The Unfinished Song: Initiate
|“Dindi” by Tara Maya|
…but also makes you want to rage and weep because it reminds you the enemy has captured your cousins, your friends.
A strange thing happens. You’re terrified, disoriented, humiliated, helpless, panting with exhaustion, focused on trying to place one foot at a time while avoiding the switch. You’re also angry. As your hearing and sense of balance returns, your anger creeps up on you, growing fiercer, until it strangles your fear.
Despite the enemy’s precautions, your woodcraft whispers certain secrets. The brush of the air on your skin, the texture and tilt of the ground, these tell you you’re heading west, toward the ocean.
You know you will be sold as a sacrificial slave, a mariah, as soon as they leave the boarders of your clan and tribe, too far away for your kin to find or avenge you. Obedience doesn’t bake well in your oven; you’re certain you wouldn’t last long as a slave. They warn you they will kill you if you don’t do what they want, that your life is worth less to them than a fistful of seed. They call you wormbait, carion.
Their aim is to make you think you are going to die, and they succeed.
So you have nothing left to lose.
Kavio stood on the balcony of his father’s house, back in the shadows, and the mob hadn’t seen him yet. That couldn’t last.
The mob filled the dusty streets between the blocks of adobe houses. Torches waved like luminous war banners. The throng had been gathering every evening for days before the trial, shouting for blood. Wild fae whirled around them, vicious little Red and Orange imps, unseen by most of the people in the crowd.
“Death to Kavio! Death to Kavio!” the people shouted.
Kavio inhaled the dry summer night. The decree of the Society of Societies might have been commuted to exile, but he still had to get out of the tribehold alive. Now that he faced a mob ready to rend him limb from limb, he found he preferred life in exile to death after all.
Father, still in his face paint and dance regalia, went to the edge of the balcony. Like the kiva, the adobe house had been painted white and the mud walls of the balcony rose organically out of the lower story of the house. For defensive purposes, none of the houses in the tribehold had doors on the first story. Ladders allowed access between the balcony and the street.
Father held up his arms to silence the crowd. It took some time to still their chanting.
“Your cries have been heard. Justice is served!” he shouted. “Kavio has been judged guilty. He will be exiled!”
This appeased few in the mob.
“In the Bone Whistler’s day he would have been stoned!” some- one shouted.
Thunderous rage contorted Father’s face, but he never lost his self-control. “The Bone Whistler is dead and so are his ways. The judgment is exile.”