For two days now, Olah had kept watch.
The tribe didn't have the heart to stop her,
even though she neglected her tasks and ignored requests for food and
water from the men. Naoh had finally told them to leave her alone, and
the men had understood. Although no-one really knew what Amoukar had
planned, they realised it was dangerous. To rid himself of his low status,
the deed had to be difficult and life-threatening.
The Ulam went quietly about their daily tasks,
but they were sad and grieving already, for they saw the despair on
Naoh's face and the desperate longing in the young woman who sat at
the cave entrance and watched for a tall, brawny figure to come ambling
out of the tree-line as she had seen Amoukar do so often before.
But he hadn't appeared. It had been two long
days, and nothing. The sun was beginning to set, and Ika, concerned
for Olah, had touched her on the shoulder and motioned for the young
woman to come back into the cave and eat something. The roaring fire
sent delicious smells of roasting meat through the cave, but Olah would
have none of it. Her gaze returned once more to the tree-line, brown
eyes ever hopeful.
Ika returned to the fire and lifted her baby
son from the young girl who had been playing with the child, and began
to nurse him. But she was startled by a soft, joyful cry from Olah.
People scrambled to their feet and gathered around
the young woman, and murmurs of relief came as they saw a familiar figure
emerge from the trees.
Amoukar of the Quest had come home.
Several of the youngsters forgot themselves and
shrieked with delight, but they were shushed by their elders. This was
not a time for unrestrained joy as it had when the Quest-brothers had
returned with fire. No, there was business to be done and until Amoukar
had won his Olah, they would contain themselves. When Olah was given
well, then the tribe could celebrate properly. Naoh
stood beside Ika and their son and smiled at his woman. She had been
right. Again. He turned back to look at the tall figure of his friend
ambling towards them, and he saw Olah leave her place of vigil and run
to him with joy in her heart.
As Olah got nearer, she saw he was carrying something,
a huge, hairy pelt wrapped up with sinew slung over his broad back.
Her eyes widened as she realised what he had done. He had killed a bear
for her. His blue eyes caught hers and she saw the happiness shine in
their azure depths, and she almost cried out with the pleasure of his
presence. He was hers now, she knew. They could not deny their joining
any longer, because Amoukar was the greatest hunter the Ulam had ever
She frowned at the blood on him, but decided
it was the bear's blood, and he didn't appear to be hurt, so she held
out her hand for his weapons. She would walk beside him as he came home
to claim his prize, and let no-one deny his right as his woman stood
Amoukar's heart swelled with pride as he handed
her his atlatl and spears. She was his, and she would be with
him as he claimed her from her step-sire, and suddenly all of the exhaustion
and pain in his body faded away at the thought of it.
The Ulam separated to let him through as Olah's
step-sire made himself comfortable on a lynx-fur beside the fire. He
knew the eyes of the tribe were upon him, and that they trusted him
to do the right thing. But he also had to be seen to value Olah highly
and not give her away too easily. He would look at Amoukar's gift very
carefully and decide if it was worthy.
He watched as Amoukar finally stood before him,
and he gestured for the young warrior to show him what he had brought.
Amoukar grunted with pain and effort as he swung
the bearskin from his back and dumped it on the ground in front of the
elder. Olah's step-sire was an influential man, a warrior in his prime
and the sire of many sons. It was a tense moment. Amoukar gestured at
the pelt and Olah dropped to her knees, undoing the sinew that bound
The tribe gasped in admiration. Inside was the
great bear's head, teeth still bared in anger, and beside it were the
four powerful paws, claws intact. The older warrior raised his eyebrows
in surprise. Young Amoukar had certainly earned the girl.
The Ulam waited with bated breath for his decision,
and Amoukar was in an agony of desperation. Surely he couldn't refuse
his gift. It was the greatest gift a warrior could give for a woman,
and it made Olah of such value she would be unattainable by any other
man if it was refused. No-one could exceed such a prize.
The older man sighed. Lifting a hand he waved
at Olah dismissively.
There were shouts of joy as the tribe rejoiced
in a collective roar, and all of a sudden Amoukar felt faint. He had
done it. Olah was his. But he heard the cries of delight change to murmurs
of concern as the world faded around him, and he felt strong hands catch
him as he collapsed into Olah's arms.
Amoukar of the Quest lay in a fevered delirium. The wounds on his chest
and side had festered, and he lay shivering with chills in a sheltered
hollow under the cave wall, wrapped in furs and tended by Olah and Ika.
He lay for many days, the tribe already mourning
him, sure in the knowledge that the bear had killed him. Ika prepared
poultices and made Olah wash the wounds with clean water, her knowledge
far exceeding that of the Ulam's in the ways of healing. Their old Shaman
sprinkled red ochre on Amoukar's sick body, and touched his forehead
with the claws of the bear he killed. Maybe the bear's strength would
help the wounded man, they thought. Olah stayed beside him, wishing
him to heal with everything she had, and lying beside him through the
night warming him with her body.
And slowly he realised she was there, and took
comfort from her presence, and in the early hours of the fourth day
after his winning of Olah, his fever broke. Olah held him tight until
he slipped into restful sleep, and crooned to him as he slept as she
would a child, knowing it would calm him.
It took him many more days to recover well enough
to rise from his sick-bed and sit in the sun, letting the heat soothe
his body. Olah kept him fed and made him drink often to replace the
blood he had lost, although she knew he would carry the terrible scars
until his dying day. But he would carry them with pride, for he had
done a great deed and the bear had marked him with its power.
But as spring turned to early summer, the tribe
realised he was going to recover fully, and they breathed a sigh of
relief. Amoukar of the Quest had come back to them whole, and that was
all that mattered.
The sun rose over the horizon and sent the cool
air from the mouth of the cave, warming the rock and waking the Ulam
from their sleep. Amoukar had spent the night on watch, eyes lost in
the depths of the embers of the fire, thinking about all that had gone
before, and about how life would be with Olah. She had taken great care
of him as he lay wounded, and had attended to his every need
Now he was well, he wanted her. He wanted to
lie with her, lie within her, and make her his forever. He felt a touch
on his arm, and there she was, a cup of water in her hand, her eyes
smiling with pleasure as he nodded his thanks.
For the rest of the morning he watched her as
she went about her chores, and occasionally their eyes would meet and
he would see the desire in their brown depths. The rest of the Ulam
knew it was time and smiled knowingly, the old women elbowing each other
in amusement. It was about time the big fool made a move, and they thought
Olah was doing the right thing by enticing him. She had been spending
a lot of time with Ika, secreted in the back of the cave, and Ika had
been telling her the secrets of the Ivaka women and how they kept their
men sated and happy. Olah was determined that Amoukar would have no
complaints on that score!
As the sun rose higher and the day became hotter,
Olah came to sit beside him, studying his features and delighting in
the discomfort she was causing. She had been flirting with him outrageously
all morning, giving him ample opportunity to glimpse her buttocks and
pert breasts. As she sat she noticed he was aroused, the bulge under
the skins at his groin unmistakable. He wanted her badly, and she decided
it was time this shy big man did something about it. Reaching over she
touched the rise of his arousal and he grunted in surprise. Blue eyes
caught hers, and she touched his hand, gesturing at the trees. She wanted
him too, he realised, and she wanted him now!
Then she was standing up and heading up the path
beside the cave entrance, up onto the high ground behind the cave of
the Ulam. He heaved himself to his feet, his erection becoming uncomfortable,
and followed his woman willingly.
She ran into the warmth of the purple heather,
here on the hill above the cave, knowing Amoukar would keep her safe
from harm. Here she would lie with him, in the quiet of a hot summer's
day away from prying eyes, and he would make her his mate. If she was
lucky, he would fill her belly with a child, and they would be blessed
with new life.
Amoukar followed, blue eyes shining like the
river that sired him, her sinuous, rounded body leading him on. He saw
her stop beneath a shaded old tree, stunted by the harsh winds of winter
but able to shelter them from the heat of the day.
Before he had reached her she was naked, her
furs sliding from her sleek young body, her breath already quickening
with anticipation. He groaned with desire, his own body reacting quickly
to the glory of her, and as he reached her she began to remove his skins,
baring his broad chest and shoulders. He caught her up in his arms and
they rubbed cheeks passionately, his hands wandering to her small breasts,
and Olah cried out lustily at his touch - but this was not going to
be a hurried Ulam mating. Oh no, Olah would not allow that. She would
do as Ika had told her, and it would be very pleasurable for them both.
So pushing against his chest she took advantage
of his lack of self-confidence and made him stand, the big warrior baring
his teeth in a grimace of impatience. But before he could grasp her
body again she was touching him, her broad capable hands reaching under
the skins covering his maleness and stroking his erect member firmly.
Amoukar threw his head back in pure ecstasy.
Eyes closed, his teeth now just showing and his tongue moving softly
between them in a show of pleasure, wordless groans of joy came in a
rush from his deep chest. Olah was delighted. Ika was right - she could
please him by her touch alone, and then afterwards their mating would
be slower, more pleasurable. She eased her other hand below the skins
and cupped the mysterious sac behind his penis, feeling the quiver of
excitement from him as she began to knead gently.
The sensation was beyond belief. Amoukar stumbled
around until he could lean his shuddering body against the tree, and
all the while Olah kept touching, stroking, smoothing the velvet surface
of his organ with deft hands. He reached back and clutched at the trunk,
feeling the rough bark under the palms of his hands as Olah began to
croon quietly, urging him onwards. He wanted to throw her down, thrust
into her young, firm body and empty himself to exhaustion, but he couldn't
her hands wouldn't let him. His hips began to thrust forward
with every movement of her fingers and Olah encouraged him. He knew
then she wanted him to finish like this, to see him in the throes of
his pleasure ... why, he didn't understand, but all he knew or could
think of was that he didn't want her to stop.
He was dimly aware of Olah lifting her hand from
cupping him to undo the skins around his hips and he felt the balmy
summer breeze caress his nakedness, and Olah sighed at the size of him.
She had seen men aroused many times, seen couples mate in the confines
of the cave in which they both lived and neither thought anything of
it until now. He was fully aroused and hard, and very, very masculine
and he was hers.
Amoukar was almost incoherent now with the sensations
she sent through him and he knew he was very close to ejaculating, but
Olah wanted more. She pressed her small body against his and trapped
his throbbing arousal between them, her soft, smooth belly replacing
the firm caresses of her fingers as she clasped him to her, using her
body to drive him to finish. Rubbing against him she nipped with strong
white teeth at the muscles of his chest
and then found the hard
nubs of his nipples. Her gentle bite drove him over the edge.
Still frantically clinging to the tree his hips
thrust convulsively against her and he exploded, his orgasm sending
spurts of semen onto her stomach as he thrust helplessly, his throaty
groans ringing in the warm summer air.
Olah revelled in his pleasure. The heat of his
seed spilling onto her, the cries he gave and the bucking thrusts of
him against her brought need centring in her loins. Next time
next time he would place his seed within her.
The thrusts lessened and stopped as Amoukar came
down from that place of ecstasy to which Olah's touch had sent him,
and uncaring of the roughness of the tree bark, he held her to him and
slid downwards to lie with her at the base of the tree, their bodies
and limbs entwined.
He managed to catch his breath at last as Olah
raised herself to her knees beside him, her deep brown eyes bright with
satisfaction. She caught his hand and laid it on the flatness of her
stomach where the stickiness of his pleasure glistened, and she laid
her own hand on the powerful, flat muscles of his belly, touching the
dampness that darkened the line of hair that led down to his groin.
For long moments they were still, Olah looking
at Amoukar's hard, masculine body lying replete and lax. He was magnificent,
she thought. And as she looked, Amoukar moved her hand to his penis
again as it began to stir once more. It rose hard and thick under her
touch as she stroked and swirled her fingers on the glistening crown,
and Olah knew it was time for him to take her.
But before he could turn her onto her knees so
he could mount her from behind, as was the Ulam way, she stopped him
by lying down on her back.
Amoukar was astounded. He had seen Naoh and Ika
mate this way many times
indeed, it was Ika who had taught Naoh
the position, and the pleasure seemed to be extreme for both of them.
But Olah? He was suddenly unsure, but Olah increased her rhythmic strokes
on him and he couldn't stop himself.
Rolling over her he growled his desire, his big
body naked and powerful above her smallness. But her legs parted and
she crooned encouragement, wanting him, needing him within. He was a
little unsure of himself, she knew, and held him tight, guiding him
between her thighs to the place he desperately needed to be, and she
felt the first push of him as she placed the glistening crown of his
manhood just within her body.
For a split second he hesitated
Olah thrust upwards onto his erection, feeling the sharp but fleeting
pain of his first entry. Amoukar cried out and thrust with her, sliding
to the hilt within, and for the first time in his life he was deep within
It was wonderful. Snug and warm and slick, and
she took all of him as he lay seated tight against her.
He raised himself onto his hands, big body overwhelming
hers, groaning at the feel of her fingers on his buttocks urging him
to thrust. She clutched him tight and raised her legs as Ika had told
her to do, finding to her delight he penetrated deeper within her.
Amoukar began to thrust. He gained the rhythm
quickly, hips moving hard against her groin, Olah crying out softly
in pleasure. Their bodies moved in unison, Amoukar's long, powerful
frame rocking her harder and harder, the tall warrior looking at the
ecstasy on her face as she lay beneath him. He was pleasing his Olah,
he was sure, and he moved faster, soft, lusty grunts coming from him
as he lost himself in the joy of it.
Olah felt a great pleasure begin to course through
her body. As Amoukar moved in her he was touching something that sent
shudders of feeling through her small, sturdy frame and instinctively
she wrapped her legs tighter around his bucking hips. As she did so
he rumbled a deep groan at the sensation of her legs around him and
he quickened, his thrusts becoming almost uncontrolled as he headed
inexorably towards completion.
But Olah was there with him. She clutched and
moaned and shuddered, and Amoukar felt his manhood harden even more
as her sheath tightened and convulsed around him. Her cries suddenly
came, hands gripping his hips pulling him into her further, needing
more, and her body writhed beneath him as she reached the height of
His last, driving thrusts slammed into her, his
back arching above her pleasure-ridden body and he finally exploded
deep, deep within Olah's welcoming belly, semen filling her in shuddering
spurts. His head threw back and a roar of triumph was ripped from him,
primal in its need, as Olah felt the hot pulse of his seed flooding
At that moment she was sure he had given her
a child. She felt the ripeness within her, the eagerness with which
she received all he had to give. She saw his body above her, poised
in his pleasure as he strained against her, his last, spasmodic thrusts
and then he was still for a heart's beat, his possession
of his mate now complete.
She held him tight as he collapsed on her, his
manhood still buried deep and warm within, his groaning sighs of joy
soft and satisfied as his cheek rubbed against hers in affection. Regaining
a little of his strength he withdrew, and rolled onto his back into
the warm dry grass. Olah lay sprawled, unable to move, revelling in
the afterglow of their first mating. She finally managed to catch her
breath and lifted herself on her elbow to look over at the recumbent
Amoukar, his long body languid with pleasure. His now-soft manhood glistened
with the juices of their loving, and she reached over to touch it, hearing
his grunt as she stroked the tender flesh. They were both hot and sticky
and on impulse she caught his hand and motioned to Amoukar that he was
to follow her.
Curious, he stood, gathered up his skins and
watched as she headed off down the hill towards the secluded stream
below, and understanding what she wanted he followed, still naked, his
big frame enjoying the freedom and warmth of the afternoon sun.
When he got to the stream she was already hip-deep
in the pool the tribe used on occasion for cooling themselves when the
weather became too hot. There were no members of the Ulam there, Amoukar
knowing they were probably dozing in the welcome shade of the big cave
in the afternoon heat.
He dumped his skins beside hers on a huge, flat
rock and joined her, the cold water making him shiver momentarily, but
then he became used to it and enjoyed the sensation of it lapping on
his skin. Olah smiled at him, the knowing of their mating still fresh
in her mind, and she waded through the water and began to wash his broad
Amoukar was entranced. The feel of her small
hands on him made him sigh as she smoothed the muscles of his shoulders,
and she tenderly traced the healing scars on his chest and side. He
had gained them honourably, and forever more his tale of bravery would
enthral the tribe as it was told around fires for generations to come.
He looked at her small breasts, the water tracing rivulets down her
flat belly, and was astounded to feel his manhood stir once more. He
couldn't get enough of her! He reached out and stroked her stomach,
then placed his big hand flat against it. Maybe she carried a child
now, he hoped. But soon his curiosity got the better of him and his
hand slid lower and cupped the curls between her legs. He jumped with
surprise as she moaned loudly and parted her thighs a little. Olah clutched
at his hand, pushing his fingers into the soft, welcoming folds and
cried out as he touched something that made her hips thrust forwards.
She began to ride his fingers, Amoukar astonished and delighted at the
response he brought from his mate.
Dropping her other hand from his body she turned
into his touch, her back pressing against his chest, buttocks coming
to rest against his now rigid penis. Instinct led him, and his mouth
nuzzled and nipped at the base of her neck and Olah pushed her hips
back into him in invitation, mewling softly. She wanted him.
With a soft growl he lifted her and carried her
to the edge of the stream where the flat rock lay jutting out into the
water, and there he placed her on her hands and knees, Olah still pushing
back into him with lusty cries. Still knee deep in the water Amoukar
stood behind her, entranced by the pink, moist folds of her most secret
place, waiting for his entrance.
Looking down at his erection straining away from
his body, he quickly positioned himself behind her and pushed into her
snug sheath, his body shuddering at the sensation of her tightness around
him, Olah crying out at his hard thickness as he slid slowly into her
depths. Clutching at her hips, he seated himself fully, feeling her
buttocks tight against his wet flanks.
Olah pushed back instinctively, feeling his long
thighs against hers, his hands holding her still as he began to thrust,
his body moving hers as he groaned out his ecstasy with each stroke.
His hips moved faster, flexing against her, her body prone as he arched
above her, hips working frantically as his need to reach orgasm grew.
Amoukar couldn't believe how much he wanted her. He thrust powerfully,
his groans becoming growls of need, rhythmic, rubbing against the pleasurable
place that made Olah cry out in want. He rode her hard, letting go,
venting all of his desire with this woman, his mate, the woman who would
be mother to his children. Her cries were loud and sobbing now, urging
him on, the sun glistening on her straining back and the soft buttocks
that were snug to his belly, and he watched as his organ thrust deeper
in her, feeling himself swell even more.
Suddenly she lunged back into him, her muscular
sheath throbbing around him, her pleasure consuming her as she reached
climax. Amoukar called out, his voice desperate now and he thrust uncontrollably,
lost in his woman. His fingers tightened at her hips holding her still
and finally, desperately, he ejaculated, his body straining against
hers, his head thrown back in pure pleasure as he spent himself to distraction,
the spurt of his seed filling her until he was drained, on and on.
For long moments they stilled, bodies tense in
the last throes of passion, the warmth of the sunlight bathing quivering
flanks and flexed muscles. Olah felt Amoukar pressed against her, within
her, hearing his soft groans as he stood holding her to him, his semen
spilling deep within Olah's body. She felt the wet heat of his loins
and the final, gentle throb of his manhood as he finished inside her.
And then he relaxed forward, boneless in his relief, big body resting
Shifting his hips slightly Olah cried out as
he slid from her, still semi-erect, the young woman feeling the trickle
of his seed down her thighs. But Amoukar rested quietly, his hands lazily
stroking her breasts and belly, one drifting lower to tease the damp
curls at her groin.
Slowly she sank down onto the roughened sun-kissed
surface of the rock and turned, catching Amoukar in her arms as she
felt him ease down to lie beside her. He draped his long, muscular body
on hers and studied with hazy, contented eyes the small, sturdy body
of his mate. She was glorious. Her small breasts tempted him and he
rubbed his face against them in delight, hoping he would soon see them
heavy with milk for their child when it came. Her belly was flat but
he knew how beautiful it would look when it swelled with life, and Amoukar
rejoiced. Olah was his. At last.
Olah looked up into eyes the colour of a summer
sky, blue and clear, and she touched his face, tracing with delight
and adoration the line of his strong jaw. Then she smiled and pushed
him back down onto the warm rock, pulling the skins over to create a
pillow. She curled next to him, her head on his shoulder, and heard
him sigh with happiness.
For a fleeting moment she remembered with a shudder
how ill he had been, how dreadfully hurt, but her care had healed him
and brought him back to her. His great deed had rid Amoukar of his low
status forever, and Olah knew now he would be respected and honoured
by all members of the Ulam as one of their greatest hunters. She, Olah,
mate to the legendary Amoukar of the Quest, would give him many sons.
For the rest of the afternoon they lazed, enjoying
the heat of this summer's day, and when they weren't sleeping on the
flat rock they sported in the stream like small children, spraying each
other with water and watching the droplets glisten like rock crystal
on each other's bodies. They mated once more, slowly, gently, Amoukar
learning quickly that he delighted in pleasing his little, voluptuous
Olah, his attentions bringing her to completion at the same time as
he emptied himself in her to exhaustion.
As the sun began to set they wandered back down
to the cave where food was already roasting on the fire at the entrance.
The Ulam watched the couple with amusement and affection, knowing the
deed was done - and done well, if the look on Olah's face was anything
to go by. And didn't Amoukar look more confident, they thought, the
hesitation gone from his big frame.
Naoh smiled. It had been a difficult time, and
the tribe had feared for Amoukar's life after he had done such a wonderful
deed at such a great cost to himself. But he was strong, and had survived
to win his mate, as Ika had assured Naoh he would.
He looked at the old women studying Olah's pert,
strong little body. Yes, he thought. They'll be watching for
the sign of a little one soon. Then they'll be satisfied. He snorted.
Busybodies. But a child would do Amoukar good, he knew. Olah
would keep him happy and content, and a child would make him complete
- Amoukar liked children, and children liked him. He would spend hours
teaching the boys how to make and throw the atlatl, and the little
girls would tease him and groom his hair as the big, brawny warrior
sat patiently under their sometimes none-too-gentle attention.
The evening wore on and the tribe relaxed happily,
knowing things were boding well for the Ulam. Amoukar's deed had enhanced
their reputation beyond belief, and now they clamoured for the young
warrior to tell the tale of it.
Looking at Olah, he saw the imperceptible bow
of her head, knowing she was encouraging him. It would be the first
time he would tell the story of his fight with the great bear. Standing
up, he began, his tall, muscular frame graceful as he told his tale,
his voice making the darkness echo with the unearthly growls of the
great beast. The children shrieked in mock fear as he told how the huge
animal had attacked him and how he had fought back, his telling of it
sending flickering shadows against the ancient walls of the cave. The
battle became real to them, eyes round with fascination and delight,
mesmerised with Amoukar's skilful storytelling - his shouts of anger
as the great bear swept its huge, armoured paws at him, and he staggered
as the blood spurted from his side, but he fought bravely, knowing he
had to kill the beast and bring home its claws as his Olah's bride price.
They saw him finally kill the creature, felt his elation and groaned
at his terrible wounds, and sighed with satisfaction at the winning
of his mate. At the end they shouted in victory, Amoukar suddenly shy
in the realisation that they thought him so brave. But nothing compared
with the look on Olah's face - pride, adoration and contentment. He
had done this thing for her and her alone, and to the end of her days
she would treasure the bear claw she wore around her neck.
The tribe began to wander into the cave, sleep
beckoning, murmuring appreciation of a fine day. Amoukar and Olah were
mated, and he had finally told them of his deed. They smiled knowingly
as Olah followed Amoukar to the hollow in the cave wall where he had
lain so wounded, remembering how she had sat beside him and tended him
faithfully. The huge bearskin was laid out in preparation - a present
from Olah's mother, a gift to the young couple. Olah lay down beside
him, relaxing against his big body, secure in the knowledge he would
protect her with his life if need be.
Through the night one of the old women awoke
to soft sounds
groaning sighs and quiet cries of pleasure as
Amoukar moved lustily in his Olah, and she nodded in approval - the
big warrior knew how to please a woman. There would be many children,
she was sure.
Sighing, she turned over, elbowing her daughter
to move over and give her a little more room, and went back to sleep.
It was high summer, and warmth bathed the high
places of the world, the golden light glinting off the distant water
of the meandering stream, and a herd of aurochs grazed in the distance,
the newest crop of calves well-grown on the rich grass of the tundra.
High on a promontory, looking out over the great
plain spread out beneath him, was Amoukar of the Quest. He sat on his
customary rock, thinking on the happenings of the past seasons - the
comfort of the Ulam as they had coped with another harsh winter, and
the birth of children when spring came.
He looked down at the child cradled in his powerful
arms. He had thought today should be the day when he brought his son
to this special place, the place where he had decided to try and win
his Olah, and the place to which he had retreated when she had given
birth to their son.
The winter had been surprisingly easy this time.
Food had stayed frozen in the underground cache, and they had not starved.
Indeed, even the Old Ones had come through the harsh weather with little
discomfort, apart from aching joints and the odd cough and sniffle.
It was at the beginning of autumn the tribe had
noticed Olah's belly beginning to swell, and had rejoiced. She was delighted,
as was Amoukar, as it became obvious she had conceived very quickly
- Amoukar secretly hoped it had been when they first mated that warm
summer's day as Olah shuddered and cried out beneath him in her pleasure.
A child born of such delight would be strong and sturdy, he knew.
The boy had decided to make his appearance when
spring brought melting heat and young life came to the world, as it
had always done from time immemorial. Olah had remained serene during
her pregnancy, keeping healthy and happy, while Amoukar had fretted
and worried, concerned for her and the child. When her time came, and
she casually told him to fetch her mother and the other women to help,
Amoukar had almost panicked on the spot.
Shooing him away, the women had laughed and chattered
through the initial few hours of Olah's labour, Olah content to be among
friends. Amoukar had retired to his rock on the promontory, eyes round
with fear. What if she died? What if the child died? What if he lost
them both? What would he do???
When a highly amused Gaw and Naoh had come to
fetch him, telling him Olah was close to delivery and he should hear
the first cries of his child, he nearly passed out with shock, but swallowing
his nerves he came down to the cave and listened - trying hard to look
unconcerned - to Olah's cries of pain and the eager murmurs of the attending
women. Then there had come one, wrenching sob of effort
the lusty cries of a child, wailing through the depths of the cave.
He had sat, his heart thudding in his scarred
chest, joy shining from his blue eyes, and waited with bated breath
for the women to come and tell him he should meet his new son. When
they came, touching his arm in gentle concern for the new father, he
had shakily made his way to the hollow in the cave wall where Olah lay
with their son, the boy already suckling greedily at her milk-laden
breast. He had sat beside her, touching the downy head tucked against
Olah's arm, and rejoiced.
A few days later Naoh's woman Ika had given him
a daughter, and the tribe was increasing in number at a very satisfying
rate. Rich in hunters, infants would not have to be disposed of due
to lack of food, as had happened in the past.
He sighed with contentment. The tribe was stronger
than it had ever been, the children were well and growing, and the Old
Ones were able to still pass on their memories and knowledge to the
younger members of the Ulam. Life was good.
The child stirred in his arms, and Amoukar looked
down into eyes the same azure blue as his own. Olah told him that he
had given her the child that day by the stream, and like his father
the blue heart of the water ran strong in him. He would be a great hunter
indeed, if Amoukar had anything to do with it, and already he was sturdy
and strong, the length of his limbs promising height and power.
Lifting the boy, Amoukar showed him the world
laid out before him, showing him all the Ulam had and more. It was rich
with life, and burgeoning with promise, and Amoukar vowed he would give
him all he had, teaching him to be a good man, a great warrior and a
skilled hunter. He would show all of their children, for was it not
only last night, as Olah lay happy and sated from a particularly satisfying
joining, that she told him that she thought she was once more pregnant.
Overjoyed, Amoukar had rubbed his cheeks on her belly, thinking of the
small life within, and then reached over to stroke the sleeping child
lying next to his mother.
It had been an interesting time, all in all,
he decided. The child chuckled in delight at the colours and movement
of the grass, and the breath of the warm breeze on his soft skin. Amoukar's
hand touched the white scars on his chest, and he nodded to himself.
Yes, he thought, life was indeed rich and good, and the tribe prospered,
which is the way it should be.
Amoukar of the Quest was, at last, a happy, happy
J. H. Rosny, Quest for Fire (New York:
Robert Ardrey, African Genesis (New York: Dell, 1961)
George Constable & Prof. Ralph S. Solecki, The Neanderthals
(New York: Time Life, 1973)
John Gowlett, Ascent to Civilization - The Archaeology of Early Man
(London: Collins, 1984)
and Modern Humans - a Regional Guide - A superb site that is
easily navigated and full of fascinating facts and links.
A Cyber-perspective - terrific site with loads of information
that seeks to correct the misrepresentation of Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis
as well as be immensely informative.