Life, love and conflict in the hill country around 1200BC
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Richard Abbott

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Extracts from “The Lady of the Lions”

Belita-Labiy found it difficult to concentrate, though, with the news rippling around the hill country. So far the raids had not been too close, but from all that she had heard, these groups of men were swift to move, and swift to strike, wherever they pleased. Who could say which town they might visit next?
So she knew that her dancing, while apparently as fluent and potent as ever, lacked the whole-hearted commitment that she preferred. It could not be helped, but the distraction nagged at her. So all the while that she danced like Taliy in the earliest garden, and later as her body thrilled and her voice cried out in lovemaking, part of her soul was anxiously flitting around the uplands, trying to guess what would happen next.

* * * * * *

Belita-Labiy realised that she was nearly cut off on her own. He turned his head, suddenly seeing her there. His breath was hot, panting, urgent. The look in his eyes terrified her. She waved the little knife at him and dodged to one side while there was still time. He grasped at her with his free hand, catching at her arm. She pulled free, and the fabric of her sleeve tore in his hand as she ran over to the window.
Kelizzi and Jarrar placed themselves front of her, but they seemed small and frail before the man advancing towards them. He laughed at them as he approached, and Belita-Labiy felt her groin clench tight with anticipatory fear at the expression on his face.

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