Today is a most important celebration. Makana is turning into a teenager. Oh how the suns have passed. It seems like only a few moons ago when Runoi and Kalani held their first born daughter in their arms.
“We aren’t getting any younger, are we, my rosy queen?” Runoi says with a laugh. “But I must say, you look as if you could be our daughter’s sister, not mother, you’re so beautiful.”
Kalani grins at the sweet words of her mate and gives him a kiss on the cheek. She walks over to the table and says, “You outdid yourself on her cake, my love. Do you like it, Makana?”
“Yes. Father made it exactly as I asked. Cranberries are my favorite.”
Runoi throws confetti and says, “Make a wish, my darling sweet rose petal!”
Makana thinks for a while. She decides to wish for the curse that’s been hovering over her mistake to be lifted. Then with a shrug, hoping that impossible dream to become possible, she blows out the candles.
“Whoo hoo!” Runoi hollers then rips a loud blast on the celebration horn.
With a magical twirl, Makana grows taller. “Tada! How do I look?”
“Like a gorgeous ruby queen. Kings will bow down before you, my beautiful daughter. I would expect nothing less coming from your exquisitely striking parents.”
Makana laughs at her father’s joke. He always spoke positive words or clowned around and was never cross with her. How lucky she is to have such a family.
Sitting at the bar, she says, “Well, what is everyone looking at me for? It’s time to dance and have a good time!”
Leading the way, Makana lets loose with everyone bobbing to the jungle music Kanui and Lilit picked up from their journey a few suns ago.
Hoku is a masterful dancer already, just like her father.
Parties are especially fun for her. She cannot wait until she becomes a teenager. But she’ll have to wait two more suns.
In a few minutes, the whole tribe joins in the festivities. It’s a pleasurable time for Tribe Wahine.
Growing weary of dancing, Makana leaves the room to find one member of the tribe not joining in. Cocking her head, Makana says in a motherly tone, “Ale…what are you doing out here?” The twins were always getting into trouble. One person needed to keep an eye on them at all times. Seems he slipped away somehow.
“Nofing,” the tot says with an impish look on his face. Makana is sure there’s paint all over the grass somewhere in the gardens.
“Are you mad?” he asks with big brown eyes, making Makana’s heart melt.
Picking him up, Makana says, “Not today! It’s my birthday and you look like you’re in need of cake!”
Days later, Temon is feeling the lowest since his arrival to Tribe Wahine. His arms ache, his legs feel as if they’ve lifted too many weights but worst of all, his heart weighs on him. Kanui notices and asks, “What’s wrong with you, my tribal brother? Are you not well? For it is a joyous week. All duties are finished. The sun is shining. Our tribal coffers are full. If you wish anything, all you have to do is but ask.”
“I do not know, Kanui. Could it be that the burden of fatherhood is upon me like a demon sitting on my chest? What if Mist bears yet another son? I do not think I could take trying again only to be cursed with nothing but male children.”
“Sons are not curses, Temon. Not anymore. The queen needs sons for the Royal Guard. Or better yet, they might be given the special honor of serving at the queen’s court. Tribe Wahine’s sons are always given favor. Think of me. I have two sons, but already, Queen Hawika has asked to see them. I am not downcast. You shouldn’t be either.”
Temon thinks this over. The words Kanui speaks are true but…Temon isn’t the grandson of the queen like Kanui. Would his son be granted such favor? He can feel it in his bones. He will be cursed with a boy.
Sighing then straightening his back, Temon mutters, “I must go, Kanui. Although you say all the work is done for the week, laundry waits for no man.”
“Take Aley with you to lighten your load this time. Okay, Temon? And cheer up!”
“Of course, Master Kanui. Thank you.”
Temon’s mate lovingly goes with him to see to his laundry tasks. “You do not have to do this, darling. It is my lot to finish the laundry. You are to help with the children. It is what you love best.” A cloud seems to rain over Temon’s head. He cannot shake this heavy feeling.
“Nonsense, my love. I want to help you.” Aley grabs a heap of clean clothes to hang dry.
One by one, Aley pins each parcel. He loves getting outside in the cool breezes for a change. He worries for his mate, though. Sometimes a demon takes hold of Temon for moons and nothing can console him.
Once they’ve finished, Aley pulls Temon aside. “Hey…what is it, my love? You know you can share with me.”
“My burdens are mine alone, I’m afraid. I do not wish to push them on you.”
“Then why am I here, Temon? You saved me from certain death at the hands of the Northern clans and from all kinds of atrocities. I am your mate. For life. I wish to carry burdens right along with you. Is it something to do with Mist? You can tell me. You know I am not jealous.”
Looking down for a while, Temon finally lifts his head and answers, “I…I am worried we will bear a son. And that my position in the tribe will sink even lower. It is as if the Maker hates me. I feel unloved.”
Grabbing Temon’s hand, Aley whispers, “Why don’t you meet me in our bedroom and I will rectify that situation, hmm?”
Tingles swoop through Temon and his spirits are lifted if only for a minute. He smiles. “You do know how to make me feel better.”
Grabbing onto Temon in a hug, Aley says, “I love you, Temon. Never forget that.”
It is Makana’s desire to revive the old way–that the Creator be the strongest in her tribe. She awaits Kanui for her mana lessons, but he is detained having to fix the pipes in the cellar. This compound groans with age. She hopes to one day renovate the old place.
A horrible wail takes her from these thoughts. She almost laughs at the hopeless scene in front of her.
Poor Temon is literally dying on the treadmill and Aley keeps pulling on heavy weights to no avail.
“Temon, why must you continually burden yourself on these machines. It seems like torture. I believe your talents lie elsewhere. It is obvious you’re not a fighter.”
“With all due respect to your cousin, but it is his brilliant idea to wrought this tired piece of clay into gold. Obviously, his plans are without much intellect. But no one asked me what I am talented at. If they had, I would have told them outright.”
“What are your talents, Temon?” Makana asks. She feels sorry all this time has passed and she really hadn’t gotten to know the newest members of her tribe.
Aley answers for him, “He is brilliant with numbers and with managing. He could have Tribe Wahine running at tip top condition without so many things breaking down. He was Master Slave over the best slave hold in all the Amazon. This was due to his talents, my Creator Heiress.”
Arching an eyebrow, Makana says, “I will keep that in mind then, Aley. In the meantime, I think your talents are best suited for the showers?” She winks.
“Hoo boy, I guess I do stink. Forgive me, princess, I will retire to the bath right away.”
Makana laughs and waves him away. “I think I’m going to have a talk with Kanui about both of your situations.”