The Udata stood, staring in disbelief at the sword in her hands and the flames that burned her.
The shamans, the Uditun and Suluvu were already running towards Seleya in panic as the flames roared higher. Ironically Seleya had stopped screaming and the flames didn’t seem to harm her. Noticing this, her father stretched out his hand to hold her.
“Don’t touch her, your greatness!” Ugosidaya said.
They were just behind the Udata now.
“The flames do not consume, there is no heat” the Udata said as he embraced his daughter.
There were still tears in Seleya’s eyes but the pain in her head was gone, also the touch of her father seemed to calm her and the flames began to still.
“We could feel the heat even at a distance” Asarade exclaimed.
“They are both bonded to the sword so it makes sense that they both won’t feel it”
It was Valejiri that spoke and after he did a deafening silence fell amidst them. They all had the same question on their minds but no one dared ask.
“Suluvu, did you feel the heat?” The Udata finally asked, breaking the silence.
“Yes….yes I did Father” he replied.
Asarade instinctively spat on the ground.
“Tell the sword to return to the staff child”
Seleya obeyed and the sword returned making Asarade a lot more agitated.
“Take the children back home for now, they have been through enough already” he said beckoning at the Uditun.
She looked at her husband for approval and when he nodded she took the children with her back home.
“Will she start any fires again?” Suluvu asked in fear.
The Uditun seemed to echo the question with her eyes.
“She won’t hopefully…” Ugosidaya started.
“Under normal circumstances it takes about seven days before abilities manifest again after awakening but as we all know there is nothing normal about this situation” Asarade concluded.
Suluvu wasn’t satisfied, neither was Seleya or their mother but they left anyways.
As soon as they were out of earshot, Asarade spoke up,
“Your greatness let us go inside, there are things we need to discuss with you.”
In the hut, Asarade instructed Valejiri to get the ancient scrolls as they all sat down and he began to speak.
“Do you know about the gods and the Takobidamma?” Asarade asked the Udata.
“Only as much as my father the Udata before me told me” he replied getting impatient. He usually grew wary of the nature of the Shamans. Even during times of war, the Shamans still took their time to explain everything did things with a calmness that he concluded could not be natural.
Sensing his impatience he continued,
“We shamans are bound by Oath to the truth and we protect the truth at all times, but we do not always tell the entire truth.”
“I’m listening” the Udata said.
“There are five gods who bestowed life and gave us all things. They all work as one unit but they are five in all. Velqua, Zagudo, Origki, Mazete and Sythoi. No one knows their origin but we know they are siblings because they have shown us the signs over the centuries.”
“What exactly does this have to do with my children?” he asked.
Ugosidaya answered this time.
“Velqua controls the flames, Zagudo rules the sky and its elements, Origki owns the waters, Mazete dominates the earth and Sythoi rides on the winds. It is said in the ancient scrolls that when the Ooranyanwu tribe began with the first five shamans and the first Udata, the shamans were the avatars of the five gods.”
The Udata’s eyes widened as he looked through the scrolls to confirm what he was hearing.
“You’re saying there was a time in this land that a mere shaman controlled the sky?” he asked no one in particular.
“Yes your greatness and this continued for many years. The Udata was bestowed with strength, agility, durability and the voice of thunder which still flows in your bloodline till date but the shamans had a direct link with the gods.” said Abafanor, the second oldest of the shamans.
“What happened then and how does this help me with my children?”
The Udata’s patience was fading.
“Some generations passed and in the year of the sixth Udata a tragedy occurred. One of the shamans decided that he wasn’t satisfied with being Kingmaker alone and wanted to be King. His name was Chavirebi and he was the avatar to Zagudo.
When the rest of the shamans learnt of his plot to kill the Udata, they tried to stop him and a battle raged that nearly destroyed the tribe.
The Udata was saved but the shamans killed Chavirebi in the process which is against our oath.”
Asarade paused to look at the Udata. The Udata was obviously interested now as his breathing had slowed and he sat more comfortably.
“After that a new shaman awakened to replace Chavirebi and the head of the shamans at the time decided to talk to the gods, to prevent a repeat of this tragedy.
The shamans then decided that to prevent another rebellion, they would no longer be the avatars to the gods but instead the Udata would carry on the spirit of the gods so he can rule the people.”
The Udata only nodded.
“Those five shamans forged the Takobidamma, infused it with the spirit of the gods and used it as a link with which the Udata could access the spirit of the gods.
Since that time every Udata who has lived until this time has been blessed by one of the gods to become his avatar. For you it was Zagudo and apparently Seleya has been blessed by Velqua to carry his spirit.”
The Udata was silent again for what seemed like forever.
“Does this mean she’s the next Udata?” he asked.
“It’s difficult to answer that your greatness, the issue here is that there was a time when the Udata never had any link with the gods.
It’s not a law that the Udata must have a link with the gods and with Suluvu has already begun to manifest the bloodline traits of the Udata.
On the other hand, Seleya has been blessed by the gods and that cannot be reversed either.” Ugosidaya said.
The Udata looked at Asarade for answers but got none.
“No matter how we look at it, Suluvu is the rightful heir to the throne. The Udata has never been female and this doesn’t change that” Asarade said.
“Is there a way to transfer the spirit then?” The Udata asked perplexed.
“In the ancient manuscripts there is no mention of any transfer ritual” Abafanor said.
“There may be a solution although I doubt your greatness will like to hear it.” Valejiri spoke.
“Speak now or you lose your tongue!” The Udata said angrily.
“As our head has rightly pointed out, Suluvu is the Udata by our laws and customs. They may both still be young but as they grow older, Seleya’s powers will and Suluvu will grow in strength as well. If a time ever comes that they both do not agree, nobody may be able to stop them and it may lead to grave danger for the entire tribe.”
He paused to look at the Udata and he motioned him to continue.
“Seleya is the unpredictable factor here, first we do not know how being an avatar will affect her as a woman knowing that the abilities are linked to the emotions of the wielder.
Also we cannot risk a rebellion among the people, if they find out that Seleya has been blessed of the gods some of them may swear loyalty to her and this will tear the tribe apart.
Putting all this into consideration I suggest that the girl be exiled as soon as possible before her powers start to manifest again.”
Asarade and the rest of the shamans half expected that the Udata will strike Valejiri dead in that instant but the chief simply sat still lost in thought.
“My first duty is to my people” the Udata said in almost a whisper.
“Go and fetch my family, Valejiri” he said.
Valejiri returned with the Uditun and the children. The rest of the shamans and the Udata were standing by the pool.
As the approached the Uditun saw Asarade with a knife shaped like a crescent moon. She started to scream almost immediately knowing what the knife meant.
“No, please not any of my children!!!” she begged and pleaded.
“Hold her and bring Seleya forward” the Udata ordered the rest of the shamans his voice like a wounded tiger.
The twins were scared and confused as Seleya was brought forward.
“What….what…what is going on?’ she said.
“I’m sorry my child” was all Asarade could bring himself to say as the other shamans stripped her clothes off.
He made the first cut.