Present Day - Ahe’ey
Sky watched Quinn’s body hit the ground, rolling on the loose gravel of the Yi’ingo arena. The girl screamed in pain as her knees and elbows, previously scuffed by the same unforgiving surface, bled on impact. Red and blue covered Quinn's milky skin, spoils from a day of intense battle. She jumped to her feet and dusted herself off. The long, royal blue streaks adorning her short dark hair covered her face and Asian eyes. She blew her hair away from her nose with fierce determination.
Sky knew that the fourteen-year-old Yi’ingo apprentice was too stubborn to yield to Scout. The girl used her left arm to clean off the thick mix of sweat and blood that blurred her eyesight. With one flip of her head, blue locks of hair travelled through the air, away from her face. Her menacing eyes locked onto her adversary as she raised her sword in front of her chest.
“Go home little girl; you don’t belong here.” Scout played with her sword, waving it in the air, drawing an infinity sign in the space between her and Quinn. “I don’t want your master to come after me for sending you back to Ange’el missing an ear or a finger.” The purple tips of Scout’s white faux hawk trickled down her back, swerving from side to side as her body danced with the sword. Scout was five years older than Quinn. The older warrior was tall and athletic. Her womanly figure was endowed with perfectly symmetrical and proportional curves. In comparison, Quinn was short, very thin and flat chested.
“Look who’s speaking. You’re just a lowlife royal bastard. Your blood is as cheap as mine.” Quinn ran in the direction of Scout, her face red, full of fire. The swords clashed in the air several times, unleashing a metallic thunder-like sound throughout the forest. Scout’s moves were economical and precise; she blocked each blow using the strength of her core, moving sword and shield just enough to defend herself against the punishing rage of the younger woman.
“I've had it!” said Scout on Quinn’s fifth strike. The older warrior used the impact of her shield to disarm her opponent, and kicked her hard in the stomach. Quinn's body was projected backwards, and she hit her head on the wooden fence that surrounded the arena.
“Enough!” Sky said, kicking Quinn’s sword to the side as the young warrior prepared to pick it up. Her voice commanded the full attention of the dozens of young apprentices that watched the fight.
“I told you, Sky. Humans don’t belong at Yi’ingo. I’m a warrior, I don’t have time for charity. Look at her,” Scout said, pointing at Quinn. “She’s weak and fragile. Why are we wasting our time training her?”
“Watch how you speak to me, girl. I'll cut your tongue out.” Sky place her hand on the hilt of her sword. She didn't need to raise her voice to direct the attention of the group. The cocky purple crested brat bowed her head to Sky, her unapologetic eyes half hidden under the spikes of white hair.
“I’ll make you eat your words in the next Games, Scout,” Quinn shouted still holding her stomach in pain.
“Enough! Back to your chores,” screamed Sky, pointing to the stables where the horses waited to be groomed. “Quinn, find your sister and take care of those wounds. You're dismissed from your chores for the rest of the day.”
“I’m fine, Sky,” said the rebellious young woman as she followed the others in the direction of the stables. “I don't need special privileges.”
Sky allowed the girl to leave, even as she noticed the drops of blood that flowed from the back of Quinn’s head to her leather tunic.
“Gabriel’s human pet weakens this tribe Sky.” Sky turned around to face the older woman. "Scout is right. She has no place in this land. The creature distracts our warriors. An army is only as good as its weakest soldier. Why do you protect her?”
“I do no such thing grandmother. Quinn may lack strength, but she’s braver and more determined than most of our novice warriors.”
Amalia gathered her long white hair and tied it behind her head, preparing to mount her horse. “She does not belong in this land. Join me tonight for dinner?”
“I can’t. We’ll be training against the Ma’asai to prepare for the winter solstice Games. We're just three weeks away.”
“I don't approve of unnecessary interaction between the Yi’ingo warriors and the Ma’asai men. A strong army is an independent one, one with no attachments or friendships that could limit their ability to act decisively in the future.”
“The Ma’asai have been our allies in war for many years. Bastian is doing an excellent job leading the tribe. I see little danger—”
“You see little danger? So did your mother as she was kidnapped and raped. So did her sister—raped, burned, and murdered. So did your baby sister, dead. Have you forgotten how your beloved cousin Gabriel abandoned you in the forest to fight the Hu’urei alone as he ran to safety. Don’t you ever forget why you were trusted to lead this army.”
“Even if I did for a second, I have you here to remind me every single day of my life, Grandmother.”
“Honour my fallen daughters and granddaughter by not allowing the one who keeps your bed warm at night to make you weak in the knees. Bastian's blind devotion to Gabriel is a threat to Ahe'ey.”
“Bas and the Ma'asai will never betray us.”
“Bastian is only interested in securing his place at the Throne. You are the last of the royal maidens of Ahe'ey. He wants to woo the best womb for his seed. Bed him; use him; marry him if you may, but don't let him own you.”
With a few words from Amalia, the mightiest of all warriors turned into the abandoned young girl in the woods. The girl that had been foolish enough to trust a man. She bit her lip, absorbing her grandmother's reminder.
“Your attachment to your cousins weakens you. You're a fraud; a pussycat disguised as a tiger. When will you become the fearless warrior queen this land deserves? The influence of Viviane and Marcus is not good for you.” Amalia galloped away. “And get rid of the human girl. She is a risk to Ahe'ey's security.”
Have you missed previous chapters of Ahe'ey?
Chapter 1 - Beginnings
1 - Sky Falling: Read or listen.
2 - A Surprising Reception: Read or listen.
3 - I Will Find You: Read or listen.
4 - The Interview: Read or listen.
5 - Royal Orphans: Read or listen.
6 - Breakfast with a View: Read.
7 - Water Angels: Read.
8 - Perfection: Read.
9 - Alone: Read.
Chapter 2 - Gravitational Pull
9 - Womanhood: Read.
10 - Young Warriors
Stop by tomorrow to enjoy the next episode of Ahe'ey.
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