She woke up screaming.
For the past six days she had dreamt of the same thing; the fire, the sword and the scar. She always woke up from the pain of the scars and they still stung like the night she got them.
Thankfully it was morning already and she didn’t have to stay up the rest of the night like the previous days.
The Ooranyanwu tribe was surrounded mostly by sand as the tribe was situated right in the middle of the desert. As Seleya picked herself up and began to walk again, she realized that the shamans were right to say that all the life of the tribe magically came from the heart of the Udata because naturally speaking nothing should be able to grow from the ground.
As she wondered alone in the heat of the sun; she began to miss the warm air, the animals, trees, the people and the life of her tribe. She was out of food, out of water and out of strength and the only thing that was keeping her on her feet was the conversation she had with her father just before she was sent away.
After she was marked, the Udata called her into his private chambers and said to her,
“My child, I’m sorry that things had to turn out this way but I swear on my life that this is the best thing for the tribe. I cannot lie to you, your life isn’t going to be an easy one but you’re a fighter.
You always have been and always will be. On the outskirts of the tribe you will find nothing except the desert, make sure you go eastward. I cannot tell you much, but you need to find someone due east before the seventh day when your abilities will awaken again.
The gods be with you my child.”
That was all he said to her before handing her food supplies and sending her off.
Still moving eastward, Seleya’s pain was slowly turning into anger.
“He didn’t tell me anything and I certainly do not deserve any of this.” She thought to herself.
Looking ahead though, she was almost certain she could see buildings begin to take shape as she moved closer.
Back at the tribe, it had been six days since the princess got exiled and although no one knew what had happened, the people were still asking questions.
The Uditun had not come out of her chambers for the six days and nothing the Udata did could persuade her otherwise. In her eyes he would always been the villain and for now he would have to live with that.
He also seldom came out of his chambers often lost in thought and trying to convince himself that he did the right thing.
At the time he sent Valejiri to get his family, he hadn’t decided to send his daughter away yet. His plan was to get the family so they could make a collective decision but Asarade and the other shamans gave him a better understanding of the stakes.
“I didn’t have a choice” he thought to himself over and over again as he had been doing for the past six days.
While Valejiri was away, the Udata asked,
“Is this really the only solution?”
“The young one has a point your greatness, those two children have been rivals since the day they were born and that is not about to change” Ugosidaya said.
“And??” the Udata asked.
“It may not seem like much now because they are young, but imagine them ten years from now. Seleya a young woman with mastery of the flames and Suluvu possessor of the Udata blood, if they have any disagreement which is highly likely it could tear apart the entire Kingdom.” Abafanor continued.
“Well, the two of them are like night and day” the Udata muttered.
“Exactly your greatness and…” Asarade started stopping abruptly.
He was obviously afraid to say what was on his lips.
“Speak freely” the Udata beckoned raising his hand.
“Well….like you said they are like and day. Everyone in the tribe knows that Seleya is more like you, stubborn, adamant and wilful.”
He glanced at the Udata for permission to continue.
The Udata raised his hand motioning him to speak.
“Suluvu is more like his mother, kind-hearted, crafty and cunny. The people of this tribe do not know the tribe history, all they know is that their Udata should be able to control the elements.
If a time ever comes when they do not agree on an issue, I fear that the Kingdom will be divided against itself and Seleya will actually have followers.”
The Udata thought in silence and made his decision awaiting Valejiri’s return.
Still burdened by the weight of his actions he prepared to address the people of Ooranyanwu by noon. Tales had begun to spread around the tribe and he needed to keep his people at peace. The shamans had already instructed him not to tell the truth about Seleya’s exile or Suluvu’s inability to summon the Takobidamma.
Keeping that in mind he planned to tell the people that Seleya had been sent out to perform a ceremonial ritual that occurred once in six generations and that Suluvu eventually summoned the sword.
Although deep inside the Udata, he didn’t believe his people were that gullible and because he was an honest man he knew one day the truth would eventually come out.
Suluvu was in his chambers trying to rest a bit before the tribe meeting at noon. He still couldn’t believe all that has happened so far, not only had he lost his sister but he had to stand before the people of Ooranyanwu claiming to have obtained power that he did not have.
“May I come in?” he heard outside the door of his room.
“Enter” he answered.
Valejiri stepped into Suluvu’s room and they exchanged glances for a few seconds.
It seemed like a lifetime to Suluvu now but at some point in his childhood the young man who stood in front of him used to be his friend, his only friend. Things were different back then and much simpler. Right now he was the next Udata and Valejiri was a shaman, there was no way they could ever relate on such a basic level anymore.
“Please sit” Suluvu said, pointing at a chair near the window.
“You should be getting ready for the meeting?” Valejiri said as he took his seat.
“There is nothing to prepare for, I’ll just stand there and smile as my father tells the people that I have power that I do not possess” Suluvu replied coldly.
“Well, you have a point there” Valejiri said smiling.
Suluvu caught the smile and it was so nostalgic he couldn’t help but smile back.
“Remember when we were kids and the three of us decided to sneak into the…” Suluvu began.
“Yes I remember” Valejiri said cutting him short.
They paused for a moment and both burst into laughter.
A few seconds later, Suluvu’s laughter quickly turned to a bitter frown.
“I hear you were the one that got my sister exiled” he said.
“That isn’t exactly true Suluvu, I merely gave my opinion….” he began.
“And what exactly was your opinion?” Suluvu asked angrily.
“Suluvu listen to me, believe me I merely told them I felt you were the next Udata no matter what happened with the sword.
I am the youngest of all the shamans, I can’t influence an exile even if I wanted to and I certainly didn’t say that the Udata should present a powerless son to the tribe claiming to have bonded with the sword, no offence” he concluded.
Suluvu’s breathing calmed a bit.
“I’m just tired of all the lies, how am I supposed to lead the people when my father is gone?” he asked.
“Well, your father isn’t gone yet so we have plenty of time to sort that out.” Valejiri said with a smirk.
“It’s been ten years and you still look like you’re working on a new prank.” Suluvu smiled.
“Some things never change I guess, I should go now, take care of yourself Suluvu.” he said leaving the room.
“Let’s get this over and done with” he thought as he realized that it was almost noon.
Stepping out of his room, he couldn’t help but think about his sister and where she was at that very hour.