Jabur rubbed his nose with the back of his hand, then swatted at an insect buzzing in his face. It was the first discernable movement he had made in over 15 minutes. Jabur was a Neve, a small form of mutated human who had long ago migrated from earth. Although small, even for his race, he was exceptionally strong, intelligent, and had a very good memory. This made him an ideal Taker. A Taker was originally a person who took what they wanted, such as a thief or a warrior. In his case he was a paid Taker, akin to the guards or mercenaries of old earth. He was paid by the Talkers, or politicians, to guard the mother tree.
Jabur stood his silent vigil in the east fork of the south branch of the Nevenan Mother Tree, one of the largest and most prestigious Mother Trees on Battlegraud.
Clad in a green hooded cloak to blend in with the foliage, he sat in the woven basket designed just for that purpose. Holding his bow ready, he watched the skies and the ground for any signs of movement.
A Mother Tree was an enormous tree so huge, that each tree could support an entire human colony. Long ago, during colonization, predators had killed many of the planet’s new settlers. Out of necessity the population took to the trees. It was soon found that the Mother Trees, the largest of all indigenous trees, was wonderfully suited for this purpose. It’s huge strong limbs, some a mile long and 50 yards across, could support an entire community with very little modification. Since the Mother Tree used much of the resources in the area, the Mother Trees had naturally spread out symmetrically, each claiming it’s own large territory. This, in turn, spread the human communities across the planet equally. Each Mother Tree provided food and water to the community, through it’s sap and rain runoff, and food through nuts and a myriad of fruited hanging parasitical vines. Farmers supplemented this food with crops designed to grow beneath the huge branches. They provided grains and vegetables, while the hunting Takers provided meat and fish.
The tinkle of female laughter drew Jabur’s attention to the river. Far off he could see the sparkle of white, female bodies as they took their afternoon bathes. The young adult females were bathing at this time, as usual. And they seemed to be vying for his attention. It had been the same for over a month, since he took over sentry duty on the south branch.
Jabur looked around self-consciously, then picked up the field glasses hanging from the stub of a branch near his elbow. He adjusted the glasses until he had focused in on the naked females. One looked in his direction, even as he watch. She covered her mouth and giggled, while pointing at him. He realized that the flash of the field glasses had given him away. Nevertheless, they continued their lewd and encouraging conduct. Nessay was washing the back of Bandy, one of his fellow Takers. Jabur felt his cock grow hard as Nessay reached around Bandy’s back and grabbed each firm cone in one tiny hand. Bandy was exceptionally shapely and beautiful. If Jabur was interested in pairing, at his young age, he would certainly consider Bandy. But on a planet where a pairing could last for more than 800 years, a pairing was not taken lightly. Coupling, on the other hand, could take place at the drop of a hat, especially between people below the normal breeding age of 90. Even as he watched, Bandy turned and gave Nessay a full lipped kiss. Nessay raised Bandy to her feet and placed her mouth on her small tight-lipped pussy. She nuzzled and licked, while Bandy bent over her head and rubbed her wet hair. Bandy’s face was twisted with emotion. Nessay broke contact and spoke. Bandy changed her stance, spreading her legs much wider.
Nessay tipped her head back and applied her lips to Bandy’s pussy. Bandy jerked and cried out, her face twisted in passion until it was almost unrecognizable. The other girls turned to watch. Some took their cue and moved together, some laughed and looked on, and others simply watched in interest.
Jabur was getting desperately horny. Licking his lips he leaned forward, sharpening his focus on Bandy’s tits, and Nessay’s bobbing head. Then, to his horror, he watched as they suddenly stood and moved off into the bushes.
“You little tease,” he mumbled, cursing himself for being so gullible. His glasses went to the other girls. It was a pool of delicious female flesh now withering and moaning in delight. The Sachans would love to get their hands on them, he realized. Remembering the seriousness of his duties, he put the glasses back and continued his watch. But his thoughts centered on Bandy. What a girl!
The Sachans were rumored to be at war on this side of the Blue Knife mountain range. The Sachans were a violent race consisting of only Takers. Coming from the great yellow desert where there were no Mother Trees, they raised no food, they reaped no harvest, they simply took, living off the hard work of others. Jabur was determined not to let this happen to his tribe. He must keep his mind on his duties.
A movement in the sky, far off toward the blue mountains, caught Jabur’s attention. He turned to see a huge Shiny approaching. Luckily, he recognized the Shiny as that of a friend. It flapped it’s yellow wings effortlessly, then glided forward, slowly losing altitude as it approached the Mother Tree. It had a red chair strapped to it’s back. It was a carrier of great importance.
“Mother Rush returns!” Jabur yelled down to the workers below. In a moment a large group of Talkers poured from the trunk of the Mother Tree and spread to await the arrival of Mother Rush. Rush was important, she was a Talker, like the important men of the tribe below, but she was also a witch. Even the Sachans were afraid to anger her. She was from Neverpool, a famous prosperous tribe who lived just south of Nevenan.
The Shiny descended in a slow spiral. Rush’s Shiny was unique, it had a red slash across it’s feathered throat as if it had been cut by a knife. This, according to Rush, made it special, magical.
“Make way,” Rush yelled, waving for the onlookers to move away from the landing pad. Doers were slow-witted and docile. They would work all day on a bowl of rice and a slab of meat, but they couldn’t think for themselves. They did what they were told, but tended to move slowly and do stupid things.
Talkers and Takers were far more intelligent. Jabur was a Taker, a Taker paid to protect the tribe. Talkers governed the tribe and oversaw the work of the Doers. It was possible for Jabur to rise to the rank of Talker, as he grew older and gained more wisdom. But he still had 200 hundreds years of youth before he had to worry about that.
“News, Father Alliace,” Rush yelled as the Shiny landed and settled it’s wings with a slight shake. Rush was helped down from her chair. She turned and looked at the faces around her. Her gaze lingered on Jabur. He was considered a good looking male, even in his own community, but that was not why she was interested.
“What news, Mother Rush?” Alliace asked, returning her attention to him. Jabur could see the jealousy in his old blood-shot eyes. Rush was not Alliace’s mother, Mother was a term used for any female who had given birth, as was the term Father, given to any male who had fathered a child. Jabur was just Jabur, since he had no children. Alliace had high hopes of allying with Rush.
Jabur moved closer so he could hear the news, intentionally standing close to Rush to further infuriate Alliace.
Like the other, Jabur dreaded war, but at the same time he was fascinated by it. War was exciting, and there was little excitement in a farming community like Nevenan. Also, war brought booty, female slaves, wealth, and glory. Jabur was unpaired, he could use an exciting female slave. It was rumored that the Sachans were famous for beautiful, high-spirited women.
“The worst, I’m afraid. The Sachans have invaded south of the Blue Knife range. They have attacked three Neve communities, Neverban, Nevelfar, and Nevemata. They…” she paused, swallowing quickly. “They set fire to the Mother Trees,” she finished with a hiss. The resulting uproar caused a pause in the conversation. Even the dull-witted Doers were screaming in outrage. Rush finally lifted a hand so she could speak.
“They are heading in this direction. I am here to organize your Takers, to ally with the other Takers and confront them at the river with the Neve battalion. We believe that a strong show of force can stop them there. I have organized Shinys for transportation,” she called, pointing behind her. Jabur’s hair bristled at the sight of a hundred chaired Shinys in the air to the east. It looked like an invading army. Jabur raised his bow nervously.
“Remain at ease, Taker,” Rush said, seeing Jabur’s movements. “They are friends, Jabur,” she said with a slight smile. Jabur heard Alliace’s hiss of annoyance. Jabur suddenly realized that Rush had used his personal name. He was honored. Was she truly interested in him, or simply trying to annoy Alliace? A pairing with Rush would make him a leader among his own people and many other close Neve tribes. He would rule Alliace, in a sense. He liked that idea. On the other hand, Rush as at least 200 years older than himself. Jabur was almost a child, he had just turned 30. Also, Rush had hinted many times that he had the makings of a witch, at some time in the distant future. It usually took hundreds of years for a witch talent to show. Two witches rarely paired, as their powers often conflicted. Of course Alliace didn’t know this.
Jabur gasped as Rush’s mind invaded his mind. Tendrils of thought touched different parts of his body. Her thoughts centered on each area associated with a body part and stimulated it briefly, before moving on to another. First his nipples began to tingle and he felt them grow hard, as if he were a girl. Second, he felt his ass being stimulated, or rather invaded. The intense warmth spread throughout his body. Before he could adjust to this embarassment, he felt her mind probe his cock, stiffening it and mentally stroking it until he was on the verge of an orgasm.
To the others, Jabur simply gasped and stiffened. A few noticed his stiffened cock, but did not mention it. In reality only seconds had passed. For Jabur, it seemed as if she had touched him for hours. He felt her gentle mental fingers touching him everywhere, and could do nothing about it.
Finally her mind rested for a moment on his memories and conscience, then disappeared. There was a warm area where Rush’s mind had been. Jabur knew why he had been probed. Besides teasing him, for which she was famous, she was testing his courage, physical strength, and honesty. He knew this because it happened frequently. She called it keeping him honest. She smiled knowingly, signifying that he had passed her little test — and that she had enjoyed it.
“Rush will lead your army,” she said with a finality which brooked no argument. Alliace’s mouth opened and closed, like a fish out of water. He wanted to scream his outrage, his own son was a Taker. But he knew better. Rush would simply make him look foolish in front of the entire village. Jabur wasted no time.
“Takers, front and center!” Jabur screamed. Several dozen men and women, including Alliace’s son, ran forward and formed into a solid line. He counted the number of swords, bows, and spears. He had more than enough for his plan. Jabur had mentally planned for such an event for many years and now he could put his plan into action.
“Three lines,” he commanded. “Spears to the fore, swords in the middle and bows in the rear,” he yelled, pushing several people into place.
Doers ran screaming as line after line of Shiny landed in the nearby field.
“Find an appropriate Shiny and mobilize in this order,” he yelled, waving his small army forward.
“The Sachans have no fliers,” Rush whispered from his elbow. “It will be an infantry battle.”
“I will keep the bows aloft to fire down upon their army,” Jabur said, fearing that she would find this cowardly. She nodded slowly.
“Such a move would demoralize their army and minimize our casualties,” she acceded.
“My thinking,” Jabur agreed.
“Of course you will need the approval of the General. Do it if you can, and don’t misplace my trust.”
“Never,” Jabur said with a dashing smile. He felt more alive at that moment, than he had at any other time in his life. He might be dead by nightfall, but today he would live.
“Onward to glory!” he yelled the traditional Neve battle cry. The Shinys rose almost simultaneously. The blur of wings and dust was awesome. The Neve felt invincible. Jabur looked down at the awed village and his chest thrust out in pride.
Three days later, exhausted, beaten, and demoralized, Jabur watched the remainder of his army form at the rear of the huge formation of the Neve battalion. Almost 100,000 warriors stood in front of his own small column. He had now lost half of his Takers, and still the Sachans continued to come, continued to attack, continued to win. Jabur had reported to Ladax, the general of the armies and been ordered to the rear. Rush stood next to General Ladax and did her best to defeat the enemy with magic. Jabur’s bowmen were ordered down to the ground, and the Shinys were sent off to other duties. Jabur watched in frustrated anger, as wave after wave of Sachan armies rushed forward to attack and slaughter their people.
Again they fought, and again they lost. Seventeen Sachan Takers broke through to his lines, killing five more of his Takers. Trudging back to their area, he looked at the worn faces of the few who remained and shook his head sadly. Ten men carried stretchers with the dead back toward their camp. In a few more engagements the remaining women would have to help. Two women had been killed only minutes before. Twelve men and four women remained. How many more?
“Don’t misplace my trust,” Rush had said. Well he had no choice, each time he tried to discuss his plan with the General, the General ordered him back to his Company. When would he learn that traditional fighting was not going to work against the Sachans. The Sachans had destroyed half the planet. The Neve would be next. The Sachans were not as polite as two warring Neve tribes might be. They did not observe the rules, they took no prisoners. Ladax would have to change, to meet the new threat. Traditional methods were not working.
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