Children of The Falls
The world’s destruction is at hand. Natural disasters explode all over its surface; tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes. It would come to be known in history as the week of “Great Destruction.” Ships Sank. Planes Crashed. Automobiles were thrown about like rag dolls. Whirl winds tore Houses off their foundations, and whipped them around with other debris. Angrily, Mother Nature killed human and animal without prejudice. Death tolls were recorded as the highest in human history. Property and land became unlivable. Volcanoes and earthquakes reformed the landscape.
Areas were left desolate and uninhabitable to survivors, while others were thrown back to prehistoric eras. Eventually, survivors separated into clans, becoming two distinct Races; Land Dwellers and Sea Dwellers; both with different ideals, and different ways of life. They scavenged for food, and searched for shelter. Most Land Dwellers settled in the caves that were naturally formed in the protruding rocks raised by the earthquakes and Volcanoes, while Sea Dwellers moved to the caves behind Waterfalls, and those formed underwater by the same.
Three generations of these clans worked hard to keep their world peaceful, and kept to their own ways of life. However populations grew, and Greed arose in the few that felt they should be in control of all the living spaces, and absolute power became a sickness among the Land Dwellers, while the Sea Dwellers fought hard to keep their peaceful ways, but each day that passed it was proving to become more difficult.
To make it even more difficult, a new race was forming in the desolate wastelands where wild things had kept hidden since the disasters. Banishing lawbreakers to the wasteland had become common place in both clans. However after 150 years, a new clan was forming, and they had to fight for everything to stay alive. They have decided that they deserved restitution, and they would take what was not given to them willingly. War was imminent and the only way to defeat the enemy would be to join the forces of both clans to fight the “Wild Ones” and that it would be their similarities, not their differences that would make them strong.
In the midst of all the turmoil, love still found time to grow. Princess Inkya of the Sea Dwellers and Prince Mankayo of the Land Dwellers grew up playing together in the woods, and as they blossomed into adults, their relationship took on a different, more sensual relationship; they fell in love, and now she carries his child. Their choices are limited. They can do one of three things: Run to another territory beyond theirs, and try to build a life there, where nobody knows them. Make their relationship public to their parents, and hope that they will not be banished to the wasteland and forgotten about, or get married, and bring their people together to fight a common enemy, “Lyber”. Either way they choose, they must have a satisfactory end for their child’s sake, and the future of the people they love.
The boy with his golden brown skin and wheat colored hair pulled back to a short pony tail, smiled at the pale woman before him. His warm hazel eyes twinkled with a joy he had not felt in years. The woman’s blonde wavy hair glittered in the sunlight, and her sea green eyes rivaled the deepest ocean.
She was one of the sea dwelling people who hid in caverns under the falls, and he was a leader among the young rebels of the land dwellers who lived in the caves. It was the natural disasters that tore their world apart.
Something drastic needed to be done to end the hate and prejudice between the two races. Normally their discussions in the moonlight would be about the future and how they wanted to shout their love from the roof tops. However, today their whispers echoed with an urgency edged with uncertainty and fear. Her unexpected news thrilled them both but brought the future into a sharp reality.
He placed a hand on her flat belly. “Our infant.”
She nodded, chewing her bottom lip trying fight off the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. “What are we to do, Mankayo? Our baby is bound for death or the home Of Relicta.”
“We get married, Inkya, we go ask our Lord to bless our union at the junction of land and sea. Say our joining vows, find a dwelling in the protected zone, and live our lives. Raise our child.”
“And die among the uncivilized. Besides, Mankayo, our families would never agree,” Inkya cried. “A marriage between us could increase the wars.”
“Or it could end it!” He studied her delicate features and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Don’t you see? We are loved and respected among our people; we have the power to change. We can be the first to start to rebuild our world. To create a new land where both our clans can live in harmony. That is what we want Amica Mea.” He smiled. “We are so crowded in our caves. Both of our clans crave to expand onto the wasteland, and refine it. We can make that happen, by leading by example.”
“How can you be sure that we can do such a thing, will ever exist?”
He smiled and pulled a wrinkled paper out of his pocket. “Look,” he thrust the paper toward her. “Look at the picture!”
She took the paper and looked at it. Many people of all kinds were working together to assist the injured. She raised her eyes to his. “We are a broken people, Mankayo, your people consider us inferior.”
He gently cupped her face and kissed her. She felt it to the depths of her soul. Their souls intertwined, and then floated above the physical body. Seconds later, the lovers pulled apart as heavy footsteps approached. Mankayo grabbed her arm and pulled her into the heavy brush by the path. A large platoon passed them by them with weapons that Inkya did not recognize. She gasped and Mankayo put his hand over her mouth.
One of the soldiers separated from the group and looked into the shadows. He reached up to the top of his head, and pulled the eyewear goggles over his eyes, and searched the roadside bushes slowly.
Inkya’s chest heaved, she had a sudden desire to become invisible. She tugged on Mankayo’s hand, and led him to a hidden cave. She moved the brush covering the opening aside, and pulled her lover inside, letting the brush noiselessly snap back into place just as the man’s eyes searched the area.
“Arca, what are you searching for?”
“I thought I heard a noise, Lyber, in the bushes.”
“It is their territory.”
“They wouldn’t take the chance. Any law breaking banishes them to the desert. The animals have been rather feisty. Any man walking across that territory, if the sun don’t get them, the jaws of the lion will.” They looked at each other and laughed. “We must catch up with the others, before they notice we are missing and we end up taking pilgrimage across the desert.
“You’re probably right, Lyber.” They took off.
After a few moments, the young couple came from their hiding place.
“Lyber!” She whispered. “He rules the world between the Dwellers?” She angrily turned to face him. “Why did you not tell me this? He raids our caves, plunders our storage huts, and takes our children.” Panting, she pushed him away as he reached for her. “He is who you want to form an alliance with. Live amongst he and his foul mouthed, evil men.”
“He is not with the Rebels. We are a separate group and control the land further north. Beyond the middle bridge! We do not run for him.”
Middle Bridge. Inkya remembered the tales from the elder Sea Dwellers how the tragedy of that day left many dead, but that those that survived, populated the caves. Many children had survived the upheaval of the waves. Her grandmother had been one of them and was adopted by the Royal family of the Sea Dwellers. Inkya was the third generation out from the Great Disasters and carried the continuing line during a period of unrest.
They could change the future, but at what cost? She held up her hand to stem his flow of words. “I am tired, Mankayo, it will soon be morning. We must return to our homes and think about this. The danger you are asking me to put our child in is great. I need time.” She sighed and put a hand on his cheek. “We could not escape tonight if we wanted to.” He pressed into her hand. Smiling tearfully, she moved into the darkness of the shadows and sunk into the water to enter into the caves behind the falls.
He swallowed back his own tears and started his own journey home. He ran through the Sea Dwellers territory, his heart beating in his chest. He jumped into his boat, cutting a path across the surface until he reached the other side.
The heavy silence of the night made him uneasy. What if Inkya decided to deny him his child? Maybe he should not have let her know about the Rebellis. His mind was churning with all the possibilities of them striking out on their own, and before he knew it, he had made it across the uncharted part of the protected land. Minutes later he set foot on his territory.
The labyrinth like caves were formed during the Great Disasters and circled the great meeting space by the giant fire pit. Marriages, final goodbyes, and great feasts were held there. Could he truly give all this up? Could he and Inkya survive in the untamed wilderness of the Protected land? All he knew was that with the coming of the child they had to make the journey together or she would be banished alone. Sighing, he climbed to the third level, and disappeared into his sleeping quarters, taking one last look at the sunrise.
copyright@Bonnita L Pleisch
 Latin for Forsaken
 Latin for My Love
Inkya’s mind raced with the possibilities of her future. She had a very important choice to make, and she had to keep her family in mind. The falls rushed outside her family’s cave, but even the familiar sound did nothing for her troubled mind.
She stood and shivered in her thin nightgown so she lit a small fire in the fire pit that was in the middle of her private quarters. Shadows danced as the gentle firelight warmed the cave walls. Inkya took pride in her quarters. She inherited this room from her grandmother who had inherited from her great grandmother, who was the original leader of the Sea Dwellers. She had requested the story so many times from her elders that as a child, whenever they saw her coming, they lit a fire, fixed her some tea, and settled in to tell her it. As she grew up, she would tell it to herself at bedtime just so she could fall asleep.
She brought her hand to her stomach. “Someday I will tell you the story when I tuck you in to bed.”
A cold feeling came over her. Something was very wrong within her village. Seconds later, screams rang out. She ran to the falls and looked through the wall of water. Enemies were raiding her village, dragging girls out from the caves by their hair. They were tied, single file, to a rope six inches in length.
“Princess you must come with us.” She turned around and saw her best friend Aussyria standing in front of a secret door that led to a tunnel out of the village to a safety zone.
“What is happening?” she whispered.
“Warriors from the wasteland have come for the royal family, and they are taking our woman, killing our men. We need to regroup.”
“We have no way of knowing until we meet up at the safe zone.”
“Two armed men headed this way.” A Sea Dweller warrior clothed in animal skins and carrying a crudely made spear and bow, his quiver of arrows strapped to his back, grabbed Inkya’s royal robe, her travel bag and her two weapons, and pushed her toward the tunnel. “We need to move now!” he hissed.
No sooner had they disappeared into the tunnel, and silently closed the tunnel door into the camouflaged wall, as the enemy was pushing their way through the falls.
The leader of the three-point team started tearing things apart and searching in every dark corner. The tunnel was never discovered. “She could not have gotten far.”
“Lyber, there is a small opening that leads further into the formations most likely to other cave communities.”
“Search them all. I want Princess Inkya as my wife. If not tonight then long before we become the victors of this war.” He ordered several men to search the escape valley. “Find her and bring her to me.”
“Yes Lyber.” They made a fist with their hand, and pounded their hearts twice, then turned down to investigate the valley road. Liber ordered the rest of his party to take their prisoners back to the wastelands where he would sell the women to become wives to other men who had not seen a woman since banishment.
The falls sounded as if they were raging in sync with Inkya’s heart as she and her party quietly walked the unfamiliar path toward what she hoped would be a place to rest. Her parents and siblings had still not rendezvoused with them, so her heart became heavier with each step.
“Princess, are you okay?” Aussyria asked after she ordered her security team to spread out and check the perimeters of the path.
Inkya lifted her head and smiled at her best friend. “I’m fine, Aussyria, you’ve done a superb job of security with your team for the escape. I am just worried of the fate of my family. It’s making it hard to concentrate.”
Aussyria put a hand on her shoulder. “I have assigned SD1 to search for your family. They’re my best team. If they are hiding in the forest between here and the wasteland, we will find them.”
“If not?” Inkya asked fearfully.
“Then we will prepare to enter the wasteland and find Lyber’s camp.”
Inkya nodded. Aussyria turned to answer the call of one of her security personnel. As Aussyria huddled with her security team. Inkya thought about Makayo, his gentle touch, her sense of security in his arms. She touched her stomach, their child. The possibility of becoming a family. How real will having a future be? How real will their dream of uniting their people be when war was imminent? A tear tracked down her cheek.
Something whistled by her ear, barely brushing her cheek. She whipped her head around as Aussyria yelled. “TAKE ARMS!”
Inkya dived into a clump of bushes by the path and raised her head slightly. Behind her, was four wasteland warriors firing arrows in quick succession, closing the distance between them and her people. She pulled her own bow out, nocked an arrow, took aim, and fired. True to its mark, the arrow hit the chest of one of the warriors.
Knowing she had revealed her cover, she retreated further into the forest, and dipped behind a formation of rocks, barely breathing. She readied another arrow and watched through a crack in the formation for pursuers, breathing slowly to calm her pounding heart. War cries and commands were coming from the battle on the path she had just run from. Why did she run? Why did she not stay with her people? She was a coward.
“Princess!” Aussyria’s voice intruded in her mind. Startled, her readied bow slipped from her hands, and clattered against the rocks. She and Aussyria had often played with their telepathic abilities as children, but neither had done it since those days, because most of her clan did not understand it, worse yet, they feared it. Some people had been banished to the wasteland if they had been caught using it.
“Aussyria, I am fine. I have taken refuge in the forest behind some rocks. I have my weapons with me.”
“Stay where you are, when we secure the area, we will come for you.”
“I will, my friend.” She closed her mind, picked up her weapon and waited quietly. It wasn’t long before she sensed a presence behind her. Using the training she learned from Aussyria, she pulled her bow string back as she spun around and let it go. Her arrow was hit by another coming from the left. She screamed at a silver bodied being before her, then a large hand went over her mouth and she was dragged back down behind the rocks. A pin pricked her neck, and then she slipped into darkness.
Voices were whispering around her. Her head pounded as a chilly dampness penetrated her skin and her bones. Strange white lights flickered from the ceiling above. Suddenly she felt a throbbing pain in her arm. “Ah,” she breathed, her voice weak and soft.
“Don’t move too much, Princess,” a raspy female voice said to her left. An unfamiliar face appeared above her, blocking the light. “My name is Tianna. During your encounter with Lyber and his warriors, you were wounded by a poisonous arrow tip. We have connected you to a medicine delivery device called an IV, which is feeding you fluids and an antidote through a tube.”
Inkya studied the woman, and then looked down at her wrist. There was a tube hooked into one of the veins on Inkya’s hand. Her eyes became round as saucers, and she frantically tried to pull the needle out.
“No! You mustn’t do that! You could cause uncontrollable bleeding and infection.” Tianna gently, but firmly pulled Inkya’s free hand away and held it in her own strong one.
Tianna was unlike any woman Inkya had ever encountered before. Her skin was the color of the night-time sky, but her dark eyes were compassionate and kind. “My name is Tianna. I am a practitioner of medicine, a warrior, and a member of the Land Dweller Clan tribe “Oasis”; an adopted member of the Rebellis, and friend to Prince Mankayo.” She smiled. “He heard your tribe was in trouble and sent me and my platoon out to help.”
Inkya closed her eyes and swallowed. “It was you behind the silver body?”
“Yes. I was inside the suit. Ancient warriors wore similar suits in battle that were made of steel. We have replicated it in a lighter metal called Aluminum.”
Inkya moved her head until she was looking into Tianna’s eyes. “How do you know this, are you a magician or a witch?”
Tianna chuckled. “No, Princess, nothing so dramatic. Land Dwellers have explored the territories around us and have found some buildings that survived the “Disasters.” Some of them are called “Libraries” and in them many books dwell. Those that were not damaged, we have brought to our villages, and have learned many things. However, Rebellis has taken what we have learned, and started educating those that are willing to learn, and help us rebuild our societies.”
“Like weapons and medicine?”
“And power, and survival.”
“Where is Mankayo, I wish to speak with him.”
“He is exploring,” Tianna said. “He will be back this evening, and he will be thrilled to hear that you are feeling better. He has been very worried about you.”
“Hmm.” She drifted off again.
“She will sleep for a while.” Tianna told a young lady standing nearby. “I gave her a sedative.” Then she left the room and headed to the command center.
“Is she asleep?” Commander Devlin asked. He was a former Sea Dweller, and head of their scientific discovery unit. He and his team had been studying the past scientific history of the world before the “Disasters”, and together with Land Dwellers and Sea Dwellers alike, they had created the command center.
“Yes.” Several computerized consoles were scattered around the room with the largest console in the middle where the commander stood. Three 100’ monitors showed areas of the wastelands, and the surrounding territory.
If Tianna chose to put in a different number sequence, they could move surveillance to other targets. A map of the world was stretched out on a table as it had been when they discovered the underground bunker, just as all the computers and electronics had been. The electronics had to be reconnected, and the computers reprogrammed with an interface so Commander Devlin and his team had gone in search of books that would teach them what they needed to know. After they had learned it, they had acted on it, and rebuilt all the technology needed in the bunker. The rebuilding of the bunker was finished within seven years.
“Is she aware of the fate her people?”
Tianna shook her head. “I am not going to tell her anything I am not certain of,” she sighed. “Mankayo is out looking for survivors now.
He shook his head. “Sadly, I have searched the area of the battle, and her village. It does not look like good news.”
He switched between scenes on screen, and he was about to change again to check out the paths at the conjunction of the wasteland when Tianna stopped him.
“There on the hill of castles.” She pointed out the area that used to be Mulholland Drive. The homes on that territory were so grand that they called them castles. However, all access was cut off as many roads between the territories were either collapsed or impassable since the “Disasters.”
She moved up to his console, pressed magnify, and paused the screen. “There is a light.” She pointed to a barely visible twinkle on a window. “Could be a light, but it could be a reflection too.”
“Do we have a team out there?”
“We have a hunting team in the wasteland forest. There is some mountainous terrain six miles east of their position. They could meet up with Mankayo’s team, and investigate.”
“How long would it take?”
“A week, providing there are no issues or battles with Lyber’s army.”
“It is an unknown Territory. I have heard rumors of the Elitists Clans that have settled up there.”
“So have I, but alas they are just rumors.” She looked at him. “We need to find out.” She inhaled, then let it out slowly before she spoke again. “That light was very small, and insignificant. It could just be a traveler needing shelter for a night, or it could be Inkya’s surviving family. Either way, I want a party on that mountain as soon as possible. Make it happen, Commander.
“What of the hunters wares? We are getting low on our supplies.”
She thought for a moment. “Have them send Taz, and Vanna home with the wares. I have no doubt they can get it here safely.”
“As you say General.” He went over to the North wall, lifted a radio to his mouth and barked out the orders.
“This is EX23-Mankayo. Who is sending this order? It didn’t come from me.”
Tianna took the radio mike. “That would be me, Sir. There is a strange light illuminating from a window in one of the castles. I thought it might be important to check it out.”
“Why, we know the possibility of a clan living up there is very high.”
“It could also be Inkya’s family survived and found refuge up there, hoping Lyber would not find them.”
Mankayo was silent for a long time, and Tianna thought maybe he had closed transmissions. She was about to call out his name when he came back over the airway. “Fine, but such a large team is not needed I will take six with me. The rest will return to base in case Lyber attacks another village.” He sighed, Tianna could hear the frustration in his voice. “How is Inkya?”
“She is responding to the medicine, and she is sleeping. She will be resting much over the next few days. It will be days before she is recovered enough to get out of bed. I will keep you informed of her progress.”
“I’m going to hold you to that, Tianna,” he said. “We’ll camp out tonight at the next clearing, then I will go forward with my team, and send the rest back to you.”
“Okay,” she was about to sign off when she heard screaming over the line, a sickening thud, and more screaming.
“Bunyan!” Mankayo cried, and then he started barking orders “Positions!” A fearsome growl, ”Surround, and attack! Terrance Down.” Multiple screams, and then the airways went down, and Tianna screamed Mankayo’s name into her mike, but it remained silent as a winter’s night.
“Don’t move too much, Princess,” a raspy female voice said to her left. An unfamiliar face appeared above her, blocking the light. “My name is Tianna. During your encounter with Lyber and his warriors, you were wounded by a poisonous arrow tip. We have connected you to a medicine delivery device called an IV, which is feeding you fluids and an antidote through a tube.”
Chapter III The Traders
Mankayo looked around what was left of their camp sight. He hissed as his camp medic blotted at the deep cuts on his arm. “Enough! Just patch me up and move on!”
“Sir, they will surely get infected if not properly cared for.” Minnial Bennjai explained. “Prince Mankayo, you may rule the clan in battle and travels, but when it comes to the medical well-being of our people, that is my area of expertise! Now sit still and let me do my job!
Snorting, he let her do her job as he gazed at the beast before him. It took all twenty of them to take it down, but not before the animal got a few deadly swings of his own. His eyes lingered over the contortions of the bear, stopping at his oversized head and huge, lifeless eyes.
He pulled his eyes away from the eyes of the oversized grizzly, and looked to his second in command of the hunting party. “Report, Hamund.”
“Five dead, Sir, and seven injured.” The dark-skinned man was shaken but alive. He had a splint on his right arm, and his eyes were clear.
“Are you done yet, Doctor?” Mankayo hissed.
She put the last piece of tape on his bandage, and snapped her medical case closed. “Yes, Prince.”
He returned his attention to the warrior. “Prepare this carcass for travel home, and tell Darnell, Victoria, Mitch, and Balam, to join me and Minnial by that oak tree.” He pointed across the lot. “The rest of you bury the dead and move out for home.”
“Yes, Prince Mankayo.” He placed his hand over his heart. “Godspeed on your travels, Sir.”
Mankayo returned his salute. “And you.” Then he turned and headed toward the oak tree where he had slept the night before and started packing his gear. Minnial trailed after him after she had packed her things.
She lifted a leather bag. “I have packed some of the bear meat for us, as well as some of the essentials.”
Mankayo nodded. “Yes we have a long journey ahead, the sustenance will be appreciated.” When the exploration team was ready, they bid their fellow travelers farewell, and headed out on the only known path to the mountainous regions. They were armed and alert. Mankayo could not allow anyone or anything to catch them by surprise again. The price for this expedition had already been too high.
The sun beat down on the travelers. Mankayo signaled for them to stop in a shadowy grove of lilac trees. In the center, a single cabin stood in silent defiance to the elements and “Disasters” that had tried to bring it down. Mankayo dropped his bag, gave the order to stay, and advanced toward the cabin. He pulled his knife from his sheath, moving aside some of the lilac branches that were obstructing his view.
“I’m going to do some reconnaissance. You all take cover until I give you word to follow.”
“Yes, Prince,” his captain answered. He moved the party back beyond the forest line, “Lieutenant, you take command, I’m going with Mankayo.”
“But. . .”
“He has no one to cover him. I gave you your orders.” With that, he left the party and stealthily moved toward the cabin.
Mankayo swung around when Balam came up behind him. Balam jumped back to avoid a slice to the abdomen. “Balam, are you a fool?” Mankayo hissed. “I told you to stay with the party.
“I am sorry, your Highness, but I thought it was better for me to be here to offer you coverage.”
Mankayo searched the man’s face and sighed. It was foolish for him to advance into a territory of unknown circumstances without someone to cover him. He put a hand on Balam’s shoulder. “Of course, you are right, Lieutenant, Let’s move out.”
Mankayo noticed another structure built onto the back of the cabin, and a large part of land hemmed in with a wooden fence. He had seen fences in books, but until now, he had never seen one. He reached out, it was cool and smooth to the touch. He had to admit that whoever built it was a great craftsman. “This is masterful work.”
Balam reached for the boarding. “Yes, Sir, it is.”
A loud squealing startled both men, and they turned toward the end of the fence. Part of it was partitioned off with very large animals taking mud baths. “Sir, are those?”
“I have not seen one in my lifetime. There have been stories of the old days when people had domesticated and raised, but I have never seen one I haven’t put down for a meal.” They moved down to the penned in, muddy animals. Evolution had made the best use of the domesticated pigs that had run off during the “Destruction” and turned them into wild boars. They had grown horns, and their bodies had tufts of hair, and their hooves had hardened. Mankayo noticed that some of the horns had been surgically removed so the animals wouldn’t harm each other in close quarters. “This is incredible!” he said.
Balam looked around nervously. “Sir, we must finish with our scouting.” He pointed to the pig trough. “That food is fresh. It is obvious that someone has claimed this cabin, and surrounding land, we should move on.”
“I need a closer look at these species.” Mankayo climbed into the pen and reached for a piglet. The little animal let out an ear-piercing squeal.
“Mankayo, watch out!” Mankayo looked up from the slippery baby and saw an adult charging with her horn! Glancing up, he saw a rafter under the protruding dormer on the barn and jumped just as the charging boar missed his leg with her sharp horn.
“Are you okay, Prince?” “Yes, thanks to your warning.” Swinging from the rafters, he planted his feet on the fence. As he was about to jump to the ground, a thundering explosion filled the air, and the dirt kicked up at Balam’s feet. Balam nocked an arrow, let it fly, only to see it break in two after another explosion, and more dirt kicked up around his feet. Mankayo hit the ground and froze. He ordered all his men to hold their positions. A steady beating sound filled the plains.
Part II released 9/21/2019 11:00 am
Mankayo stared at the newcomers in awe. They were witches, they had to be to have tamed the beasts that they rode and led by ropes. They were beautiful animals, but he had only seen herds of them running in the North Country. To him, they symbolized the very meaning of power.
The people upon the mounts were cloaked in white robes with hoods that hid their faces in shadow. The man held a weapon he had never seen, but some of the elders had told stories about for many years. He thought they had been dead and buried with the rest of the old world during the storms, and the chaos that followed. However, the sun reflected off the black steel, it was evidently not true. The Man shifted his weapon to relay to Mankayo what he wanted him to do. Mankayo jumped from the fence and made his way to the rest of his men.
The young woman slid off her mount and left it to graze with the others. She silently joined her companion holding the exploration party at rifle point. Mankayo noticed she had a young, sleeping child wrapped tightly in a multicolored blanket in a carrying device on her back. He could sense his men getting restless. He again held up his hand to quiet them. “We mean you no harm. I am Mankayo, Prince of the Land Dwelling clan; Clarita. We are an exploration party, not a warrior party, nor are we here to coven any of your belongings.”
“We came from the forest, and saw you in the pen, chasing our livestock. Yet you claim you are not here to steal.” The man’s voice was quiet, but accusatory. “Your actions are out of step with your words.” A dog joined the couple, with a bushy coat, intense blue eyes, and a mane around his face. His snout was short and snubby. He studied the newcomers with a wary eye, and haunches up. The woman placed a hand on his head and spoke softly to him. The animal leaned into her touch, his tail wagging.
Mankayo’s men fell to their knees and begged for these strange beings to spare them. Mankayo spoke harshly to them. Then he turned back to the couple. “What are you that you can have such control over beasts and use such powerful weapons?” He demanded. “Release us, and let us be on our way, my men have no fight with you. I am the one that trespassed on your property. Take me and let them return home.”
“If you are not here to steal, then what is your mission?” The man demanded.
Mankayo and Balam exchanged glances. Mankayo took a breath and blew it out. “Who are your people? Where does your loyalty lay? Our mission is of the highest rank, and I cannot share it unless I know you will not stand in our way.”
The couple looked at each other, and then he turned to Mankayo. “Our loyalty is to each other. Our people are far from here. That’s all you need to know.”
Mankayo rose a brow. “Can you show your face? Give me the good will of at least letting me see who I am talking to?”
The man slipped his hood down behind his head. Mankayo sighed. The man was not what he expected. He was tall, his skin a toss between a copper and a beige. His hair was raven black and pulled back into a single tail that disappeared between his robe and some kind of suede shirt. His eyes were so deeply dark that they pierced his soul. “My name is Langundo Goldring.” He pointed to his wife as she did the same. Mankayo noticed that she was easily not from the same clan as her husband. Her skin was shades darker than his. “This is my wife, Tiva,”
“We are on a mission of recovery,” Mankayo said, “The Sea Clan Aura has been attacked.”
An expression of concern came over Tiva’s face, tears filled her eyes. “Lyber?”
Mantakayo’s head snapped back toward her. “Yes. Our mission is to search for survivors. I am leader of Rebellis. We are trying to stop him.”
The couple relaxed their hold on the weapons. Languendo offered his hand. “Tiva and I are traders. I am former member of the Elitis Clan Mullhollan, and my wife is Sea Clan Orion. Welcome to our home. Forgive our earlier actions. It is not only the Land Dwellers and Sea Dwellers that have reason to fear Lyber and his warriors. He has been killing traders and their families. If you are willing to fight him, the least we can do is offer you a warm meal and quarters for the night. My wife put on a stew to cook earlier. Please come in.”
Balam eyed the strange group of animals and people. He dragged Mankayo back. “No, Prince, you must not let them bewitch you!” He raised his spear to place a border between Rebellis and the strangers. Tiva raised her gun again with lightening speed straight at Balam.
“There will be no more violence tonight!” Mankayo barked, putting his hand on the arrow.
Languado put his hand on the barrel of his wife’s rifle. His eyes sought out Balam’s. “We are not witches. However, you would not be the first to think that. That may be what has kept us off of Lyber’s kill list.” He advanced toward Balam, and placed himself between the barrel of the rifle and the point of the arrow. “It is simply communication secrets that have been handed down from our ancestors to generations of young people that have carried on the traditions. We are a dying breed, but we have always been one with the creatures of mother earth. We take care of them, they take care of us. It’s as simple as that. Please, we mean you no harm.” He put his hand on top of of Mankayo’s to show a gesture of friendship. “We are not at war with each other, we have a common enemy to defeat, and I’d rather do it with a trust between us.
Balam let his spear slowly lower to the ground. “Thank you.”
Languando was a trader not a warrior, but if they must join alliances with someone, he would rather it be with Rebellis. He turned his attention to Mankayo. “Mankayo, you and your men can set yourselves up in the barn, or you can set up camp here by the cabin, but we’re going to settle the animals and Innana down for the evening, and unload the pack horses. Then we’ll eat our meal by the fire.”
He turned to his wife and nodded, then left the group to go make the preparations. Mankayo left Balam in charge of getting camp set up and went to help Languando with the animals.
When Mankayo reached the barn, Languano was talking and soothing the animals, as he brushed down the horses. The animals seemed to relax under his touch. Then he pulled some hay from a bale in a hay pile and tossed it into a wooden hay feeder he had installed.
“You seem to know a lot about these beasts.” Mankayo commented.
Languando glanced his way and smiled. “As I said, we kept traditions flowing from generation to generation.”
“Your home seems to be far advanced from other clans on these lands.”
Languando paused in removing another bridle from a pack horse. “My knowledge comes in a large part from the Mulhollen Elitists. Their land has remained almost unscathed by the “Disasters.” They became a clan and have passed their knowledge down from one group to another. They have books by which they taught their children the arts of Equine, mechanics, weaponry, technology, and even space travel as well as knowledge of so much more territory than you can imagine. They have dreams of becoming the largest clan in this world.” He sighed. “But my people had one downfall, they would not share their knowledge with other clans. They thought it was too powerful for people like you and my wife’s people to handle without guidance.
However, I met my wife, and they would not accept her, so we left the clan to start our own. We now call ourselves Of the Orion The Elitist Clan. We carry the names of both our clans, but we do not let one clan rule over the other. We are simple traders. If you need something, we will try to get it for you. We trade food, clothing, yes and weaponry as well. Our children will have an identity, and maybe when the war of the clans is over, we can become of one people, and show the love that we are meant to show to each other.”
“How does one request weaponry. Where does it come from?”
“Before the world’s destruction, there was a highly skilled people in defense, called Military, and they lived on a closed community called a military base. On that base, locked away was many weapons. In this large territory, there are five of them, and many elitists raided them and captured the weapons during the chaos. After the “Destruction,” they put them in caves they called bunkers. When they arrived, many of the bases were broken down, and easy to breach. Many died on both sides, but many military people were already dead from the consequences of the “Disasters.” The weaponry was easy to access. They have the bulk of supplies. But I only need several days worth of travels, across very treacherous land and I can get more.”
“How do you know this information?”
“As I said before, I am an Elitist by birth, much of the history of this world is still kept in territories like Mullhollen.”
“You had all that, and you chose to leave for a woman?”
He shrugged and started cleaning the stable again. “She was the soul of my soul. The Elitists main motivation is hatred and conquering, same as Lyber. There is a danger of Lyber finding his way to them and joining them.”
“Lyber is a criminal, he was brought here for his evil doings, not because of his hate.”
“What were his crimes?”
“He was a thief of goods and weaponry.”
“Sounds pretty parallel to me.” He closed up the last stable gate, and the animals went out into the gated area to graze. “Please come with me. It is almost time to share our meal.” Mankayo watched the animals run about in the arena and smiled. Yes, this might be a very profitable relationship after all. He followed Languano out of the barn.