Hoku’s feet dangle off the side of the jungle gym as the cool evening air slips over her skin. She can smell rain in the air and it makes her spine tingle. “Want to find frogs with me, Britta? The glowing ones come out when the stars twinkle.”
“But won’t we get into trouble? We aren’t supposed to leave the compound after dark,” the little girl counters.
“If we leave now, no one will notice. All anyone cares about are the toddlers. I’ve snuck out for the past three nights!”
Although her insides tell her not to, Britta nods and says, “Let’s go.”
Chores done, Aley spots the wishing well, glimmering at him.
Why has no one used this powerful tool?
Probably because if the well is angered, curses are spewed rather than blessings. And so it sits collecting dust, ivy, and mildew.
Aley believes this is a shame.
He cannot help himself. Tossing a coin into its depths, he wishes with all his might that he would have a child.
One who would be an asset to his Creator as the tribe seems to be dwindling, swallowed up by Tribal sons.
To his amazement, he’s showered with green and pink sparkles.
Could his eyes be deceiving him?
The well speaks in a thunderous voice, “Go to the nursery, slave. Your wish has been granted.”
Heart squeezing, Aley races to the nursery. Sure enough, a beautiful babe with his coloring, cries in the bassinet.
The love he feels for the child overwhelms him. “I will call you, Xenia, which means ‘a gift’. For you are a true gift of all of Tribe Wahine and will bless everyone with your beauty, skill, and intelligence.”
The moon rises as the crickets trill in the shadows. Kiko meets with Kanui to receive her orders for the night.
“Have you checked the perimeter?” Kanui asks.
“Yes. All is well, Master Slave.”
“Good. Then take your place by the west entrance. I have word that battle has begun near the palace and we are on high alert.”
The thought of war reaching the queen sends fear crushing Kiko’s heart. Why did some amazons not want equality for all? How could they be so selfish? And now, it has come to this. Woman fighting woman. Weren’t the amazons of old put in charge because women didn’t believe in war?
“Kiko…is something troubling you?” Kanui says, cocking his head.
“I am saddened for all of us, Kanui. These are unsettling times. What if the war comes to us? We are but two guards. The odds would be against us.”
Kanui waves his hands. “This is a silly fear, Kiko. What would the rebels have to gain by fighting us? As you say, we are a weakened tribe. And so far away from the palace. It would be like stomping on a fly when swarming bees are attacking. Do not worry, my tribal sister.”
Kiko nods then gives a curt bow. Running to her post, she surveys the perimeter. Not a leaf is out of place.
Kanui is right. There is nothing to fear. But she will be ready just in case.
Runoi bounces Alika over his head as the child spills out giggles.
How Runoi loves the babies. If Kalani will allow it, he desperately wants another child. “I will woo her tonight for I know she cannot say no to me. Not when such beauty and manly vigor is before her, right little Alika?”
But then a waft of horrific stench overpowers him. Runoi puts the toddler down and groans.
“What is that smell, my love?” Kalani asks, walking behind him.
“It seems that Alika is doing what he knows best. Pooping.”
“You know how to fix that, don’t you, darling?”
“Sadly, yes, but I was hoping my dear, sweet, enchanting, lovely, rosy queen might help me? No? Ah, well…best get to it then.”
Bending down, Runoi asks, “Why must you fill your diapers several times a day, little man? You’re a baby not a horse.”
Once he pulls the offensive diaper off, Runoi quickly disposes of it. “Why must it reek like a pteradactyl monster died in there? Alika, you have achieved the worst stench award out of all the babies.”
After Runoi hands Alika off to Eila to put to bed, both he and his lovely queen retire from the day. It is his last night before he travels to the Royal Slave Army. And although he is happy to be able to fulfill his duty, he also will miss his dear sweet love most of all.
Gingerly caressing her hair, Runoi gives Kalani a tender kiss.
“I love you, Runoi. Don’t ever forget about me after you leave.”
“My rosy queen, I could no more forget you than I could forget about the sun or the moon or stars. You are my everything. I will come back to you. Make no mistake.”
Runoi showers Kalani in kisses as tears stream down her face.
It is in the middle of the night. All are asleep except for the two sentries in which her brothers should have disposed of by now. How horribly inept this tribe is. The Creator’s bedroom is without proper windows. No locks. Just open air wafting in as the palm fronds clatter in the breeze.
And to think this is the tribe in which she would have been born.
Mixed feelings of disgust and and hope swirl within her.
It will be MY birthright. I will become the queen of the Amazons. This first act will secure my place. First I kill the Creator and then the Creator Heiress who also sleeps without windows.
This is all too easy.