Chapter 6.18 Conversations

A jolt spiraled through Kalani when she sees her Shaman, Mist Mountain, walking into the living room. “Dearest Creator Kalani, it is with great honor I’ve arrived home. Finally.”

Without another word, Kalani embraces Mist, squeezing her, thanking the Maker for her return. Without the woman’s sage advice, Kalani has felt lost having to make decisions without the experience only a shaman can give. “You have been sorely missed, my tribal sister. Please, tell me how things are. How are Dilabi and her Tribe Cisneris. Is her mate, Mattias, well?” Kalani last heard he was on the brink of death at the hands of the evil Simon Le Boeff.

Mist stayed on to take care of the ailing slave.

But that was suns ago and since she hadn’t heard back, Kalani thought maybe Mist wanted to join Tribe Cisneris.

“All is very well, my Creator,” Mist answered. “In fact, Dilabi is expecting her second child. I’m very sorry for my delay, but the budding tribe needed me and I felt I couldn’t leave until we found a proper replacement.”

“Of course. My mother told me not to expect you back. So having you here even after all these suns, is a blessing!” Kalani waves toward the bar. “Come. Let us chat for a bit before you settle into your room. We’ve changed things around here since you were last home.”

Mist laughs. “I can very well see that this tribe has the full blessing of the Maker. I will be lost. The grounds are vast indeed.”

“We are doing well, but we’ve had a few bumps. Still, that treacherous Simon Le Boeff, has not been captured and there is talk of war. But all in all, we’re managing. With only three slaves to clean and take care of our extensive grounds, we’re in desperate need of more. But I’m too busy to go to the slave hold to buy a new one.”

At this, Ina sits down after she gives Mist a warm welcome hug. “My dearest Creator, we don’t need more slaves. We need more babies. If we fetch another slave, he must be a breeding slave. He will do his duty, then we must cast him out. We cannot have undue meddling with our tribal daughters here. Our Tribe Wahine compound is too big.”

“Very well,” Kalani agrees. “Mist, why don’t you fetch the new slave for us. He will be your mate as you haven’t produced an offspring. As Ina says, our tribe needs new members. I’d love for little Hoku to have another playmate in addition to baby Britta.”

Mist’s stomach clenches at the thought of having a child at her late middle age. She always thought the duty of child bearing would be left for the other younger women of the tribe. But with so few sisters left in the group, she knows she cannot refuse.

She swallows and says, “Yes, of course. I’ll…leave straight away and bring back a mate.”

*****

“Does that feel good, my queen?” Jozka’s cool fingers soothingly dig into Leia’s tense shoulders, sending ripples of relaxation throughout her body.

“Mmm…yes, dear Jozka. I’ve never had such a nice massage. Tonai’s hands are always too rough.”

“That’s because he’s a man. Men have no place doing things of this nature.” She suddenly slows the pressure. “My queen, may I ask a question?”

Arching an eyebrow, Leia answers, “Of course. You’re always welcome to speak freely with me, Jozka.”

“Why do you have a slave as a mate who stays with you? Is that not against our ways? I believe your mother has cursed your tribe in giving slaves too many rights. In the end, if you’re not careful, his influence will rule over you. That is against everything we’re about to fight for.”

Leia has never thought about this. Her tribal sisters have always loved their slaves, always been attached to them. It’s the way she’s known. But history dictates that it wasn’t always this way. In fact, in the histories of Tribe Wahine, Abra Wahine, the first creator, left the tribe to stay with her love, Kai Pakala, a woman. And any bond between a slave and an amazon was strictly forbidden. Jozka speaks truth. Has she been living wrongly this whole time? But…Leia loves Tonai. How could she give him up? “I…um…know no other way, Jozka. An amazon rules, yes, but…men are a part of our tribe just like family.”

Leia thinks about how her own son, Kanui, would have been sacrificed with the old laws. Is it not good that this law has been abolished? Plus, in her mother’s rule, any partner, no matter the gender, was not forbidden. Leia is conflicted. How far would she go, embracing the ancient ways?

Moving toward Leia, Jozka says in a sultry voice, “You must follow the true Amazon ways now, Leia. Without men.”

Leia’s heart flutters as she gazes into Jozka’s light eyes. Her lashes are so long, and her face so near, she can almost feel them. Her skin prickles at the thought of being with Jozka like this. “What are you suggesting?” Leia whispers.

“Be with me. I will make that slave leave your mind for good.”

*****

Betrayal. Anger. Fury. Heartbreak. Misery. These are just a few of the emotions running through Makana after the unjust treatment of her uncle by her mother. He is her mother’s brother! How could she throw him away like an old toy? He isn’t some slave they bought at the hold who has no manners and only wants to breed–he is blood. Royalty. Grandson of the queen!

Makana is so furious she’d spit venom if she could.

Hearing the dinner bell ring throughout the compound, Makana storms down the steps, each footfall an exclamation point on how she feels.

The one person she desperately doesn’t want to see strides over to her. “Ah, there you are, Makana. Time for supper. Everyone is looking for you.”

Makana glares. “I was already on my way.”

Kalani lurches her head back. “Makana…is something the matter?”

The cauldron that is building inside Makana blows. “OF COURSE something’s the matter. My uncle. My FAVORITE uncle is gone! You tricked me into telling you. You lied! And now I’ll never see him again!”

“Oh, Makana…we really need to talk this out. You cannot bluster about in a fit. Come. Let us chat. Okay?”

Makana doesn’t want to chat. But she follows her mother into the gardens anyway. She’d get into a lot of trouble if she disobeyed. “Yeah,” Makana thinks. “She’d probably cast me out, too, and make Hoku the next Creator.”

“Makana…this anger you’re feeling…it’s not right to hold it in. You don’t understand that sometimes as a Creator, we must make hard decisions. Decisions that go against our own wishes. I didn’t want to cast out Newlin. It grieved me abominably. I want him back with us with all my heart, but…”

“But what?” Makana interrupted. “You are the Creator. You can do what you want. Why did you have to do it, Mother? He did nothing wrong!”

“You’re wrong, Makana, and it’s a prudent thing you learn now. Slaves and amazons are not allowed to have children until the woman comes of age. This is to protect the amazon. It is only a woman’s choice whether or not it’s time for breeding. It is a strict thing. If I allowed Newlin to get away with breaking our laws, then slaves as well as tribal sisters would not abide by my rule. There would be no end to it. Rules are there for protection. You will understand this more as you mature.”

“I don’t understand. It’s a dumb rule. I’ll make it change when I’m Creator.”

Kalani sighs. She feels she has failed as a mother to Makana. Maybe she’s been too lax on rules with her. But how can she train her better? Maybe Mist could help in this.

Eyeing Makana, Kalani says, “When a woman and a slave mate, it is a special time, done in ceremony with the blessing of the Maker. There are rituals we must follow or the tribe will fall under a curse. Do you want our Tribe to suffer?”

Narrowing her eyes, Makana says, “I don’t believe in curses.”

“They’re real, Makana. You better believe it or you’ll anger the Maker.”

Waving her arms, Makana says, “The Maker wouldn’t care if Newlin stayed with us. It would be better! He loves babies. He could help take care of his baby, too. He used to help all the time in watching Hoku and Britta. I think you cursed us by making him leave.”

This conversation is going nowhere. Makana is too young to understand. “I’m done discussing this with you. One day, you will understand the wisdom in my decision. Until then, I’ll hear no more about it or you will be punished. Do you understand, Makana?”

Defeated, Makana simply nods even though in her heart she doesn’t wish to.

“Good.” Her mother stands, brushing out the wrinkles in her dress. “Now it’s time for supper. I’m sure your father is not happy that we are going to be late for the meal he’s worked very hard on for everyone.”

Tears pool in Makana’s eyes for she knows she’ll never see her uncle again and there’s nothing she can do about it.

Hey, Amazons!

I’m having a casting call for new slaves for this story for when Makana takes over. If you want to participate, please read the instructions on the sims forum. If you want to submit but don’t belong to the forum, please join my discord server and you can submit them there.

Click here for submission guidelines: TRIBE WAHINE GEN 6 CASTING CALL

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Chapter 6.17 New Plans

“The monsoons are about to begin,” Hanalani’s Creator, Jozka, says as she walks alongside Leia near the ocean. The surf roars as the waves crash against the huge rocks. Leia had never lived by the sea. She wishes she wouldn’t have to go back to the desert. Maybe once she became queen, she’d build a massive castle right here where she’d always get to listen to the comfort of cawing seagulls and smell the salty sea air.

“There you are,” Mor says as she skuttles around the women like a spider. As the weeks pass, Leia has grown more wary of her partner in this quest. She wonders if Mor is jealous of her new comradarie with Jozka. “You should retire inside. It’s about to rain.”

Turning to her new friend, Leia says, “She is right, Jozka, maybe we should go back, much as I like it out here.”

“We have plenty of time, sweet Leia,” Jozka says, grazing her fingers along Leia’s arm, making goosebumps in their wake. Turning toward Mor, Jozka smiles. “We are quite capable of figuring out when to go back on our own, Mor Rigan. Is there something on your mind?”

Leia could hear the undertone of a challenge in the woman’s voice. She wonders how Mor will take the subtle threat.

Leia notices Mor’s hands turning to fists, but Mor keeps a calm demeanor. “It’s just that for the protection of our queen, I think she should not wander so far from the compound. It is folly without a guard.”

Smirking, Jozka retorts, “I am quite capable of guarding the queen. She is safe with me.”

Before Mor could respond, Nob hurries toward the women and makes a curt bow. “If I may, Creator. I have urgent news.”

“Yes, Nob, what is it?” Jozka asks.

“We’ve got word Amazons and slaves from all over the empire are streaming into the royal palace. They’re assembling for war. Someone alerted them to the building of our army.”

“Damn,” Leia mutters as pins prickle over her, thinking about her mother preparing to war against her. Although Leia knew this would happen, planning a thing and actually doing it are so different. A part of her wishes to retreat back with Tonai, live a quiet life and never think about Tribe Wahine and the throne again. But she’s gone too far for these silly notions.

“What can we do? We don’t have the numbers to defeat my mother’s original army yet and now with more troops…” Leia says, dread blanketing her like a dark tomb.

Jozka raises her hand, “We’ve predicted this, but not so fast. When will your daughter have our warriors ready, Mor? The longer we wait, the stronger this imposter queen grows.”

Without a shred of worry in her voice, Mor says, “It is a simple thing. Anyone with half a brain would know what to do in such situations.” Mor stares at Leia, implicating that she’s chosen the wrong woman to follow.

Leia swallows and asks, “What should we do then?”

Lifting the side of her mouth, Mor answers, “We simply wait until the quarry settles. Forgets we’re even in the shadows.” She arches an eyebrow. “Then we strike.”

*****

Kanui strips Newlin’s binds and frees him as they stop at the edge of Tribe Wahine’s property. He spies his cousin’s melancholy face and feels a sorrowful pang. He and Newlin never got along growing up, but the man wasn’t truly evil. Kanui feels the punishment was too strong for what had happened. With Lilit’s young adult birthday only moons away, it’s easy for him to wait, but what if it was two suns? He wonders if he wouldn’t have followed the same fate. He believes the laws are too strict. They don’t belong with the liberal rule of allowing intermingling of slaves and Amazons. Maybe the Amazons of old knew what they were doing with separating slave and woman. But now…Kanui feels only misery never getting to see his tribal brother again. He thinks they might have become friends in time once they both matured.

But as the tribe’s Master Slave, Kanui has a job to do. He cannot let his own emotions color his duty. “I bid you farewell, slave. Dare not to tread on these grounds again for I will have to chain you and throw you in the pit of death.”

Newlin doesn’t respond. He only gazes at the beautiful oasis, something Kanui often loved to look at. In fact, he’d come out here not long ago with Lilit, kissing her as the sun set. Kanui realizes this is the last time Newlin will see this scene.

Another pang of regret washes over him. Kanui’s muscles relax and he says, “I’ll miss you, my…friend.”

Sighing, Newlin mutters, “I’ll miss you, too.”

Not wishing to stand there any longer, Kanui turns on his heel, ambling up the hill as the dust swirls in the whisper of the wind. A knot forms in his throat. These are the darkest times for Tribe Wahine. He hopes Newlin will make his way out there in safety. He prays this earnestly to the Maker.

*****

Weeks pass. Newlin has slept in caves, eaten ants, caught fish with his bare hands, and suffered bitter cold winds as he wound his way to his mother’s hut. But finally, he sees the glowing skulls of the entrance welcoming him.

HIs mother had sent him a detailed map and drawing of the place several suns ago, imploring him to run away, but he never would.

And now, the tribe he loved, the tribe he was so loyal to, cast him out so he had no choice. And Kiko will not meet him. He knows that deep in his heart.

Even if he sent a messsage, Kanui would fetch it first from the mail and destroy any communications. It was hopeless. He would never see his love or his child.

“Mother!” Newlin calls as he walks on the wooden deck. It’s strange not to be greeted. He knew his siblings would be guarding the grounds. Surely they aren’t all asleep, leaving this place to theives and vagabonds. No wonder his mother begged him to live with her. His younger siblings must be a spoiled, lazy lot! She needs a proper Master Slave.

He searches every room but no one is here. The place is deserted. An ominous feeling creeps over him. What if they were all killed by marauders. Since they lived in such a remote place, it was a possibility.

Newlin’s stomach growls like a hungry leopard. He had no time for worries. His mother was a formidible witch. There had to be a reason they weren’t here. Newlin is sure she’ll come home soon enough. In the meantime, his stomach has to be satiated. He picks through his mother’s stores, finding some rations that hadn’t spoiled.

Slicing some vegetables, Newlin groans thinking he’ll have to cook for himself, but he’ll gladly do this. He hadn’t eaten anything decent since he left the tribe.

A pain slices through his fingers and he hollars, “Ouch! Damn it!” He grabs his throbbing finger, blood dripping.

“Where the hell is Runoi when you need him?” But even the thought of his former tribe’s cook and mate of his hated sister squeezes his heart. “I will not think about them. I won’t!” he groans at himself.

But as he eats, he sees how dark and dingy his mother’s place is. The feelings of homesickness devour him. Is life worth this? he wonders.

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Chapter 6.16 Judgement

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.

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Chapter 6.15 Confessions

The sickness only grows worse for Kiko. She can’t even make it to the bathroom when she wretches in the bushes.

It is no better for Newlin. Kiko will not speak to him let alone allow him to touch her. It’s like he’s been banished already.

But he would not allow those dismal thoughts to worry him further. He is going to take Kiko away with him in a few weeks once her sickness subsides.

But things are so bad between them, he wonders if she’ll go away with him when the time comes. Tingles prick the edges of his eyes and he blinks back tears. He will not be sad about this, he angrily tells himself. Kiko will come. He’ll reason with her.

But the morose thoughts needle him so much that he floats through the compound in a zombie like state, not noticing anything or anyone.

“Hello, Newlin. I’m about to put the toddlers down. Would you like to come?” Elue asks. “I know you love tucking them in bed.”

Newlin scowls to himself in answer. Elue thinks he must have been scolded by Kanui again and shrugs.

Newlin is so wrapped up in his thoughts that he doesn’t realize he’s about to sit next to Lilit whom he hates the most in the tribe. He cannot stand her insipid remarks and her blathering on and on about Kanui’s merits.

“Well, well, if it isn’t the laziest slave on the planet,” Lilit says with a glare. “What are you here for, Newlin? You want me to watch the little ones again? I think it’s their bedtime.”

But even Lilit’s nasty remarks don’t register. He simply shakes his head and stares off in the distance—behavior Lilit has never seen before from Newlin. She wonders what’s wrong.

******

In the middle of the night, Kalani wakes to the muffled sound of crying.

She opens her eyes to see Makana, shaking, tears shimmering on her face.

“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” Kalani asks, rising up.

“I…um…I’m worried about something and I can’t sleep.”

Scooping her up, Kalani asks, “What are you worried about, sweetie? Maybe Daddy and I could help.”

Runoi wakes up startled. He rubs Makana’s back. “Rose petal, do tell us. Parents can always help you.”

Shaking her head, Makana cries, “I’m scared to tell.”

Kalani shoots a worried look at Runoi. Her mind whirs at what could possibly be bothering her daughter so much.

Smiling, Runoi pulls Makana toward him and says, “Of course we can help. Did you know parents are the best solution people on the earth? Our dear Maker created us for this heavenly duty especially. You can count on that, my sweet rosy baby. Now, why don’t you run along to your room and you can have a chat with Mommy, all right? She’s the Creator of this tribe, after all, and she solves all kinds of problems daily. Trust me on this.” He winks.

Makana lifts the side of her mouth and nods.

“That’s a good girl.” Runoi pats her shoulder.

Kalani marvels at the wisdom of her mate. Makana is getting to the age of womanhood. She may be having her monthly cycle and wouldn’t want to share in front of him. She remembers her first time and how scary it was. She kisses Runoi then follows her daughter to her room.

Quietly, Kalani sits next to Makana on her bed. “Now we’re all alone. What is it you wish to tell me, sweetheart?”

Wincing, she pulls into herself and says, “I don’t know, Mommy. He might get mad at me.”

“Who might get mad at you?” Kalani asks, caressing her arm, mind scrolling as to whom might be hurting Makana. Her mind goes to unthinkable places.

But Makana only shakes her head.

“Makana, who is it?” she asks in a harsher but hushed tone. “Who’s making you so upset? You’ve gone this far. I know you want to tell me so please do, sweetheart, so I can help you.”

Grabbing her mother, she whispers, “Oh, Mommy, I’m so afraid Kiko and Newlin are going to run away. They said so. I heard them.”

“You must have heard wrong, sweetie. Why would they run away? That doesn’t make any sense. Neither of them are in trouble. In fact, they seem very happy.”

“They’re not because I heard. I know.”

“You know what?”

Makana sniffles, taking a few deep breaths. She whispers, “Kiko is going to have a baby.”

Kalani’s stomach lurches at this news.

It took an hour to calm Makana down. In fact, her cries woke up her baby sister, Hoku, so Kalani and Runoi slept with their toddler for the rest of the night.

“She is a handful, isn’t she?” Runoi asks as the tot wanders down the hallway toward the kitchen.

“That’s the least of our worries. Oh, Runoi. Do you think I’m making the right decision?”

“Darling, if you don’t follow the rules then your power will slip and your tribe will not respect you. Kiko and Newlin knew what they were doing when they chose the wrong path. This I know all too well as I was quite the ladies’ man back when I was a teen and more than one Amazon tried to woo me. But I knew what honor meant. And so, I would not allow any temptations. Newlin has always been a careless brat, sorry to say that of your brother. He’ll survive, though. That’s one thing about him. He’s resilient. Like a cockroach, that one.”

Kalani would have laughed if this wasn’t so serious.

A Creator has the most important job of all the tribe and it is at these kinds of moments Kalani wishes the duty would have fallen onto someone else. How can she give this sentence to her own brother? And the look on Ina’s face when she will have to tell her of the news…Kalani feels the sorrow deep in her marrow. If this were to happen to her own daughters? Kalani doesn’t want to imagine that awful prospect.

Forcing a stoic face, Kalani finds Kanui.

“Good morning, Creator,” Kanui says, smiling. “It’s a lovely day outside, isn’t it?”

Kalani doesn’t have time for pleasantries. She orders, “Find Kiko and Newlin and have them meet me at the fire pit in ten minutes. Not a minute more. And bring Horus with you. I want both of you to stand guard.”

Bowing, Kanui says, “At once, Creator.”

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6.14 Secrets

Newlin looks up to see someone spying on them. “Uh oh.”

“What is it?” Kiko asks.

“It’s Makana.”

They both pull away from each other quickly.

“H-Hello, Makana. What brings you out here?” Kiko says with a worried look on her face.

Arching an eyebrow, Makana retorts, “I want to ask you the same thing. Mother is looking for you two. We are to eat a feast for Kandor.”

“Thank you for the reminder, but you can run along,” Kiko says. “We’ll be there on time.”

After Makana doesn’t move, Kiko cocks her head and asks, “Why aren’t you leaving?”

“Say it isn’t true. You and Uncle Newlin aren’t going to run away, are you?”

The two exchange looks that makes Makana’s heart sink.

Newlin waves a hand. “Of course not, you silly ninny. Now let us go eat a feast and stop talking foolishness.”

Makana doesn’t know if she should believe her uncle. She could have sworn she heard them making plans to escape to her evil great aunt’s tribe. But she doesn’t want to seem silly in the eyes of her uncle. “O-Okay then. Come on.”

*****

After the feast is over and Makana eats her fill of lobster thermidore, broccoli cheese rice, mountains of green beans, and cake, the adults head to the garden where the slaves make a bonfire. Everyone is in good spirits. Even her father pulls out his fire dancing kit, something Makana always begs him to do, but he says he’ll only dance when there’s a special reason.

But Makana’s heart is too full of what she’s overheard to be filled with the excitement of the celebration.

She decides not to think about it. If Uncle Newlin lied about what she’d heard, he must have had a good reason. So, she picks up some sticks and plays with the flickering flames, trying to take her mind off foolish things.

“Hello, my rosy princess,” her father greets her. “Did you like my greatly magnificent dancing? I did it especially for you!”

But Makana doesn’t even look up at her father. Something is wrong, he thinks. But what? Runoi rolls over the day when he’s seen his daughter and nothing seemed amiss. Maybe she has a stomach ache.

“Aw…did my sweet sunshine in the rain eat too much of my wonderful delicious meal? Maybe I should fix up a tonic. That might make you feel a bit better, hmm?”

Looking as if she might cry, Makana says, “I’m fine, Daddy, really. Don’t worry about me.”

“Makana,” Runoi says like she’s in trouble. “You know Daddy doesn’t like it when you keep secrets. Tell me what’s troubling you.”

Should she tell her father? Maybe he’ll know what to do. But then if she does, what if her uncle gets upset with her? She’d feel awful. She has to make up something quick. “I…I skinned my knee at school today and it hurts. That’s all, Daddy. Honest.”

Relief washes over Runoi. “Is that all? Well, why don’t I kiss it to make it feel better? And then I’ll read you a bedtime story. It’s getting late and you need your rest.”

Makana makes a face. “Kissing boo boos is for babies, Daddy. I’m nearly ten suns old!”

“Then how about a peck on the cheek?”

Giggling, Makana lifts her face to receive her father’s kiss. “Okay.”

After he kisses her, Runoi lifts Makana on his shoulders. “We haven’t done this in a while. Will you bet me I can run with you on my back all the way upstairs to your bedroom?”

Makana laughs. “You can’t do that, Daddy. I’m too heavy.”

“Are you saying I’m a weak slave? I’ll show you I’m very strong indeed. Watch!”

Giggling in his ear, Makana cheers as Runoi runs, josling her up and down like a pony she’s ridden at the village market.

After reading a story, Runoi tucks Makana in. She seems in good spirits as she settles down to sleep. “That’s my darling Creator heiress. Sleep tight,” he whispers.

As Runoi’s about to leave, his other daughter stops him in his tracks.

He picks her up. “My, what are you doing out of bed, Hoku? Did no one put you down? I’m very sorry about that.”

Hoku shakes her head. “I’m not sleepy.”

“Of course you are, my little cinnamon bun. We just have to get you dressed and the sandman will dust you, making you very drowsy.”

True to his word, Hoku doesn’t fuss as he kisses her good night for she is a very tired tot.

Children all tucked away for the night, Runoi makes his way down to the fire, but something is troubling him.

Kalani notices instantly. “What is it, my love? Why are you making that face?”

He sighs as he drapes his arm over Kalani. “I’m worried about Makana. She lied to me today. There’s something wrong that she’s trying to hide. Maybe you should have a chat with her about it tomorrow. She wouldn’t tell me tonight, but I think she’d talk to you.”

Kalani nods as she folds her arms, wondering what Makana could possibly hide. The thought put a damper on the rest of the night for the Creator of Tribe Wahine.

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6.12 Back Home

Ever since Kiko came home from training in the jungle mountains, she’s been acting very strangely. Ina wants to get to the bottom of it. “What truly happened at the falls, my daughter? I’ve heard rumor that you have been seeing Newlin in a romantic light. You do realize your young adult birthday is suns away. It’s not time to choose a mate.”

At this, Kiko burst out laughing. “Oh, Mother, you do jest! Newlin? I think of him as I would any slave whom I grew up with.”

Blood rushes to Kiko’s cheeks. She hates lying to her mother, especially when only yesterday as everyone had gone into the local village for supplies, Newlin talked her into having a romantic time in the spa.

As Newlin slipped off Kiko’s top in his sexy way, Kiko cried, “Newlin, we cannot be like this at our compound. It’s folly. Someone will catch us.”

Caressing her chin, he tutted, “You do realize there is no one here. All are adventuring at the village market. I personally watched the lot of them, saying I would keep a careful watch of our grounds. Now will you stop worrying, darling?”

He wrapped himself around Kiko, sending flurries through her. “Just worry about me.”

And as usual, Kiko gave into him, hating herself for falling so hard. But she couldn’t help it. He had a way that always made her feel special. She truly loved him with all her heart.

Coming back to the present, Kiko giggles even more trying to squash that memory and says, “You’re being a silly worry wart, Mother. Newlin is my training partner. Nothing more.”

Ina eyes her daughter, not sure if she should believe her, but she hasn’t witnessed anything more than friendship between Kiko and Newlin. Maybe what Eila heard wasn’t true. Her daughter, Lilit, was apt to make up idle stories and create drama. “Very well, if you say so. Come, let’s sit and chat then. Tell me all about your trip.”

As Kiko tries to talk about everything EXCEPT her romantic escapades with Newlin, Horus walks up to them.

“Hello, Kiko! Are you ready to spar with me? I heard from Newlin that you’re almost as good as he is.” He winks.

At this, Kiko jumps up and starts to laugh hysterically. “Oh…hee hee…me? As good as Newlin? Ha ha…he must be joking…ha ha.”

Ina is even more surprised by this reaction. “Kiko, that wasn’t a funny comment. Why are you laughing? And Horus, my love, why are you joining in with her?”

“Because, sweetheart, her laughing is making me laugh.”

Kiko doubles over, laughing even harder, bewildering Ina even more.

*****

On the other side of the compound, Newlin is playing with Hoku. He loves his little niece–she’s so full of spunk. Even more than her sister, Makana, was at her age.

“Would you like some juice, little Hoku? Uncle Newlin can get you some if you’re thirsty.”

“Juice! I want juice!”

“Please?” Newlin reminds her of her manners.

“Pwease?”

“Your wish is my command, princess. Come then and hold my hand.” As Newlin waits for Hoku to get to her feet, his sister, Kalani appears.

“Newlin, you’re so sweet to watch Hoku for me, but Kanui needs you in the slave’s quarters. There’s a toilet that’s exploding right now.”

“Of course there is,” Newlin mutters under his breath. He plasters on a smile and says, “It would be my pleasure. The little princess is all yours.”

Kalani adds, “And could you fetch Lilit for me? She can take over babysitting duties. I have to get ready for a ceremony. Sadly, we must say good-bye to Kandor this afternoon.”

Newlin bows in reverence then trods off in search of the silly Lilit. He knows just where to find her. She is usually either in the kitchen eating, bothering Kanui, or snacking in a lounge chair on the deck.

As he predicts, he spies Lilit wolfing down some grilled cheese near the pond.

“Dearest Lilit, I hate to break you away from all the hard work you seem to be doing, but our Creator wishes for you to do your mother’s job in watching over Hoku. She’s in front of the compound.”

Lilit cannot stand Newlin and his tone makes her want to spit venom, but she knows Creator Kalani would not welcome a fight in the middle of the compound. Instead of lashing out as she wishes, she glares at the impudent slave and says, “Of course,” through gritted teeth. “I’ll come at once.”

The cute girl was playing in the road. Not a good place for any toddler. “My goodness, why are you out here, little one?” Lilit picks up the princess.

“Would you like to play in your playhouse?”

“Yay!” cries Hoku.

Lilit smiles. “That’s what I thought.”

*****

Kiko is not feeling well. Her stomach queasy, she worries something is wrong with her. But what could it be?

And then the words of their Shaman Mist rings in her ears. She gave a speech when Kiko was ten suns old. “It is forbidden for any amazon to couple with a slave until it is the time of her choosing. For with it, you could bear a child and that is taboo until your young adult birthday. Beware, young Kiko. Do not get too close to a man until then.”

Kiko grabs her stomach as she walks down the Hall of the Creators. Each pair of eyes seem to stare at her as she passes them.

“Oh dear Maker! Please don’t let it be so!” she prays.

As she makes her way to the training room, her insides prickle at the sight of her lover. Not wanting to face him, she slips past, hoping he won’t notice her.

“My darling, is it time for training already? I will meet you later, dear. I must wrangle a toilet at the moment.”

At the sound of Newlin’s voice, Kiko breaks down. “Newlin. We must talk.”

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