The First Cut

Warning: this story contains body mutilation and implied rape.

There was an air of anticpation in the air around the Grand as Ango walked to the Mender's tent, yet also a sense of tension. He could hear various fellow Daulka whispering among themselves. Ango could not make out much as he passed by, only that the Elders were in conference.   All of them.   This meant something serious had happened and it would be only a matter of time before everyone in the community would hear what they had to say.   It also meant the Head Mender, Rakildi, was not going to be present until later. Which meant he will have to keep himself busy until she arrived. Perhaps Mender Chamosa needed assistance with some things? Being an Apprentice Mender could be boring if there was nothing going on....   Upon entering the Mender's Tent, he spotted Chamosa changing out the bedding of dried tall grass for fresh ones. He greeted her and immediately took the old grass and carried it to the kindle pile in the storage tent next door. When he returned, he noted the Mender was giving him an odd, almost sympathic expression.   "What's wrong?" he asked.   "It's not too late," the older hen replied. "You are still young enough to find other lone males to form a collalition with and have a chance to continue your line."   This again? Ango understood her concerns: he was from a respected line, but was the only surviving youngling from a bad season. It had left him physically weaker than other bucks his age and he felt he would have only gotten in the way of his brothers from older clutches.   "My Sire's line will not end with me, you know that," he told her. "And my clay is unsuitable for more strienous taskes."   Chamosa was sighing deeply, her brow creasing with worry. "That I do know, but I fear you may not be able to stomach what may come for you today."   His ears flicked forward, frowning at her words. Being a Mender was not a 'clean' duty and he had already seen a few things that tested his constitution. "This has to do with what the Elders are in conference about?"   The hen gave a sharp nod. "You heard about what happened two moons ago?"   Ango had to think on that a moment. "Endrak?" he replied after a moment. Endrak was a lone buck that had no brothers to join and refused to join with other unrelated ones. He was skllled but very prideful, a trait that turned off many hens.   After she confirmed his guess with another nod he said. "I heard whispers that he was angry at not being chosen by any hen again." His ears went horizontal when it hit him. "Don't tell me he...."   Chamosa's ears had lowered as she lowered her head. "You guess truly, but this time he actually succeeded."   Ango felt his face dry as his own ears drooped. "He was warned not to let his pride get to him last time...," he muttered. Endrak had ultimately failed in taking a hen by force that time, the Tul brothers proving to be too alert. Said brothers had beaten Endrak to an inch of his life for his offense and at the time, the Elders had hoped that would have been suffiecent punishment. This time....   "I heard the eggs showed no sign of his clay...so in a way, he still failed," Chamosa remarked. "Still, the humilation and shame the Sat brothers experienced...."   "The Elders will not go lightly on him this time," Ango stated with gritted teeth. "But what does this have to do with me?"   "Because his likely punishment will require a Mender to perform," Chamosa replied bluntly. "So if you wish to stay a Mender apprentice...you best set your mind as hard as Clay's will."   Ango swallowed as he felt his pouch clench. There was only one punishment that required a Mender: pouch removal. It was a punishment reserved for those that had committed a grievous offense, severe enough to consider an indivdual unsuitable for breeding, but not enough to call for death.   "If this is true...will I be required to witness it?" he asked.   "Ango...everyone in the Grand will come to witness," Chamosa informed him. "So all may know the price of letting ones pride get the better of them."   "I see...I thank you for the warning."   They worked in silence after that, changing out the grass for more beds and cleaning the hide bed coverings. Not long after that was done, Head Mender Rakildi arrived, her face baring grim tidings.   "Chamosa, get the bindings and assist the guards," she commanded, Chamosa nodding and leaving immediately. "Ango, sharpen a blade and fetch some burning stone from the store."   Ango felt the dryness in his throat as he complied with the order, getting the burning stone first and placing them in a clay bowl along with some kindling before returning to the Mender's tent to start sharpening a blade. "So what we suspected is true?" he dared to ask.   "Endrak will have his pouch removed and his sack cut," Rakildi stated bluntly. "It was decided his pride was too great to allow him even a chance to breed again."   Ango pressed his thighs together as he winced. "W-who will preform this?" he asked softly.   At this the Head Mender's usually stern face softened into sympathy. "You will."   The blade slipped from his fingers, the object landing on the floor with a thud. Shaking, he reached down and retrieved it. "Why me? I'm only an apprentice...."   "Chamosa has already performed this duty once," Rakildi explained. "Plus, you are an apprentice of two cycles, which is long enough for you to be given this test." Her head lowered as she added.   "Worry not, young buck, for the cutting of the sack will not be your duty but mine...for he is of my clay."   "I...understand," Ango said as he resumed sharpening the blade. The shame of knowing one of one's own line was capable of such deeds....   "Both Chamosa and I will be there to guide and assist," Rakildi told him.   And to judge.... "Understood...." Ango wiped the blade across a piece of scrap leather a few times before lightly thumbing the edge to test it.   It was as sharp as it he could make it, hopefully sharp enough to perform the gruesome task ahead....  
~~
  A short time later....   Rakildi walked with him toward the judgement pillars, an area just outside the Grand. It was a wide flat area that was kept clean of plantlife, with a few large, flat stones for spectators to sit upon if they wished. Indeed, as Rakilda had said, the whole Grand was here. As he walked through the crowd toward the far end of the area, Ango believed he spotted Satces, one of the brothers of the Sat colliatio. No doubt he was there to bear witness for his cresh. He was standing a short distance away from the pillars that gave the area it's name.   They were large tall pieces of the sandstone that was common to the area and tied between them was Endrak, with Chamosa and a few guards standing behind him. Endrak was tied by both hand and foot to the pillars, with a leather gag around his mouth and a large band wrapped around his chest, covering his akesi, thus preventing him from summoning his kosec.   Ango had expected the buck to look nervious or frightened at what was about to happen, however the older male had alook of fury in his eyes that nearly made him pause in his stride when his gazed affixed upon him. Endrak was constantly struggling against his bindings, his tail lashing back and forth, ears folded backwards. As Ango stopped a few paces in front of him, Rakildi beside him, he could hear the buck growling and muffled words of protest. He was also kept grind his jaw in a feeble attempt to bite through the gag, which it and the sides of his mouth were now soaked with drool.   This was not the behavior of a Daulka that was ashamed of his actions.   As he set his equipment down on the ground, he could hear the one of the Elder's start to speak, telling Endrak of his crimes and what was decided to be his punishment. He heard a load protest from Endrak as he struck the flint stone, setting the kindling and the burning stone in the bowl on fire. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Rakildi kneel down beside him.   "Remember," she whispered to him. "Cut as close to the belly as you feel comfortable. If a lot of blood starts to flow, use the searing stick to stop it."   Ango nodded stiffly as he set the searing stick within the bowl to heat up as he picked up both that and the blade and took the last few paces toward Endrak. Once more Endrak's Clay tainted eyes fixated upon him, but he managed to ignore his threatening gaze. He went to his knees as he set the bowl down and picked up the blade before hovering it over the smoldering buring rock within, before starting a prayer.   "Ember...Clay...please bless this blade so that it may cut swift and true," Ango muttered. "Gale, calm my mind and grant me focus...Tide steady and guide my hand during this task."   As ready as he could be, Ango reached up with his free and pulled open one of the entrances to Endrak's pouch. There was a threatening growl as Endrak pulled as far away as he could, but the stretchiness of the pouch skin worked in Ango's favor, so he brought up blade up to start the cut.   Endrak then thrust his hips forward, smacking Ango in the face with his own hand. He yelped in surprise and let go of the pouch to touch his face, feeling a small cut under his nose caused by the scales on his hand.   "Are you alright, Ango?" Rakildi was asking.   "I will be," Ango replied, glaring up at Endrak, whom continued to glare at thim definently. Want to make this harder than it should be, eh?   Endrak would no doubt try that trick again, but Ango had a solution. He summoned his kosec and used the large clawed hands to grip Endrak by the hips. When Endrak tried to shake them off, he clenched those hands, the sharp tips piercing his flesh and making him yelp.   "Stay still and this will be over quickly with much less pain," Ango told him flatly, giving those hips another squeeze to prove he was serious.   At last there was a hint of fear and acceptance in Endrak's eyes and Ango was able to proceed with cutting off the pouch without further incident, aside from the expected screams of pain from both the cutting itself and the couple of times he had to catorize a bad bleeder. Only after the pouch skin was fully removed and cast to the ground did he dispell his kosec and step away.   "Well done, Ango," Rakildi told him approvingly. "You may go now if you wish."   "No," Ango said, shaking his head. "I wish to see this through, to observe and learn in case I may have to do what comes next."   "Wise words." Rakildi had patted him on the shoulder before accepting the blade from him.   Ango moved to stand beside Chamosa, whom also gave him a nod of approval as Rakildi performed the next stage. He listened as Rakildi declared her shame over Endrak being of her Clay and announced that his chance to continue his line was to be forever ended.   Terror was in Endrak's eyes, then agony, as Rakildi swiftly cut off his sack, perminately removing his ability to be a proper buck. Only then was he freeded from his bindings and the male collapsed to the ground in pain.   The event over, the crowd dispersed, returning to their duties. Endrak was carried back to the Mender's tent so his wounds could be properly sealed and tended to. Unfortunately Endrak passed away during the night.   Ango worried he must have done something wrong to cause his life ember to go cold, but Rakildi assured him that he was not to blame. She explained that sometimes when such a vital part of a buck's being is removed, the shock and shame of it causes them to lose their will to live.   "The desire to live is just as important as the condition of your clay," Rakildi informed him. "You have proven this with the trials Clay itself have given you. In addition your performance yesterday has proven to me you are ready for greater responibility."   Ango's ears perked up, feeling pounding in his chest. "You mean...."   "Apprentice you are no longer," the Head Mender declared with a smile. "You are a Mender."

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