Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Scout's Honor - Chapter 71

< Chapter 70                                                                                               Chapter 72 >

Our heroes finally have hope they can defeat the trogs -- if Tal can be believed!

            "You know how to get rid of the trogs?" I asked.
            Tal said, "The doctor says I do."
            "Well?"
            Tal's brow furrowed.
            "What did you say before the doctor sent you to me?' I asked.
            Tal's face cleared, "I was talking about the challenges."
            "What challenges?"
            "The big trog has one every morning," Tal said.  "A guy with the trog calls for a challenger."
            "Guy?  You mean a man?"
            "Yeah, but he talks trog, too," Tal said.
            "Tell me about the challenge," I said.
            "Not much to tell," he replied.  "Sometimes a prisoner volunteers, sometimes the trogs pull a prisoner out of the crowd.  They fight, the man dies, and the trogs all chant something."
            "Anything else?" I asked.
            Tal shook his head but Milo, who had been listening from his sister's bedside, nodded.
            "Yes," he said.  "When the trogs select a challenger, they just toss the body on a big fire.  When someone volunteers, they make a pyre and hold a short ceremony.  A trog funeral or something."
            That surprised me.  Considering how little I knew of trogs, maybe it shouldn't.
            "Weapons or hand-to-hand?" I asked.
            "Volunteers get to choose weapons," Milo said.
            "Thanks," I said and Tal went back to Sarn.
            "A lot of primitive cultures use challenges to select their leaders," I said.
            "You don't know if that's what the trogs are doing," Callan said.
            "It makes sense, Callan," I said.
            From the other corner, Raoul tried talking around the gag I'd stuffed in his mouth.
            "Tal," I said, "take the gag out of his mouth."
            Tal did and Raoul spat, "There's no need to risk your consort, Callan.  I will challenge the trog leader!"

Can Callan allow a prince of Tarteg challenge the trog leader to save Mordanian lives?  Find out in Chapter 72, coming Friday!