Thirty-four years ago - Ahe’ey
Gráinne saw horror reflected in her eldest daughter’s eyes as their front door was abruptly knocked down by a sharp blow. Her newborn baby cried uncontrollably, tightly wrapped in the cotton sling that hung over her chest. Gráinne knew that the infant was reacting to the sudden fast thundering of her heartbeat as four Hu’urei surrounded them.
At first, Gráinne did not respond to the men. The Yi’ingo finished braiding the wild copper hair of her ten-year-old daughter. Gráinne placed her face right in front of Sky and, with her eyes, she pointed to the open window that stood a few meters from the young girl. Sky stood frozen, processing her mother’s silent command; the girl’s eyes were wide, her lips squeezed between her teeth. Before Sky could react, Gráinne stood up, dagger in hand, carrying her youngest on her chest. The man that stood between Sky and the window fell as Gráinne slashed his throat with a single blow. The birth of her youngest daughter the night before impaired her strength and agility, yet she was still faster and more accomplished in battle than any Hu’urei in the land.
“Go Sky! Fetch help.” Gráinne screamed as she placed her body between the rest of the Hu’urei and Sky. The Yi’ingo held her dagger in front of her baby, commanding the full attention of the men. The curls of her blood coloured hair covered her face and hid the panic in her chestnut eyes. She felt faint. She was weak, too weak to fight three men with a child in her arms.
“Don’t kill them. We need them alive.” Said Iblis, managing the rage of his men, fueled by the death of one of their companions. The three Hu’urei unsheathed their swords.
Sky ran toward the open window. She dived straight over the window-sill and rolled on the ground into a standing position. The girl raced as fast as she could, ignoring the blood gushing from a scrapped knee from the impact of the fall. I'll come back for you, mother!
“Leave the girl,” ordered Iblis keeping his eyes set on Gráinne, “she's not yet of fertile age.” The three men surrounded the woman, Iblis’ sword pointed towards her baby. “Yi’ingo, drop your sword or the child will die.”
Luna caressed the golden hair of her six-year-old son. Bastian was sleeping soundly as she kissed his forehead. She noticed the clay still stuck under his fingernails from spending a busy day planting melons and squash at the Ma’asai farms. Luna knew that Bastian would one day leave Ange’el for Ma’asai. A child of two, Ange’el did not share his parents' enthusiasm for knowledge and spirituality. The boy preferred to spend his time in deep connection with nature. Luna left Bastian’s room to join her husband in one of the many external pavilions that surrounded the Sacred House.
Lucas sat outside on the floor in front of the pyre of fire that burned in observance of the summer solstice. She did not interrupt his meditation; she sat beside him, attempting to connect with the elders that no longer roamed the Earth. With her eyes closed, she asked her foremothers and forefathers for the most precious gift—another child; a pure-blooded descendant of the Royal bloodline. An heir that could help safeguard and propagate the powerful genes that Luna and Lucas had inherited from their ancestors. At the age of a hundred and four, she was still young, and she hoped to bare two more royal children.
Deep into her prayer, her mind wandered into the realm of those who no longer had a physical body and in that state, she did not see the danger that lurked a few metres away. The largest of the Hu’urei kicked Lucas in the head twice before the Ange’el had a chance to open his eyes.
“Sathian! What are you doing?” Luna cried as she recognised the perfect features and poise of her royal kinsman. In his eyes, she saw only madness. Sathian held Luna from behind in a tight embrace that immobilised her arms and almost prevented her from breathing. He lay her down on the ground by her neck and signalled to another man, who pulled his pants down and spread her legs apart. She looked into Sathian’s eyes, pleading for mercy. His emerald eyes glimmered from the tears he was holding back, but one second later, his eyes were dry as he purged the final drop of compassion festering in his mind.
Luna wailed as she realised her impending sentence. She looked at the unconscious body of her husband in despair. Inside her head, she could hear her sister screaming. Gráinne, she thought, feeling her sister’s agony. Luna found renewed strength in the power of her Ange’el mind and the adrenaline that rushed through her body. She kicked the man that approached her in the groin and used a branch from the pyre of fire to stab Sathian in the left eye.
Sathian screamed in anger and pain as he placed his hand in the hole that was once his eye. Furious and out of control, he grabbed Luna’s tunic with one single hand and threw her on top of the bomb-fire. She screamed in pain as the fire devoured her skin.
“Pull her out!” he shouted to the other men as he attempted to recover from her attack, wiping the remains of his eye from his face.
“It’s too late.” The Hu’urei tried to pull Luna’s body from the pyre, but the Ange’el’s dancing body of pain and despair was now fully consumed by flames. The screams of the Ange’el were deafening. Her song of torment and doom came to an abrupt end as Sathian, in a moment of mercy and regret, pushed his sword through her heart.