Dark clouds form above as Alena trains the generals of the Amazon Rebel army she’s about to command.
She proclaims, “It’s time to lay down all of your fear, great warriors, for our time has come to seize the royal castle and take down the growing pestilence of change.”
“Marza, are you without fear?” Alena asks the first woman. This is typical protocol before training. Alena knows these women are the finest warriors bread throughout the land. Tribe Hanalani is renown for their cunning and vicious fighting skills. None will have any fear within them.
Marza gives a curt nod. “I am, Commander.”
Alena whips her blade through the air. “What about you, Definia?”
Definia does not answer. In fact, the woman trembles.
This will not work. Alena must tear out any weak Amazon warriors or her fear could spread to the others.
“You dare not to speak, Definia? That could mean your death. Face me!” she orders.
The woman obeys, brandishing her weapon, readying for the fight.
Alena puts the sword point toward her neck. “Tell me why I don’t impale you right here. Your weakness disgusts me.”
Bowing, Definia says, “I feel my training is beneath yours, my gracious commander. I have much to learn before I can lead my own division.”
This surprises Alena. She’s seen Definia’s fighting style. It is above all of the generals here. “How can you say that? I am here. To train all of you. Why do you not believe in yourself?”
“I do believe in myself, but…” she stops herself. Her lips move but nothing comes out.
“What is it? Tell me.”
Wiping the tears that form in her eyes, Definia still does not answer.
This form of weakness ignites rage inside Alena. She raises her sword to kill Definia, but the warrior easily rebuffs her strike.
Then Definia stabs her sword into the ground in submission. “I have a request, honorable commander.”
Stunned with heart quickening, Alena asks, “What is it?”
“I humbly request that you train me in addition to our regular regimen. Alone.”
Everything Newlin feared is coming to pass right before his eyes. There aren’t enough tears he could shed to make anything better at the moment. He wishes he could go back in time to the falls where he made the first step to his and Kiko’s doom. What was he thinking? He knows he took precautions, but Kiko is right. They were cursed by the Maker for their folly and were found out. Now, his Creator is staring at him with fury in her eyes.
“I’ve been told you are pregnant, Kiko. Is this true?” Creator Kalani asks in a fierce voice. “Remember, if you lie, the penalty is death. Be careful.”
Kiko shivers and stammers, “I…um…uh…”
Looking down at her, Kalani orders, “Out with it!”
Shoulders falling, Kiko nods. Newlin wishes she didn’t have to suffer. It is his fault. She just went along with his desires.
Eyebrows knitting, Kalani asks, “Why would you do something like this, Kiko? You had a whole future as this tribe’s Champion!”
Eyes glistening, Kiko answers, “B-Because…I… love Newlin. I know it’s wrong, but…I couldn’t help it, Creator. I can only hope you will forgive me…us. Please. This child will be loved. I’m only two suns younger…I don’t understand the law anyway. In the days of old, amazons younger than me sired children.”
“Kiko…” her mother Ina says with a sigh. “The laws were put into place to protect you. Young girls can be manipulated by untrustworthy men. Newlin is much older than you. He should have respected you but he didn’t. This proves you aren’t old enough to make these kinds of decisions for yourself.”
“Did you come to Newlin first or did he?” Kalani asks.
Glancing down in defeat, Kiko answers, “He did.”
“He’s an adult slave who broke the laws and you allowed this. An Amazon ALWAYS makes the first move in mating, not the other way around. This protects the tribe. It is for everyone’s good.”
Kalani then says, “It is with a heavy heart that I must make a judgement on this but the law is clear. An Amazon who is sixteen suns old and goes against the tribe in mating loses all honor within the tribe. Take your things from your room. You will go to the smallest room in the basement. You will be allowed to give birth in the tribe. But your shame will follow you the rest of your days.”
Tears trickling down her face, Kiko nods then walks sadly to fetch her belongings from her beautiful room in the highest floor of honor. If only she would have told Newlin no in the first place. But…she wanted to be with him so badly. And now she’ll have to suffer for this wrong for all her life.
Once Kiko pads away, Kalani’s gaze burns into Newlin. “And as for you, slave, what do you have to say for your actions?”
Here it is. Newlin’s time to plea for his life in the tribe. His heart beats painfully as his mouth dries like sand. “Dear Creator…m-my sister…I meant no harm. Truly. It was not out of malicious intent or disrespect that I sought out Kiko. We’ve had an attachment since we were children. I…forgot myself out there when I was training with her in the mist of the jungle falls.
“I will say that you’re doing our tribe a disservice in stripping Kiko of her title as Champion. She is truly gifted and will be an asset in protecting the tribe. If she cannot do her duty, who will replace her? As it is, you’ve lost your strongest fighting slave, Kandor. If I may be so bold…I would offer that you cannot afford losing even me. I’m very skilled in fighting even more so than Kanui. With war on the horizon, I think it unwise to adhere so closely to the law….”
Arching an eyebrow, Kalani hisses, “You would have me turn a blind eye to your infidelities, slave? And allow your cancer to swallow up even more of my tribal sisters? I wouldn’t trust you with my worst enemy. No…you are no asset to this tribe. You’re a blight that needs to be cut off.”
“Then may I ask to be allowed one parting moment with the mother of my child? I plead on your most noble mercy as your blood kin, your brother. Please, Creator.”
Ina answers instead, “If you even draw near to my daughter, I will make it so you will never have children.”
Kalani adds, “Mercy is not mine to give. You’ve dishonored me in the most grievous way. I’ve been too nice to you since you are my brother. I’ve turned a blind eye to your slothful ways, your malevolence toward Kanui, your apathy to the running of this tribe. Not anymore. You are hereby banished from Tribe Wahine. There will be no honors. Tribes who come upon you will know as I will send the word. And if you ever come back, you will suffer your miserable end in the Pillar of Death. Do I make myself clear?”
Newlin nods, casting his eyes downward, face heating up at the gravity of his conviction. If a mean tribe comes along who likes to punish dishonored slaves, he could be drowned in their pit of death or worse.
He can’t believe the folly of Kalani’s decision. She’s leaving her tribe open with hardly anyone to defend it against invaders.
Stupid fool, he thinks as Kanui binds his hands and forces him to his feet.
His sister will one day regret this decision, he vows. He knows this deep in his soul.