Laughter filled the air as the two newlyweds made their way to therendezvous with the strange people of the desert. Excitement electrifiedthem both for they had been chosen to go and initiate negotiations thatwould end four centuries of isolationism. Best of all mere days before,long years of betrothal had come to an end with the consummation ofmarriage.

The two had been lifelong friends. They had played together as childrenand when the flames of adulthood arose, love blossomed between the pair.It all seemed so natural that they should be together. Both were in thefull bloom of young adulthood. He was strong of limb with a well-formedframe and a face handsome enough to make women forget their own name.She was a breathtaking vision of femininity and gifted with and athleticfigure that suited her for concubine, wife or warrior. Her face wasthat of an angel. No man could look upon her and not be enamored. Thetwo of them were a well-matched pair.

With the rainy season giving way to the dry winds that would bring thesummer sandstorms, the border plains were briefly awash in the colors ofspring. Cool green mingled with the sulfur-yellow sands. Here and theremulticolored patches of flowers brought beauty and life to the horizon.Youth was their aphrodisiac and they were on a grand adventure!

The pair stopped at an oasis on the way. It was a most enchanting site.Lush foliage abounded and water flowed pure from an artesian well deepbelow the dunes. They were still two days travel from the rendezvouspoint, so being young and in love, they took advantage of the secludedspot to experience each other once again. Playfully the two cavorted andwrestled in a shallow portion of the oasis' clear water.

As the activity progressed, more of their trappings were thrown onto thenearby sand. Soon the water's chill was held at bay by the warmth oftheir embrace. Sinewy limbs surrounded their undulating forms whichimpelled the fulfillment of desire. Suddenly, the rapturous moment wassmashed to flinders! Armed men burst forth from the sands that had socleverly concealed them. It was an ambush!

The lovers were not helpless. Both were warriors, but they fought anenemy that was unfamiliar to them and was well prepared. The male wasinstantly ensnared by a device with spherical objects tied to strands ofcord. The female grabbed the line that held her mate in check thenpulled with all her might. The effort pulled the attacker off his feetto land face first in the sand.

Though still tangled up in the strange weapon, the male closed withanother attacker. The antagonist swung a strangely curved bladed weaponat the male. Twisting his body violently aside, the male was able toavoid being struck. The female leaped to her mate's defense. Strikingquickly with her upper limbs, the interloper was knocked flat.

From nowhere the female felt excruciating pain. The male too cried outin agony. Arrows filled the air, the sickening sounds they made whenstriking their bodies was the last thing the prisoner could remember. Aheartrending scream ripped from the dry throat of the prisoner. Theliving darkness had again come to call.

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