Author's Note: Hello! I noticed a great lack of John Carter fics on this site, and I rather did enjoy the movie; and I thought that I would contribute to it since I was so fond of it. This story takes place before John Carter's arrival to Barsoom, and It mainly centers around the Tharks. A few Original Characters will be featured in this story; The main one being Neera, a female Thark that has been Tars Tarkas' friend since they were little. Rating will most likely go up in the future... Hope you all enjoy!
The sun was a ball of red flames sitting along the horizon as triumphant hunting party slowly sauntered into the crumbling Thark city. Though something was different about the city this evening. Even from a distance the hunting companions quickly noticed that the city was more alive than they had seen it in a long while.
Crossing the arched threshold into the ruins the hunters quickly took note of the humming energy of the place.
The lanterns in the streets shown bright, as though they had be scrupulously polished. Tharks hurried about, though not in manner of rushed impatience or fear, but rather eagerness and excitement.
The tall green female at the front of the pack dug her heels into the flank of her Thoat and pulled on the reigns. The great beast grunted and came to a halt.
Almost immediately a slight, scarred female scurried over to the pack.
"Jedwar Neera, you're back." the younger female said quickly looking somewhat flustered.
"Yes, just in time it seems," she replied cooly, though her tone failed to hide her curiosity.
Gazing around from her perch for moment she tried to figure out what was causing all the excitement. Though she quickly grew impatient and gave up and looked back down the the smaller Thark.
"Sola, what's all the hubbub about?"
Sola's mouth began to open when a mirthful, raucous voice cut through the noise of the crowd.
They both knew that voice all to well.
The smaller green woman ducked her head quickly and backed away from the Thoats as a tall, proud figure pushed his way through the crowd.
"Neera! and here I thought you were going to miss all the fun!"
"Did you?" She crossed her top set of arms across the tall horn of her saddle. "And what is all the fun about?"
A toothy smile as he sets his had on the tusk of her Thoat.
"Well I tell you."
Early that day a Zodangan ship, crippled by Helium warriors had sailed over Tharkian territory.
Alerted by the sound of grinding gears and a large smoke trail that streaked across the sky, a group of patrolling Tharks; among them, their Jeddak, eagerly gave chase.
The spoils had been great; the ship had crashed into the soft dunes to the west. While some items had to be dug out from the sands, the rather soft landing had allowed a lot of supplies survive in relatively good shape.
There had been so much to carry back that one of the scouts had been sent back to the crumbling city to rally the people.
Thoats were loaded up with the wreckage and drove back to the city; leather packs bulging with scavenged materials.
While she had been off on a hunting party, one of biggest ship caches had landed just outside the city. She had missed out, she had missed out getting some of the best scavenged material in a long while.
Her jaw worked, determined to not let the Jeddak have the pleasure of seeing her displeasure.
"Well if there is a celebration in order-" she began; swinging her leg over and hopping down off the saddle. "Then you'll need food for a feast, and that-" she grabbed onto the slain Banth slung over the back of her mount and slammed into to the ground in front of her Jeddak. "-And that we are more than willing to supply."
Tars looked at beast at his feet and then up to the tall Tharkian woman who stared at him proudly; his lips quirked into a smart smile.
Tars knew how Neera worked; she was challenging him in a sense, seeing if he would take her bait; she wanted something. He knew that she greatly enjoyed partaking in plundering the spoils of a crash. She reminded him of a Malagor; collecting trinkets and salvage.
Though unlike Malagor's who simply lined their nests with their spoils to make them shiny or pretty, the too tall female had a use for everything. From weapon repairs and ammunition to crude jewelry and embellishments.
He decided to make her sweat a bit though, something he had always loved doing ever since they were little more than hatchlings.
"Im not sure..." he began, and kicked the carcass at his feet. "It seems like a rather small offering." he saw her visibly bristle
"There is more where that came from my Jeddak." she said hotly and cut down the other Banth from her Thoat and motioned for the rest of her men to do the same.
Tars eyed the other beast she had brought to him, it was considerably larger; probably to heavy for her to lift and toss at him without making herself look like a fool in the process.
"Hm, not bad.." he said slowly.
"It's larger than the one you shot last week." she cut in defending her kill.
"Is that so?" he chuckled walking passed her to inspect the other hunter's kills.
Neera glared at the back of his head and wished she could give him a swift kick in the ass like when they were little. Grumbling she turned back around and waited for his final say.
A few moments later she felt a hearty slap and then a friendly shake on her shoulder.
"Well, Jedwar Neera I believe your offering will suffice." he said with a chuckle, before reaching down and hoisting the larger of her kills onto his broad shoulders.
"Suffice?" she said cooly, mimicking his actions with the smaller creature. "While you were-" she grunted adjusting the weight of the beast on her shoulders. "While you were out having a grand old time, my men and I were out getting rocks in our feet and eight inch teeth shoved in our faces." she replied, with a bit more hostility than she meant to.
Tars frowned at her; true he enjoyed their good natured teasing, but it worried him from time to time if she was undermining his authority as a Jeddak. Though most of the other Tharks were busy in preparation for the celebration, he knew Sarkoja was most likely somewhere near by, peering from a dark corner. He did not what to get on the old woman's bad side; for with her age and wisdom came, power of authority and the loyalties of those seeking her guidance.
Neera noticed his uneasiness and quickly backed off; bowing her head in apology before turing to Sola who stood obediently off to the side, waiting for orders.
"Sola, have them start the fires for the spits."
Sola bowed her head and quickly scurried off..
Neera warily watched the scarred woman's retreat until she was lost in the crowd of commotion before turning back to her old friend.
"Let's see who can get to the fire pits first..." she said with a playful quirk of her lips.
Tars returned her smile in kind with his own toothy grin.
Jovial cheers echoed throughout the great chamber. The sound of eager feasting was swallowed up by tales of times before the war; which in turn were swallowed up by peals of laughter.
Neera sat lackadaisically back in her seat, picking at a piece of meat sinew stuck between her two top canines with a splinter of bone. She half listened to the proud, cheery ramblings of her Jeddak friend seated beside her; and half dazed in the food induced tiredness she felt enveloping her.
She had been pleasantly surprised that Tars, had in fact pulled out a few items of interest from the crash, and had reserved them for her and her men to sort out upon their return. Of course the catch was their hunting trip would've had to have been successful; in which it was.
As she took another swig from the mug of brackish wine in her stone goblet she heard a scuffling off to her right. She ignored it at first, sure it was some drunken Thark stumbling through the crowd. However a moment later a loud bark of anger echoed out over the cheery noise followed by a low growl.
By the time she had turned around in her chair she had just enough time to see Keil headbutt Tuul hard in the gut, sending him reeling backwards.
Already a circle was forming around the fight, a few Tharks had already begun to cheer as Tuul righted himself and rushed up to the other male.
Dodging a burly fist aimed for his bruised gut, Tuul delivered a swift punch to the underside of his aggressors jaw; causing the larger male to stumble slightly.
Neera watched curiously from her seat, glancing over to Tars quickly, to see what he thought of the situation. Though the Jeddak remained fairly calm and his face gave away little as he rested his chin a top his knuckles nonchalantly and watched the fight progress.
If the fight had been between anyone else she would have shrugged it off as young males, behaving like young males.
But from what she knew of Keil, he was rarely one to start a fight.
Keil came off as dull and brutish, though that was mainly due to his outward appearance. He was thick limbed and barrel chested; built more like Tal Hajus than Tuul or Tars.
However from the short time Neera had had him in one of her hunting groups he proved to be quite keen, albeit clumsy, and inexperienced; but intelligent none the less. He also was surprisingly shy; she had originally taken his quiet nature as aloofness; and it had been rather curious when this proved to be far from the truth of the matter.
All matters considered, the reason why the fight taking place before her was so interesting was just that; and Tars seemed to honed into the oddity of it as well.
Which left the conclusion that Tuul must have done something pretty stupid to cause Keil to react in such a way.
There was a loud clacking sound and a loud cheer; the female Thark scooted in her chair to get a better look as the crowd of Tharks became thicker.
The two males were now in a tusk lock, covered in dirt and growling loudly at one another as they tried to shake the other off. They began to pad a small circle into the dirt as they continued to mash their skulls against each other's; a test of strength and stamina.
The crowd huddled together further and Neera grunted and stood up. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Tars was beginning to stand up to get a better view of the fight as well.
Though despite her height she found that she could not see over the heads of the gathering onlookers. She huffed; not wanting to miss out on any of the fun, pushing her uneaten food and half full goblet from the table, she quickly hopped up onto the now vacant spot.
Now with a clear view of the fight, she watched intently.
After a few more moments of circling the combatants came to a sudden halt. From her perch she could see Tuul's mouth moving suddenly and then it turned up into a sneer as he pressed harder against the larger male.
Whatever the smaller Thark had said turned out to be an incredibly poor idea on his part.
With a loud angry roar, Keil lurched his whole body to the side, flipping Tuul forcefully to the ground; a loud SNAP! echoing through out the room.
The crowd immediately fell silent.