ut-Napishtim is definitely putting an end to the slave-girl's dreams of freedom
Nergal "UT-NAPISHTIM! HALT!"
Nergal races after them roaring
Nergal "WHAT ARE YOU DOING UT-NAPISHTIM!"
Ut-Napishtim hears Nergal and looks over his shoulder
Nergal charges on
Nergal "UT-NAPISHITM YOU DARE STEAL THE PRICE THAT WAS PROMISED ME?!"
Ut-Napishtim has hit Inanna over the head with a cudgel, and is carrying her on his shoulder
Ut-Napishtim is moving slowly, but has a head-start
Nergal throws off his helmet and armor so as to go faster
Ut-Napishtim wheezes "damn you..."
Ut-Napishtim finally puts the girl down and turns to face the young mercenary
Nergal crashes into him full tilt, not expecting him to stop
Ut-Napishtim they roll into the ditch
Ut-Napishtim it's full of mud
Nergal gets on top and buries Ut-Napishtim's face in the silt
Nergal "BETRAYER!" he roars
Ut-Napishtim while they fumble around in the water, Inanna's starting to come to
Nergal gives his head a few whacks
Nergal "This is the last time you will ever steal from me, Ut-Napishtim... OR ANYONE!"
Ut-Napishtim is no match for the powerful mercenary...
Nergal holds his head down until graudally Ut-Napishtim stops moving
Ut-Napishtim never had the time to grab the dagger he had up his sleave
Nergal slogs out of the mud and looks around for Inanna
Kur give the amulet one last tug
Kur finally has it!
Kur gets up, covered in blood
Kur the demon is swinging wildly, his head run through by Nergal's thrown sword
Kur "forgive me, old friend..."
Kur lifts his weapon with one hand, clutching the amulet in the other
Kur whispers the words of dark power, and slashes at the demon, closing his eyes
Kur the demons shrieks, and time stand still
Kur when Kur opens his eyes again, the body is gone...
Kur "farewell, my friend"
Nergal grabs Inanna's arm and pulls her along towards the river. He has a boat hidden there if he can just get to it... they go skidding down the bank to find the boat waiting for them, rocking gently in the current. Ninki is sitting in it, smiling at them with glowing eyes. "Hello my children," she says. "The sorceress will be so glad to see you."
Ninki 's hypnotizing gaze is too much for the exhausted pair
Shubure needs new minions