The Statue In Mammoth Short Beyond the Black Sea Fiction
Ivar didn’t know the woman. Her wry smile and flashing eyes, curly black hair spoke of a Stygian or Canaanite. She had bronze skin; her dark lips maybe had a Pictish origin. “Ummm Ten silver ingots no more Cimmerian she coughed. The guttural sound was odd and didn’t at all match her features of the language of Canaan. Ivar, a simple man from north east of the Black Sea, was standing at least a foot above her, holding the tusk of a mammoth in his brawny hands. His short black hair, ice blue eyes clean shaven face and smooth tanned skin gave away his origins all too plainly. Clearly she meant to cheat him, ivory of this quality hacked from the living skull of a Mammoth was worth far more than ten silver ingots. “I can make this into a fine carved idol of your god Baal for you, or a statue or some other precious item. I know that this is worth ten times the amount you say woman. Give me a fair price I wish to drink and eat.”
“You foolish brute, I would not think a Northman such as yourself would be capable of carving anything. You don’t even have cloths. But, should you carve this for me and attend to some other vices of mine. I will give you 500 ingots of silver.” Her brown eyes flashed and she licked her lips tussled her hair trying to distract the Cimmerian. “My name is Lilania and I hold power in this city, the next time you call me woman I will cut out your tongue.”
Lilania lead the Cimmerian away through narrow alleys until she arrived at a large mud brick building with white lime wash, and a parapet with a ladder made of sturdy timber fixed to the wall. She quickly climbed the ladder her yellow and red chiton hitched up to the side exposing her thighs and calves. Her top was yellow with red geometric designs and around her neck she wore the symbol of Baal Alaakum the god of the city, two gold disks with a crescent above. The Cimmerian climbed, his loin cloth made of fur and his bundle of skins slung across his back. The crystal dagger in his girdle and large two edge sword made of hardened bronze on his back. He mounted the top of the parapet and saw the woman opening a trap door in the flat roof. “Thieves abound in this city, especially trying to rob me of my trade goods.” Welcome to my home and place of business.
The room was large at least ten paces across. The floor was covered with fine carpets made of wool or flax the Cimmerian could not tell. A fire burned in a spherical hearth made of bronze. All around were metal items, bronze mirrors, silver goblets, copper ingots stacked high in a crate. A bubbling weird black iron cauldron hissed and popped. Her slaves were here too a small Canaanite woman with short cut brown hair and green eyes worked some form loom, a beautiful Galli woman with long braided light brown hair and blue eyes was skilfully painting a vase in swirls, circles and braids of her homeland far to the west, a large black skinned Dogon man, his tribal marking and proud features marked him as a warrior of ten years, he was a long way from the Barbary and was probably the bodyguard of the merchant. The wealth of the merchant was staggering.
Gold and gems adorned the alter of Baal. So much metal the Cimmerians eyes widened at the site of it. “Come Cimmerian I will show you my workshop”
Lilania lead Ivar through to another adjoining smaller room in this room the roof was more open, he could see the sky. A granite forge with bronze tools was arrayed before him, along with many other benches and work-spaces. The woman grabbed wet clay and skilfully fashioned a statue of Baal. Carefully etching in the geometric magical symbols, the priests revered. She carefully and patently showed the Cimmerian every aspect of the statue he was to carve.
“See Cimmerian, like this the symbols must be perfect.” She coughed.
“I understand Lilania, I will carve the idol for you”
Ivar began his work the next day after eating a meal of dried fish, bread and an apple prepared by the young Canaanite slave girl Leeta. He began clearing his work area and selecting tools, so many good fine bronze tools for him to work with. He took his time examining the dry statue and began to find the form within the mammoth tusk.
Ivar had been working for a week now, the statue was lifelike, taking the form of Baal. Lilania had been pleased and been more friendly with Ivar. The Cimmerian learned that she had a Pictish mother and father of mixed blood who had lived for a long time. She herself was over one hundred years old and looked barely thirty. She knew sorcerer and numbers and that was her main trade, as a seer and necromancer she had learned Stygian secrets. He found a charm in her raspy husky voice. The Cimmerian enjoyed the company of the slave girl from Gaul. Her culture had many similarities with his own, but she was far more artful and skilled in painting and drawing. A few times she had helped him with the carving outlining the runes for him. He learned some of the local languages quickly, in the house they mostly spoke Canaanite, but used a few Pictish, Gaelic and Stygian words.
The next week was the slow finishing of the statue, rubies, silver gold and orichalcum were added carefully as inlays. The idol took on a life of its own now, the artwork impersonating the god. Ivar was please and showed Lilania, she viewed it shrewdly carefully examining it and squinting her eyes.
“This is good, who would think a barbarian from the wilds could handle tools with such skill and make such an item as this.” Lilania then took the idol wrapped it up, produced a pouch of some silver ingots. Now, lets see how you fight. I suspect the guards of the merchant that I will sell this too will try to take it. He is a dirty Sygian from far away. If I give this motion, she placed her hand on her forehead you and Enlu will attack his guards. “Do you understand Cimmerian?” she coughed “I understand, my name is Ivar and you know that witch.” His muscled had tensed at the insult, and then she saw that she was playing again, which she did with all the people she met. “I will deal with the merchant” she said, and the servants and his house will be mine. But maybe he will pay the price I asked and we will not need to use your Barbarian skills.
The dust had been kicked up the wind as they walked down the street, the Cimmerian noticed that many of the people of the town shut their doors as the woman walked towards them. They obviously were afraid of the sorcerer. Ivar had seen no evidence of magic or sorcery except the many idles and items she carried. The statue was wrapped in a fine red cloth, of exception weave.
The house they approached was similar to her other houses didn’t have holes in the roof, what made these ones different. As if to answer his question, Lilania explained “Long ago, the town was Pictish and this was the method of construction, we had no laws to govern our behaviour, my fathers father came her and taught them how to forge bronze. The town grew up around us, the house we are going to is another ancient, he came from the east some thousand years ago. The Picts he lived with are all dead, but his descendants remain. He comes from Lemuria, and you will see why he may betray us soon enough. Don’t be afraid Cimmerian, there are far worse than he in this world.”
All three of them climbed the ladder quickly, Lilania kicked the trap door pounding on it with her boot. Ivar saw that she had a obsidian dagger in her belt carved in strange Stygian symbols. Enlu had a two short stone bronze spear and a shield of cow hide and wood on his back. The trap door was opened and they descended into the house, this one had walls covered in crude paintings of aurochs, horses and crocodiles. A fire was burning in a stone hearth. The merchant had five Pictish warriors, their stone spears and hides covered their small broad frames. The Lemurian was strange his yellow skin and long blonde hair and red eyes and tall conical elongated skull gave him a grim appearance. His delicate frame was almost insect like in its movements. He stooped, towering over the Picts though his bones appeared far more delicate, a human of a bygone age. The Cimmerian wondered what things he had seen in his long life, and if he knew that he would meet his fate at the hands of the Canaanite witch.
“Lilania, I see you have a new guard with you. Did you bring me what I asked for this time, or cheep trinkets?” The Lemurians serpentine tone and soothing voice showed confidence in his position, a mistake because the Cimmerian had already planned to kill the first two Picts, as soon as the signal was given. He was already inching his way subtly forward to swords reach. The sword was on his hip this time.
Lilania revealed the statue, and the Lemurian shrewdly reviewed it, she turned it over in her hands rolling her fingers across it.
“Lilania you have outdone yourself this time, this looks like it may match my specifications however. I must see if it is accepted into the ritual you understand of course.”
She gave a little nod of head, and handed him the statue which he then placed on an alter which had a cloth of a red gold metal. The Cimmerian had never seen such a wonder, how could you make a weave from metal?
He lifted up a strange green bag and affixed a bracelet to his wrist. He spoke magical words and viewed the bracelet light flighted on the bracelet in many colours. A strange voice came out of the bracelet speaking a weird language.
“We have an agreement; the navigator agrees it will serve my purpose. I shall give you 1 ton of black earth from my farms, and the seeds of the future. Plant them and feed the people of Canaan for 10,000 years.”
“We have an agreement Shu, let us drink wine and eat the flesh of birds.”
The two sorcerers drank wine from strange goblets. The Barbarian could see through the walls of the goblet to the liquid within. Never had he seen such a thing. What wonders did these sorcerers have, the strange devices and knowledge.
He had travelled far in all his days, seen the great city of Zar’Grim, Sailed the Aegean, learned of the existence of many metals including the ancient Atlantean metals of Steel and Orichalcum, but the wonders in that ancient Pictish room he dreamed of for many days.