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.
brought her hand to her stomach. “Someday I will tell you the story when I tuck
you in to bed.”
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.
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
is happening?” she whispered.
from the wasteland have come for the royal family, and they are taking our
woman, killing our men. We need to regroup.”
have no way of knowing until we meet up at the safe zone.”
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.
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
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.”
there is a small opening that leads further into the formations most likely to
other cave communities.”
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.
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.”
not?” Inkya asked fearfully.
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
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
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.
I am fine. I have taken refuge in the forest behind some rocks. I have my
weapons with me.”
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.
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.
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
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?”
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.”
weapons and medicine?”
power, and survival.”
is Mankayo, I wish to speak with him.”
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
“Hmm.” She drifted off again.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.”
we have a team out there?”
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
long would it take?”
week, providing there are no issues or battles with Lyber’s army.”
is an unknown Territory. I have heard rumors of the Elitists Clans that have
settled up there.”
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.
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
you say General.” He went over to the North wall, lifted a radio to his mouth
and barked out the orders.
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.”
we know the possibility of a clan living up there is very high.”
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?”
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
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
she was about to sign off when she heard screaming over the line, a sickening
thud, and more screaming.
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.