“Brother?” Alena almost spits the word. “I have no other brothers than Vance and Finn. You will die for your insolence, thief!”
“Stand down, Alena!” her mother’s worried voice echoes off the hut’s walls. Mor rushes over to the man. She can’t believe her eyes. “Is it really you, Newlin?”
“Yes, Mother. I’ve left them, finally. I’ve run away from Tribe Wahine.”
Tears come to Mor’s eyes. “My son,” she whispers. “It’s been too long. I’m so happy you’re here.”
Pulling away, she says, “It’s great timing that you’ve arrived. War is upon us as well as our vengeance against that evil Tribe Wahine. But whatever made you change your mind, son? I’m beyond happy at this news, but am a bit confounded. You seemed adamant that you were to stay for the rest of your life.”
Newlin’s face grows solemn. “They made me the lowest of all slaves, Mother. Me. A prince–the grandson of the queen! Their insults against me proved too much. My cousin Kanui, Leah’s son, rules over everyone. It was too much to bear and so, here I am.” Newlin doesn’t wish to divulge the truth. What good would come if his mother knew his folly?
“Your life has been spared, my son, for a curse is about to be fulfilled against Tribe Wahine. I am so thankful you left. But we will talk more about this later.” She waves a hand. “Newlin, meet your younger brothers, Finnegan and Vance. And your younger sister, Alena.” Turning toward her red haired son, she orders, “Finn, give Newlin your room. He’s Master Slave now. You will share with Vance.”
Newlin can’t keep the grin off his face. Master Slave! This is a dream come true!
Mor adds, “I hope your room will be most hospitable for you. It is the best next to Alena’s. I know you’re used to comfort of a rich tribe. We’ve come into a little money, so we will be making improvements.
“Finn and Vance will be building another bedroom since you’re here. And you will supervise their work. Does that sound good to you?”
Newlin is going to be the boss? His happiness almost spills over. “I am beyond grateful, Mother. You are too kind.”
She shakes her head. “Anything for my eldest son who was ripped away from me by Tribe Wahine. Come, chat with me for a while.” Mor takes Newlin by the hand and leads him downstairs to the living room by the fire for it is winter and the cold front has just settled over the land.
Vance gives his brother, Finn, a look. Alena can see her brothers are not pleased by this unwelcome sibling nor by his new status.
Alena does not like it either. She will have to do something about this nuisance. And soon.
Kiko finally has her baby on the same night as Lilit. She names her little boy, Dak, after a great warrior from the jungles before the entrance of the Amazon upon the land. She misses Newlin so much for the boy looks just like him.
Lilit gives birth to two sons, Ale and Alika.
And although Kanui is a bit disappointed one is not a girl, he loves his boys very much. One looks just like him and the other like Lilit. He thanks the Maker for blessing them so richly.
Suns pass and with it, Temon’s irritability only worsens. Why oh why did he leave his pleasant life as the Master Slave of a men-only slave hold? He must have been crazy to follow Mist on this scheme to live with the famous Tribe Wahine. What he found out was a famous tribe has just as much work to do as an insignificant tribe. And this one keeps burgenoning. Now, he’s surrounded by poopy diapers, spit up, and laundry.
Add to it Kanui’s new venture into turning both of them into fighting slaves, and his animosity only grows more. His love, Aley, looks pitiful trying to wrangle those heavy weights. “Why must you do as he says, darling? It’ll only hurt your back. You’ve been at this for moons and there is not even one single sinew growing upon your arms.”
Aley grunts loudly. “It…is…beyond me…to go against…the huge…Master Slave Kanui…my love.”
“Well, you could at least pick up your clothes off the floor and put them in the hamper. My work is never done.” Temon tuts, shaking his head.
“Yes, dear. I’ll do that next time. Sorry.” Aley starts brawling with the leg weights and it looks as if he’s losing.
Temon sighs and picks up the clothes. The laundry is a mountain that grows by the minute. It’s time to tackle the monstrosity. He’s destined for the wash tub, not looking forward to the sweat, suds, and sore muscles.
“Hello, Aley. Hello, Temon.” Kanui the giant blonde oaf walks in. Temon tries not to roll his eyes. “You’re doing great, Aley. Only two more sets! I can see an improvement. Keep it up!”
Improvement? Temon almost lets out a derisive laugh which is only halted by the horrific stench coming from foul smelling gym clothing.
Hopping on the treadmill, Kanui says in his infuriatingly cheery way, “There’s nothing better than a good workout. Right, Aley?”
Aley grunts, “Yes…M-Master Kanui. Arrrrgh.” He barely makes the leg weight rise.
“Oh for Makers sake.” Temon throws up a hand and leaves before he pulls his hair out. Next to the gym is the poop producers’ room. He tries to avoid this part of the compound as if it is infected with typhoid. But unfortunately, Kanui had told him the hampers were full.
He picks up some clothes off the floor right in front of the Provider. Isn’t she supposed to help with the children? In the two suns Temon’s been with the Tribe, he’s never seen this one do any work.
“No, no, that’s quite all right. I don’t need your assistance, madame.” This little bit of sarcasm always helped keep his sanity. Unfortunately, the daft woman doesn’t even look up. “This isn’t your lucky day, Temon,” he mutters to himself.
Adding insult to injury, he’s met with two big blue eyes at the wash tub. “What do you want? Milk? Grilled cheese? Gold? My last will and testament? I’ll tell you this, I have nothing to my name so you might as well run along, little Alika.”
“Of course you did.” Where is his mother, Lilit? Probably sitting down to a trough of hamburgers as usual. “Why don’t you find your grandmother, Eila. She’s looking for you!”
Flinging up his hands, he cries, “Yippee!”
Round 1 goes to Temon. At least he did something right today.
After hours of aching labor at the wash tub, Temon is finally ready to hang the clothing.
And although tedious, the breezes send a welcome scent of lemon, clearing his senses. Better to be out here with the laundry than with nine people and six sticky children.
After he hangs the last shirt, he spies Mist’s pretty face. He’s grown fond of her these past suns. He can honestly call her a great friend. She leaves him alone for the most part and never once asked him to fulfill the duty he’d promised to her. He feels a bit guilty for it. Would she request this of him, he would obey wholeheartedly. It’s the least he could repay her for the life with his true love unencumbered by an eventual split. There was no doubt someone would have bought Aley sooner or later and they would have never seen each other again.
Wincing, Mist says, “Temon…can I ask you something?” She points at the ceremonial gong. “Over there?”
Speak of what is to come…Temon’s blood rushes out of his head.
“Temon…my…our Creator is adamant that I procure your services. We are without many daughters. She wishes us…to try.” She gulps.
Of course he would fulfill his duty, but he wants to tease her a bit. “Well…uh…”
“Oh, Temon, I know it’s disgusting to you to be with a woman but it is out of necessity…”
He cannot tease her any longer. Interjecting, he says, “Of course, my mistress. I’ve been wondering what was taking you so long. It will be my honor.”
And although Temon pictures his love Aley in his mind as he performs the act, he cannot say he didn’t enjoy this duty.
Maybe this time, his spawn would add to the poop mountain that he would never clean up, and it might make the task of laundry a bit more satisfying.