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The Barbarian, continued

Chapter 2 A month after the groups were reunited, Shelar bore forth a son. The couple were immensely proud, naming the newborn Senus, meaning “serenity in the midst of chaos”. A stoic child, Senus rarely cried; rather, grunts and one syllable utterances relayed his hunger or any other need. Six months passed. All the families working together had completed their little underground village. One morning, Thelis went out to draw water from the well. When he didn’t return, Rangor sent Kentur to find him. A yell from the courtyard brought all the men forward, each having drawn their weapons. “Father, no!” Kentur tried to warn them before they emerged, but to no avail. One by one, arrows pierced them as they emerged. *      *       *       *       *       * The Nomads had been moving across the sands, double file at a leisurely pace, and were surprised when the scouting slave came running back to inform them of the evidence of a small populace. They’d spurred on, and the slave led them to the edge of the large sunken courtyard. A young man came out of the opening on the south wall, but a quick thinking archer silenced him before he could alert any who could be inside. Of the 50 men, fifteen archers positioned themselves at the rim while seven descended into the excavation. Another youth emerged and was captured, but not before he could call for help. Upon hearing the commotion from inside, followed by the distinctive clang of weapons…

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The Barbarian, By John T. M. Herres

Chapter 1 The yellow sands of the Shandan Desert stretched from horizon to horizon, desolate and bleak. The hot, arid wind seemed always from the south, sometimes easing the grains of sand across the dunes, but more often hurling them with enough force to feel like tiny pins pricking incessantly at any exposed skin. Five figures moved through the nothingness that surrounded them. The three mules they led forged along, heads lowered, not even willing to voice protest with the granules so abundant. Each beast bore supplies and equipment for the task the men had planned, and each bundle had grey and brown hides covering them. The lead man, wrapped in dingy, white robes adorned with dull red accents, abruptly stopped and fell to his knees, then laid his hands to the scorching ground. His magic had not all been taken away by the forces of the Red Griffin. As he clenched the granules in his fists, another approached and spoke the first words any had uttered in days. “Tambur, is this the place?” They had been traveling due east for two weeks, waiting for some sign to tell them their search was finished. “Yes, my brother. I sense it.” His eyes still closed, Tambur held out his hand to receive a wooden spade. The three younger men, who had been waiting away from them, rushed forward to help begin the digging. “We must scoop out the sand eight feet down and twenty feet wide,” Tambur told them. “There, we…

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