Leia has never met such a fearsome Amazon as this. She is the biggest woman she’s ever laid eyes on–almost like the notorious Hanalani sisters of old whom her mother barely won against in the Quest for Queen Trials. If it wasn’t for her Uncle Hagan’s Sixam tricks, she would have lost.
Thankfully, Mor sidles beside her daughter and wears a tight smile. “It is fine, Alena. These are friends.”
The blonde woman lowers her sword but does not change her countenance.
Leia is not happy by this cold greeting. “I wonder why you did not inform your children of our arrival. You did send your slave to fetch me, did you not, old friend?”
“You know as well as I do times are dangerous,” Mor answers. “One cannot be too cautious.”
“Then, if we are welcome, why does your daughter look ready to fight?” Leia is very confused by these mixed signals. Mor is not one to be trusted. She must have an ulterior motive if she wants to help Leia rise to the top instead of herself.
Commanding her daughter as if she is a grunt in her own personal army, Mor barks, “At ease, Alena.”
The daughter obeys quickly.
With a smirk on her face, Mor explains, “You see the power of my children? They have been highly trained in the art of war and they will follow you wherever you go as your own personal guards. Are you not impressed?”
Gazing at the warrior, Leia nods. “I would be happy to have such a guard as her. I’m quite shocked my brother produced such a beast of a woman. He is not a very tall man.”
“Ah but it must be the blessing of the Maker that made her so large. She does look like Aulani.”
“She does. May I be formally introduced?” Leia does not like how Mor treats Alena–more like a slave than a precious daughter.
“Of course. Creator Leia, this is my dearest daughter, Alena Rigan, and her brothers, Finnegan and Vance.”
Alena gives a curt nod as the boys bow before Leia.
“Please come in and let us get more comfortable,” Mor simpers. “We have much to discuss.”
Vance places food and drinks on the table but not for the slaves Leia notices. She has never seen such ill treatment of slaves. It is of the days of old–when women ruled the Amazon with iron fists. Slaves cowered before their domineering women and never ate with them nor sat among them. But Leia wishes Tonai to stay with her. Since their departure from their almost certain death at her mother’s hands, their love has been rekindled and all has been forgiven and forgotten between them. He is her partner for life now.
“Did Simon inform you of my plan, Creator Leia?” Mor asks.
Leia shifts trying to grow warmer by the fire. She is not used to the cold mountain air. She is a child of the desert and would not wish to stay here for very long. She wonders how Mor can stand to wear no sleeves.
“He stated you had a plan to overthrow my mother and put me in the place of queen and my daughter, Leilani, as Creator of Tribe Wahine. This must be a most ambitious plan. My mother’s Royal Amazon army is renoun and we’d have to kill all the Wahine Tribe members as they are loyal to Kalani and my mother.”
“Not all Tribe Wahine members. I still have a son who lives among them. He would be your ally. As for your mother’s army–her liberal leadership will be her undoing. With each moon, she passes a new decree giving slaves even more rights which is playing right into our hands. I am in contact with the Hanalani tribe. They have other tribes who are in support of you, Creator Leia. All we need to do is meet with them. They want to see you as well as ask a favor if you would be ushered in as queen.”
“The Hanalani Tribe?” Leia almost laughs. “Why would they help me become queen? They’ve always wanted the crown for themselves. Sounds like a trap. I wouldn’t trust them.”
Mor arches an eyebrow. “Many tribes were incensed at your ill treatment and want you as queen. They do not trust the Hanalani Tribe either. Without you, that tribe is powerless. This is your moment, Leia. You must seize the opportunity the Maker has laid before your feet!”
“I’m not sure how I feel about civil war. Amazon killing Amazon. And what of Tribe Wahine?”
For the first time, Alena speaks with an undeniably deep voice for a woman, “Allow me to share of this, Mother.”
Never looking at her daughter, Mor says, “Very well.”
Before Newlin can say a word to Kiko and tell her what a beautiful creature she is, Kanui blocks his advances.
“What is that you’re reading, my lady?” he asks. “Wicked Slaves in Wicked Times? I thought that was banned suns ago.”
Cheeks flushing, she giggles. “Stop it, Kanui. You know such a tome does not exist. It is just a fighting manual. I’m going to be Tribe Wahine’s new Champion. At least, I hope so.”
Newlin is outraged his cousin jumped in front of him like that. He is too old for Kiko as a mate. Nearly five suns older!
Kanui sits next to Kiko and says, “Allow me the honor of helping in your training. I was taught by Kandor and you know he’s the best.”
Fluttering her eyelashes, Kiko says, “I would be delighted if you would, Kanui.”
That brat, Newlin thinks. Well, two can play at that game to win Kiko’s favor. Newlin is much better at martial arts than Kanui or Kandor and that is what Amazons specialize in since their muscles are smaller than a man’s. And he is an excellent archer. This should be no contest. Newlin will help Kiko and then she should come around to him.