Bread? A shiver went down Ginika’s spine when he realized that he, too, was guilty of the same crime.
They had given their lives to the masters in exchange for food. It struck him to realize that liberation was farfetched until they release themselves from every encumbrance of the emperor.
A shrilling cry echoed through the night as a girl burst into the stage. At first, the people clapped their hands with admiration, thinking she was trying to be more fun while maintaining the act.
But that expression dissolved into horror when they realized what was happening.
She was kneeling down on the sandy floor, nodding her head uncontrollably as if intoxicated by a concentrated liquor.
“I see you, son and liberator of our land.” She said.
Silence brood the night as the music died with the passing air. The people only stared at their inevitable doom.
The emperor had banned magic from the land. He had destroyed every trace of magic and people linked to it. It had been a hundred and fifty years, but that was a long time ago. The people had inter married among themselves and magic had returned.
Yet when the people discovered that they had magic, they had decided to secretly teach their young ones how to use magic. But at the same time, keeping it away from the emperor and his taskmasters.
Ginika sat up. His heart was racing when he recognized the braided hair. It was Zahra.
“You who was born to bring justice to the land,” Zahra continued as if in a trance.
Some men hurried into the crowd and seized her.
Ginika recognized one of them. It was Zahra’s father, Kichi.
The fear in his eyes was eminent to that of the villagers. He and the other two men tried to carry her away, but the taskmaster stopped them.
“My… Lord,” Kichi stammered “She is talking gibberish and—”
“Let her be, I want to hear what she had to say,”
Kichi shared a disturbing glance with the other two men. He grumbled uneasily before releasing the hands of his daughter.
“You who, with your strength, will destroy darkness and bring balance to the world. You who was born with the powers of Gini, liberate us from the shackle of the Emperor just as the prophesy has foretold.” Zahra’s scream percolated the night as she fell to the ground.
Whatever power that had possessed seemed to have disappeared. She was panting heavily and looked exhausted.
Ginika was boiling with rage.
It was not unusual to see a person who has two powers, but he was angry that Zahra hadn’t told him that she was a Sword seeker and a Seer.
“Well, well, well.” The taskmaster smiled and walked slowly towards Zahra.
For a woman her size, the taskmaster’s voice was oddly juvenile.
The glow of some fireflies pricked Ginika’s curiosity, and he lifted his head. He couldn’t see them clearly, but this time, he was glad his eyes were not playing tricks on him.
Just on the top of the palm tree, which stood opposite the wagon. He saw three bats, picking their body with their small mouth.
Their eyes glowed blood red, and their wings seemed to be made from black smoke.
“So you, Drudge, have been practicing magic?” The taskmasters' voice brought Ginika’s attention back to the circle, “and all this while you have tried to fool me with some drama?” The woman shook her head with regret. “How could I be so stupid.” She added before sighing heavily.
Zahra lifted her eyes to meet that of the taskmaster. She held on to it, the fire that was heating out from the gaze could be felt throughout the circle.
‘Please don’t say anything rash,’ Ginika pleaded with her in his thoughts. His heart was racing, and every pulse seemed to be getting louder and louder.
“Go and tell your master that his days have been numbered” Zahra gnashed her teeth, “Tell him that his death would be painful, and slow. The one born with Gini is coming. The liberator and the flaming hair demon is coming for him to crush down his empire.”
The crowd exclaimed with fear at her words. Some of them shouted at her to remain quiet, while others were pleading with the taskmaster.
The taskmaster laughed as if her words were the funniest thing she had ever had.
“I think you should go and tell him yourself,” The woman drew out her sword. It glints with the fire, every edge heating the cold air around it.
“But, don’t worry, I will tell him myself.” The taskmaster said. She held Zahra’s head, and traced her sword around her throat, revealing the white skin underneath.
“ZAHRA. NO!!” Kichi shouted and picked up Zahra’s body, which was still convulsing. The parameter had on the sand was already covered with blood.
“ZAHRA,” Someone shouted and burst into the circle. It was Dodo and Zahra’s mother. They both were crying their hearts out as the knelt down beside the lifeless body.
Ginika’s world slowed as he stared at the circle but not seeing it. He tried to scream, but no words came out from his mouth. His vision blurred as tears licked, not even caring when he started crying as they sip out through his eyes, and dropping in down heavily.
“Zahra. God Zahra” Ginika sobbed.
“Kill every baby,” The taskmasters shouted. “Seven years and below. Pregnant mothers too. Eliminate them all. I don’t want to hear the cry of any male child that is Seven years or below. Kill them all!”
The circle broke into pandemonium as the villagers started running helter-skelter. Fathers were calling out to wife, and mothers were calling out to children.
‘Chika.’ Ginika wiped his eyes and searched the village square, which currently was like the hive of an ant that has been stirred up. He panicked when he remembered his little brother, who was five years old.
His feet were already on the ground before he could think of jumping down, and then he ran to the only place where he last saw his brother. He needed to go home, asap!
He ran as fast as he could. Sweat strolled down Ginika’s brow as he trotted towards the direction of their house, brushing pass the populace and calling out the names of his mother and little brother. The smoky air was harsh on his nostril, and he could taste it somewhere at the back of his throat. As he tried to swallow, he realized just then that there was no fluid in his mouth. His eyes walked pass the palm tree to the shadow beyond the other side of the grass, but he could barely make out the face of anyone from the paleness of the moon. Tugging his wet hair behind his ears, he stopped when he realized that it was a dead end. The disorder in the village square made it impossibl
“I said no, screaming!” Without warning, the taskmaster’s sword separated the mother’s head from her shoulders.Goosebump covered Ginika’s skin as he shrieked, but the hands of Bola, which covered his mouth, kept the screams trapped in his throat. His eyes were hot with tears that were gushing out.“You, the woman behind her husband,” The taskmaster pointed again to a couple.“That’s my mother!” Ginika hurried to meet them, but Bola’s muscle was an obstacle that he needed to beat. He tried to fight through the strong arms, but they were too big for
‘But where are the other members of the circle?’ He bit his lower lips and hid his body behind a palm tree. He wasn’t good at rescuing people, the last time he tried to rescue a teenage boy from being sexually harassed by one male taskmaster, had almost gotten him killed. They had scourged him on a pole and had whipped the living daylight out of him.The scar on Bola’s back pulse as if in agreement to his testimony. He just hoped that the other chief of the village were helping to eva
It reminded him of the thin needle which the village healers use for their treatment. They produced a pain that traveled to every part of his body and was sure to leave bruises. But despite the odds, a little part of him was excited. Jinta, the master mage, always tell tales of how he had lost the softness of his palms to climbing up a mountain. It was an exaggeration Bola knew, but he was pleased to be passing through the pain. This would serve as his own battle scar. After today, he would tell his own adventure stories. It would save him the stress of paying unending attention to Jinta, who always ranted like a drum about the war of the Kingdom and the elves.
Their lofty appearances towered over everything that stood in the village square, with swords, spear, bow and arrow, ten times any weapon the strongest warrior in the whole three kingdoms could bear. They were well equipped and looked dangerous even from the light of the moon. Like the taskmaster, they wore the same blue uniform with red cuff and stripes strolling its side. Their gauntlet and armor were tattered. It was worn out from days of ridding none stop under the wheel of harsh weather.Bola rested his hands on his waist—where his magic porch was—and stopped when he was sure that he was close
Now nemesis was about to catch up with him.The green vial spilled on the grasses as he hurried to rub them on his palms. His hand was shaking, not just his hands. His entire body was trembling.The creature walked out from the back of the palm tree, and it face sent more frightful fire down Bola’s spine. It had a human face, but its fang was three times longer than a python’s. It was hard to make out the entire body, which seemed to be formed from the smoke of darkness.“Let…” Bola trembled and fumbled with words as he tried to remember the right spell.
“You think your little tricks can work on me, mage?” The creature staggered slowly towards him. Its cloth was made from the shadow of darkness and was swerving behind, “Try something less amusing. You have to yield and save your weak bone the inevitable. But, I would like it if you try to put up a fight, it would only make your blood more pleasing and appetizing for my refined palate.”Bola uncorked the vial, frowning at the fowl odd. He applied the fluid on his palms, not bothering to wipe away the sands and dried blood. His hands were still shaking, but unlike the first time, it became stable when he focused his mind on the magic words.“We have fed on anima
“Hear my cry!” He screamed, with every air that was inside his lungs, “and let your light shine in the darkness!”A bright green light shot out from his hands and blast the vampire on the chest. The creature screamed in agony as it disintegrated into nothing, leaving the sparks of yellow lights to announce its existence. The blaring teeth of the still registered in Bola’s memory, it would take long before he forgets.Tears pour out from his eyes as his mind weigh everything the creature had said. They were too bad to be true, even though he tries to deny it, he knew the creature was telling the naked truth.