@brian hahaha fuck that. I intend to stay so fresh, so clean.
But alas another update. I'm actually updating faster than I should so no update next week I need to clean this one up and do more research. My primary resource for this scene and scenes to follow was The Soul of Kazakhstan by Alma Kunaby. In addition there was Huun Huur Tu though it was of Mongolian influence and the pictures of Ai Xuan being a Chinese artist depicting scenes from Tibet but I always liked them and I saw no reason not to include them artistic license being what it is. When I wrote Things Fall Apart I made several journeys to Ukraine to get to know the people and the culture and the country firsthand and in the year or two to follow from now I'll do the same in traveling to Kazakhstan after which these scenes will in all likelihood change radically. My research into the Ural mountains helped extensively in depicting the landscape and google maps is truly an invaluable resource in that it lets you actually see the land but there is something indubitably lost in translation that can only be appreciated after first hand experience. The old saying goes that its like seeing the grand canyon on a postcard as opposed to seeing it in person.
Two days later there was smoke. Four tilting columns stood from below the horizon and terminating against a resplendent lamellar like overcast side shined by the sun. She followed to find the smoke sources obscured from sight behind a coppice of willow trees and from that sight kept until a favorable dark overlaid the country whereupon she crept through the feather on her elbows to the trees edging an arroyo not thirty yards from the encampment. She crawled through gnarled knuckled roots into a niche in the embankment directly under the trunk of a tree. There was just enough space to sit if leaned forward and the bottom was slick with mud.
Before dawn was the scouts departed and an hour later the tuqim emerged of their dwellings. They were Kazakhs. A race of mongoloid physique and pale yellow complexion. Lately arrived to their quitsu a hundred souls and their animals. Dachni peered through the roots.
They went about their chores. The women mending the felt covers of the gers or sewing new clothes fabricating jewelry. Some prepping goats for slaughter. The animals standing against barrels with neck elongated in petrification at the shedding of the blood. Others who drained the udders of cows, squeezing the teats with hands as leathery as the teats. And new mothers dandying progeny so bedecked in finery that they appeared the ventriloquial figures of puppeteers and farther out young men tended sheep and elsewhere a huddle of youngsters played asyks in the dust.
Sometime around noon when it had warmed a little a group of women brought their children to swim in the muddy waters. Among them was a girl of perhaps seven years who sat apart of the games of her friends scrubbing the dead skin from her soles with a pumice stone. She wore a gem necklace of marbles, opal and zircon and lapis and pearl and she refused warmly with a smile from time to time various invitations to play and when the mothers called them in she stood in perfect elegance and the water drained off her tawny thighs and breast like a ribbed cutting board in innocent licentiousness. Dachni spat.
The scouts returned in the late afternoon. Big men dressed in furs against the cold. They dismounted in camp and secured their horses and camels to ropes strung betwixt the crowns of four yurts and delivered their reports to a long bearded elder who had come out to greet them.
It was evidently good news for a feast was held that night in the qara uy, the gathering tent. The whole tuqim was invited and there were no guards. Dachni crawled front first out her den and likewise slid down to the bank and crossed where it was shallowest and climbed up the far acclivity and made her way to the qara whenceforth emanated the elder's declaiming and when she unseamed the zhabu with her knife she could see him through the lattice standing by the tor.
He was brandishing an enormous saber in a great ceremony of parceling three plattered goats to his lieutenants and their kin in the order of their rank and what came next by women were steaming bowls of et and pilaf and then came kvass and then came vodka. Tendrils of their steam slipped out the cut and they smelled wonderful. The feast commenced and with it a hopeful chattering, a cautious mirth. Musicians produced the horsehead and the dombra and in short order a lively tune was set up. Dachni watched. The greasy fingers. The jaws working tiredly but not without joy. She watched a babe in the crook of arms, the hands brushing its first wispy hairs, its mother cooing.
Surveying the abundance she noticed two men looking towards her. She froze that their attentions might pass on but then one pointed and she dashed back and went careening through the hung tears of the sallow and plumb out over the arroyo where gravity crashed her down to the ice. She rolled upright dripping and scrambled up the bank to her hole and took an aim. The floorplate rattled in its housing and her dilated ventricles hammered such sanguineous acid against her polished ribs that she put a hand to keep that fiery systole in thrall.
A minute later the heavy woven flaps of the qara flared outwise and a man emerged holding a bowl. He helloed the night and she sighted in on him and he called a second time and receiving no answer walked to the edge of the camp and set the bowl down and went back inside.
She bided a few minutes more that any other would come but none did nor had the festival suffered interruption only there now was a plaintive dirge haunting the steppe. She could barely make out the bowl and was it poison and would she die. In the end she kept to her place and when the feast had concluded and the tuqim leaving for their homes her witnesses came with the elder to see had their offering been accepted and they studied the night and she thought they might call out but they turned away.
She waited until the early of morning before the sun was up to sortie out again. Back to the qara where she peered through the cut to discover the feast cleared away. Not even a crumb. She slinked through the camp keeping to the deeper shadows and yet forcing casualness of gait that she might convince any who perchance glimpsed her that she belonged. Who would it have fooled? This mechanical jerking of a doll. She moved yurt to yurt putting an ear to the rough felt to hear what transpired inside. Snoring and bad dreams. No exceptions.
At the pens she prodded awake the sheep and the humps of wool shuddered like agitated cumulus and baahed at her and the goats bleated and tried to eat her sleeves. She walked along the horses. By and by she came to one that did not fit. A camel. She studied it a full minute before deciding this thing did not belong in god's right order. Or any order. She fetched it a halfhearted kick in the belly and it craned its long neck to face her and went blub blub blub with its fat tongue aloll out the side of its mouth like a bloated placenta and it hawked a foamy spit dead in the center of her forehead.
Aghhhghgoooahh, she cried flying away. She stood out range moaning and cringing while the spittle ran down the bridge of her nose. She gathered a handful of dust and powdered her face and wiped the spit away and dusted her face again. By now someone was coming to investigate the noise. Dachni ducked into the nearest yurt. She turned and faced the entrance with the rifle held at her hip. She could hear the handler calming the sheep. Then she heard him walk away.
She turned to find herself in a room dimly suffused by the light of a hearth fire in its center. The interior was laid over with a multitude of shyrdaks and divided by curtains strung from the iyiq. To her right she could hear the sonorous slumber of the old and to her left a young woman fitted in sleep.
Dachni drew back the curtain. A woman was curled fetally under blankets and her fists were clenched and her eyes squeezed shut. She stood over her. Before she knew what she was doing she was on the floor beside her. She lifted the blankets and wormed up to her. She didnt know what to do. She stared at that painted face. That's breath smelt of milk. That's brows were full of sweat. She hugged herself to her and laid her head against her bosom and listened to the frightened lungwork mayhaps carrying the breath of god yet.
When she woke her arms were empty and it was day. She rolled onto her back and stared up at a ring of faces staring down.
Oh, she said. Heydee.
крови Блеск, commented a woman as if in warning. They way some would point out a snake.
Иә, agreed another.
Ол жалғыз, said the woman she had slept the night with.
Well jest ta git on ta go, said Dachni sitting up. She glanced at the legs encaging her. Jess gahnna git on. Ok.
One of the women picked her up under the arms and set her on her feet.
олар аттары бар ма?
Сіздің атыңыз кім?
Dachni cocked her head at them. Что?
The women gasped loudly in unison.
Она говорит на русском языке. Трахни ее.
A rough looking woman reached down and stroked her hair. It stuck in clots of blood.
ның оған ваннаға келтірейік.
They walked her out into the brisk air. She held her things to her breast in stony fear like some girl child evicted from a home. The sun was hardly up. One of the older women kept spitting into a cloth and scrubbing a paler face out from under the grime and blood and Dachni squirmed and went, Uwahhg.
They brought her to the arroyo and she was taken by either wrist and lowered to the bank. They gathered round her tugging at the hem of her shirt or trying to loosen her belt. She slapped at their hands and an elderly female whopped her headtop with the welt of a blucher. Dachni looked embarrassed. She set her things down on the bank and leaned her rifle on them. Then she undressed.
Her clothes peeled off and she was deathly thin. A vicious avatar of starvation condemned to wander the earth insatiate and unsound. The clothes pooled at her feet heavy and wet like skins freshly flayed.
Құдіретті Құдай Жақсы.
Dachni stepped away from the clothes wearing only her boots mended, apprentice cobbler she is as is to other trades, with the faces of her enemies stretched over the vamp and she kicked those off and star stood scarred toe to crown with a thousand fine channels of gash like the streams of valleys. A farrago of damascene woundings. Twists of scratches wound about her nares and small clips had gouged flesh out her nailless fingers, in her palms. A thumbprick aureole half absolved into a fishooked cicatrix, the whole of her quarrons like some brutal topography, a frail etiolate munda nursed by darkness, wicked distaff of some ossean fighter escaped Mirovia's currents, same ocean ever as was, and the buffed outcroppings of spine and shoulder and rib weathered of their topflesh by the showers of ninetails and the shortribs alow her heart painted each with a tableau dually reminiscent of Apache depictions of the hunt and the Teutonic tradition of the danse macabre and her inner thighs were slaked to the heels with a flaking strata of menses burgundy black and imperial.
The jaws of the women had levered down. They had soap and cloth but they would none go near. Dachni put a hand to her clavicle and looked at the turgid water running quietly. She looked at the silver garrotees hung from her fingers by the chain.
бойынша өтіңіз, said one of the women handing her the cloth.
Dachni took it and waded in to her knees. The mud seeped through her toes. It was freezing. She wet the rag and worked up a lather and began washing herself while the women watched in rows like a choir. A filthy overcast of gruel spread downstream like paste of old vomit. And no kinder to the nose.
After a few minutes she returned to the bank to be dried off like a dog. There were fresher garments but Dachni preferred her own and with great reluctance they were forfeited to her. She dressed and they went back to camp.
She was brought to another yurt and set at a table and brought soup. Her caretaker provided a spoon but she ladled up the soup in her palm. The other women stood arrayed like spectators at a zoo.
Cans yaes sang none? said Dachni looking up at them. They was sangin lass night.
They none understood.
Well is ok.
When she was done eating they ushered her to a curtained section of the yurt where they communicated that she could sleep. Dachni frowned at the bedding.
Aint there nobody ta be there?
She looked up at them. Has ye got no whores? Well aint whores but someisbuddies. Doessen know.
The old woman swept her from her feet and carried her to bed and tucked her in.
Ұйықтауға жату, she said brushing the damp snarls of her hair.
Jahblawguah. Thasses whatns ye sounds ike.
The women left.
Dachni stared up at the patterns in the threw off the blankets and searched out a corner to put her things but there were no corners. She put all under the blankets and with only her rifle set out.