The Amazon Queen known among the Clans as the DragonLady, was not at all pleased in the outcome of a skirmish
her hunters had with the Farmer Clan.
Her hunters had anticipated an easy victory over their rivals but instead they had been sent beating a hasty retreat
- scrambling as it were for their very lives.
In their Queen's eyes, the defeat had been nothing less than ignominious and she was sorely vexed at its memory.
AW-0039 Arrow Shootout 1
The Farmers were not in the least bit warlike and for the most part preferred to keep to their own affairs ...
Tending their fields and minding a flock of sheep or goats was more to their liking that engaging in a battle of any
For this reason if for none other, the Farmers did not follow up on the momentary advantage they had gained over the
They did not pursue them in their retreat nor did they launch an attack on their encampment any time soon thereafter.
Life in the DragonLady's camp regained a degree of normalcy although it must be pointed out that the loss of any
warrior was a substantial one.
New recruits did not present themselves often nor in any great number when they did.
Despite the apparent disregard that the Amazons had for their own lives, the loss of any one of their own weighed
heavily for it impinged upon the safety of them all.
And so there was almost nothing that served to put the Queen in a better frame of mind than when one or another of
the unwary women of the Farmer Clan was taken prisoner.
The Queen's warriors did not take prisoners as a rule as they were for the most part a nuisance and served no real
But the Farmers were the exception that proved the rule.
When taken singly as was most often the case, they made admirable targets for the Queen's warriors to hone their archery skills.
The Queen often took it upon herself to loose the first shafts into the bellies and bosoms of the captive women.
As a general rule, the victim succumbed rather quickly whereupon the Queen left her for her warrior's amusement
until the Farmer's body bristled with so many arrows that there seemed to be nowhere else to place one.
"I can tell by the expression on your face that you have pleasant tidings for me, Mahalia?"
"Indeed I have, my Queen!" The warrior Mahalia countered jovially and shoved a dark-haired, bare-chested
Amazon Farmer Warrior forward for her Queen to inspect.
"Pleasingly rounded, is she not?" The Queen admired the youngster frankly.
"Did you have any particular plans for her, Mahalia?"
Dragonlady and her captain both knew full-well what the plans were for any member of the Farmer Clan
who had the misfortune to stray into their territory, but both the women enjoyed their small charade.
It tended to offer a small ray of hope to the captives who were often encouraged to the point that they offered
something in the way of useful information before they were affixed to a post on the archery range.
There had been times when the victim didn't stop talking until the arrows plunged into her and silenced
The youngster's eyes brightened momentarily but then her head dipped and she subsided into a sullen silence.
"Blast! It must have been the bemused expression on my visage that tipped her off!" The Queen thought.
"I must work assiduously to maintain a straight face during these brief interviews!"
"I made no plans for her at all, my Queen!" Mahalia responded appropriately.
"We thought that perhaps you might care to give her but a moment of your time and attention!"
"Well said, Mahalia! Take her and tie her to the post, if you will?"
"Of a certainty, my Queen!"
DragonLady went to fetch her bow and to select an arrow or two and by the time she returned, the Farmer lass
had been tied to the post at the end of the archery range.
Her arms were pulled up above her head so that they would take her weight and even in death her body would remain
suspended, presenting itself as a target to the warriors whose arrows were to follow those of their Queen.
"The shot is mine to make and your's to call, Mahalia!
Where would you have me strike her?"
"Your question poses me no problem at all, my Queen!
Put your shaft through her navel, of course!"
"Yes, by all means!
It does provide us with such a tempting target, does it not?"
The Queen of course knew well the answer to her question before she posed it.
Mahalia was not bowing to her Queen's desires in giving her respone however as a casual observer might suspect.
For her own part, DragonLady preferred to drive a shaft somewhat higher - over the belly and directly under the
A warrior could and often did arch quite satisfactorily when stricken that way!
Too, it did seem somewhat more honorable to take a shaft directly in the chest cavity in that manner!
"Ah well!" the Queen thought as she notched an arrow to her bow, "If it's to be the navel, then so be it!"
As she raised her bow, drew back it's string and steadied her aim, the Queen paused to consider what thoughts might
be crossing her victim's mind a mere moment before the shaft plunged into her belly?
The Queen was pleased to hear Mahalia's exclamation of approval.
"A most excellent navel shot, my Queen!
Why even the shaft protrudes at the proper angle!
Will there be a great deal of blood do you think?"
The Queen was now not as pleased as she had been but a moment before and the expression on her face showed it.
Mahalia was a fine captain but she did have a way of killing a compliment by coupling a question to it.
To the Amazon Queen's way of thinking, a complimentary statement should always stand alone to be thoroughly effective!
"I am certain that there will be blood enough, Mahalia!
There is much life remaining in our victim.
You really should learn to curb your lust for blood!
See how freely it is flowing now?
Are you now quite satisfied, Mahalia?"
DragonLady knew that there was precious little chance of that, nor did she wish to see it happen.
Mahailia was perhaps the staunchest of her warriors and nothing pleased her more than to see blood spurting from a
But the Queen did not like to have compliments softened with footnotes, so she wanted to have something to say that
would offer a mild reproof to her captain.
"These Farmer females are not especially warlike, are they my Queen?"
Mahalia offered by way of polite conversation.
"They did well enough when our hunters perchanced to wander into their territory, did they not, Mahalia?"
DragonLady replied as she took her time in selecting her next shaft.
"Pah! Only by way of subterfuge!
That infernally high grass!
Never could they have prevailed against us on open ground!"
"Perhaps you are right, Mahalia!" the Queen returned.
"And I, for one sincerely hope so!
But you must agree that a pitchfork buried in your chest at close range, is quite as effective as a pike hurled from
a greater distance!"
Mahalia had no good answer to her Queen's reasoning and so she hastened to change the subject.
"Where will you place your next shaft, my Queen?"
"Where would you have it, Mahalia? I said before that the shots are yours to call and mine to make!"
"I like that, my Queen!"
"Like what, Mahalia?"
"The way you turn your phrase, the shot is yours to call and mine to make!
I shall have to take note of that!"
"Yes, by all means do!
Now, where would you have me place this arrow?"
"To the breast, I think!"
Very well then!
"The right breast I think!
Through the very nipple, if you can manage it!"
In response the Queen drew back her bow.
"This Farmer grunts rather well, does she not, my Queen?"
"Indeed she does!
Now does my shot meet with your approval, Mahalia?"
"Oh yes, my Queen!"
"But my Queen!" Mahalia hastened to add, "Though you struck her breast, and a very well placed shaft it is too, I
Still, you failed to pierce her nipple?"
"That I can see for myself, Mahalia!
But does it really matter so much?"
"It matters not in the least to me, my Queen!"
"I am most thankful for that for I grow weary of this sport!
I thought doing that would in some way destroy the symmetry of her breast?
Ah, but then perhaps not! Who can say with any degree of certainty?"
"You will not give her one more shaft then, my Queen?"
"Oh, very well!
"Where would you have it this time, Mahalia?"
"Through her other breast!"
"For the sake of the symmetry of which you have spoken!"
Queen DragonLady regarded her dying target as though to consider.
"No, I think perhaps not, Mahalia!
I prefer to leave a bit of her for the others to practice upon!"
"It is most gracious and generous of you to consider the other warriors, my Queen!"
Mahalia spoke without a trace of sarcasm in her voice.
"Thank you, Mahalia!
I can but try!"
"What do you have in mind for the afternoon, my Queen?
If I may be so bold to ask!"
"I believe that while you and the others are taking your amusement with whatever may remain of this Farmer,
that I will embark on a journey of short duration."
"You mean that you will pass through your mystical Gate again, do you not, my Queen?"
"Oh, I should so enjoy it were you to accompany me, Mahalia!"
"As would I, my Queen!
But you know that I cannot!
Often we have tried in vain to locate the gate of which you speak!"
"You are correct of course, Mahalia!
Always the Gate eludes me when I am in the company of another!"
The one time you spoke of finding the gate with another warrior was when you carried her ...
And she in all probablity dead even as you succeeded in gaining passage!"
"And it causes me pain to think of it even now, Mahalia!"
"For which I apologize most humbly, my Queen!"
DragonLady couldn't help but laugh.
"Mahalia, never has there been nor will there ever be anything even remotely humble about you!"
"Nevertheless I am pleased to see your good humor restored, my Queen!
May I be so bold as to inquire the nature of your journey?"
"The man who I will visit has in his possession, a blade of amazing lightness ..."
Will you run him through with his own sword, my Queen?"
"I doubt very much that such action will be necessary, Mahalia!"
"How else does a warrior take a weapon for herself, my Queen?"
"We women have our ways, Mahalia!
Or have you perchance forgotten?"
It all becomes clear to me now!
Have a safe, a most pleasant and dare I say, fruitful journey, my Queen!"
"You, Mahalia, would dare to say anything!
But I thank you, Mahalia!
Most humbly as you might say ...
For I fully intend to do so!"