29th Thread: Life as a captive

Le-Bracelet-Tene-period-dessin Scythean_comb_warriors-1 Elia-Danielson-autoportrait

– We lived in tents. There was none of the comfort we enjoy here: no beds, nor sofas, lamps, baths, heating. It was cold. We did not wash. We only ate meat. Sometimes grilled, sometimes raw, as there were not slaves to cook for us in a kitchen. We drank blood, and fermented milk. We moved constantly.
– You walked ?
– No, we rode.
– You had a horse?
– Yes.
My mother’s eyes widened as she remembered, her mouth stretched into a smile. I pulled on her sleeve.
– Mother!
She looked at me as if she could not remember who I was, then resumed sponging my back.
– You knew how to ride?
– They put me on a horse, I had to stay in the saddle. I learned fast. We wore skirts funny pants, to step over our horses. Mine was red. She was easily frightened, but fast. Bent over her back, I would whip her ribs as we galloped across the plains at full speed.
– You had no fears.
– I was no longer afraid. At first, I cried all the time. The women were so mean to me. You can get used to everything, even the company of barbarians.
– Why did you not take me with you? I would have liked a horse too!

Jeune-fille-de-Mulvayoung-girl-dessin– They abducted me, how could I have brought you along? You’d probably have died.
– I so wish I could have gone with you. I waited six years. Were they evil?
– Yes.
– Very wicked? What did they do to you?
– I had to chop wood.
– Like a slave?
– Yes, but all the other women chopped wood and carried water, not just the slaves.
– How did you chop it?
– I had a small ax. Its bronze handle was adorned with patterns of trees and snakes.
– You still have it? May I have it?
– No, it stayed behind when I was rescued by the legion.
She grabbed the hot water bucket the maid had just brought and poured it over my head.
– Did they sing songs or make music?
– At the equinoxes, pipers and storytellers entertained us while we got drunk on fermented honey. We banqueted all day and all night until we fell from exhaustion.
– What barbaric customs. Why do wash me, when it is the maid’s task?
– Don’t you like it?
– Yes. Oh yes. I like it so much.
– There, women rubbed their children’s bodies with walnut oil, nearly every night. It was quiet and loving, you see, quiet and loving could be the barbarians.
– Were you alone in your tent?
– Hush.
– Were you alone in your tent?
– The tents were large, no one slept alone.Scythean_resurrection

– Who slept with you?
– Come closer. Listen. Don’t tell anyone, promise. There was a child. A small boy, lusty and bold. I had to leave him behind.
–   A boy? Your boy?!
–   Shhh.
–   How old was he?
–   Please. No. I can’t. I can’t.
–   What was his name?! Mother! The boy, what was his name?! Did you love him? Did you love him more than me?

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