Rihla

Seven: Through the Monsoon

Sorcha threaded her hair and turned to look at the others. One of the earth gypsies, Mira had just shown them to the tent the five of them would be sharing. She was amazed with how warm it was on the inside.

It turned out Kilani knew them so everyone was very welcoming with them. The wind gypsies had told them about what had happened in Torrent with the dead rising it seemed the Chief wanted to have with them after they settled in. Sorcha didn’t blame him.

“So how long have been coming here?” Sorcha asked looking at Kilani.

“A couple of orbits,” she answered removing the chains around her feet. “Why?”

“Just curious,” Sorcha said. “They treat you like family.”

She shrugged. “They sort of are.”

“So when do we meet Zaheer?” Aya asked sitting on her bunk.

“Right?” Pigmae joining Aya on her bunk. “Will he be there when we meet the chief?”

“Oh wow,” Kilani said rolling her eyes. “Zaheer is just a friend. You’re making something out of nothing. All the same I’m sure you’ll see him before we leave him tomorrow.”

“You sound almost defensive,” Sorcha sniggered.

“I am not,” she said defensively and the others laughed.

“You make it too easy,” Koah smirked.

“Oh shut up,” she said standing up and just then Mira walked in.

“You settled in?” Mira asked them.

“Pretty much,” Sorcha answered.

“Chief will see you now.”

The ladies all picked their warm robes and put them on since they would be back out in the snow. The followed Mira out of the tent single file. When they were out the paused. It looked like the camp site was trapped inside a snow ball.

“Are we in another dimension?” Pigmae asked.

“You been to other dimensions often?” Kilani asked her.

“Just then one,” she answered looking around.

“Good point. No, it’s just the monsoon.”

“How come it’s not affecting us?” Aya asked.

“They put the shield up,” Mira told her. “Don’t worry you’ll be safe.”

Sorcha looked back ahead and saw Pigmae looking at her hand then tuck them in her pockets.

“Are you ok?” Sorcha asked her.

“Yeah,” Pigmae said. “Just felt a little static.”

The others all turned to look at her.

“Hard to tell if my hair is on edge since its freezing out here,” Sorcha said.

“They don’t keep their dead here,” Kilani said. “Not in the shield anyway.”

“Are you sure?” Koah asked her.

“I’m sure,” Kilani said. “Come on.”

The three of them looked at each other nervously and continued walking. They reached the biggest tent on the site and Mira entered. The five of them followed and found the boys were already inside.

A number of gypsies were inside the tent already kept looking at Tezerak. It must have been different for them to see a Lor in the flesh in his true form. Tezerak on the other hand didn’t seem bothered at all. He was drinking something warm and by the looks of things he was enjoying it as he was swinging his tail. It was something he usally did if he was enjoying something. It happened a lot when he was with Aya.

“Ladies,” a grey haired man said standing up. “Please come in.”

The five of them looked at each other and followed Kilani as she leads them inside. The boys joined them and she could hear them whispering as they walked by. Sorcha knew it was because of Tezerak.

“Chief,” Kilani smiled at the grey haired man. “Good to see you’re doing well.”

He looked her over. “You stopped coming for your treatment,” he said in a stern voice. “We thought something had happened to you.”

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I should have written, or kept in touch.”

“No,” he said. “You should have come back.”

“I’m really sorry,” she said.

He didn’t say anything but it was obvious in his expression that he wasn’t accepting her apology.

“Princess Aya,” Kilani said turning to face her. “This the Chief of the earth gypsies. Everyone just calls him chief.”

“It’s an honor to meet you,” Aya curtsied.

“The honor is mine your majesty,” he bowed. “I must say I’ve never known a royal to take on such a journey. You must be very passionate about your people.”

“You make me sound so humble,” Aya smiled.

“Aren’t you?”

“Far from,” she said. “With the children being affected by the plague, I’ll have no one to reign over when my time comes.”

Chief laughed and so did the other men present in the room.

Aya smiled at him.

“Beautiful with a sense of humor,” he chuckled. “You must have kings fighting over you.”

“You flatter,” she bowed with a slight smile.

“Please, have a seat,” he said indicating at the mats that were laid around him. “We have a lot to discuss.”

They all took seats around him on the various mats. Sorcha made sure she sat next to Aya since Koah would automatically sit next to Aya. Tezerak ended up sitting next to Pigmae it was obvious he was disappointed but he didn’t make a fuss about it.

“This is a very unlikely group,” he said looking them over. “Three warriors, a thief, a princess, an assassin and a Jia.”

They all looked at each other looked back at him.

“But the things you can individually do,” he said. “A healer who has the ability to hear thoughts. An assasin who can see a person weakness even before she attacks. A Jia who can move anything and anyone with her mind. A warrior who can hide behind the face of his enemy while he poisons them with his tail. A Castor who’s Legacy is war its self. A thief who has can control lightning and has its speed.

“Then there’s you,” he said looking at Kilani. “The strongest one of them all.”

Sorcha looked at Kilani and couldn’t help but feel confused. Although she hadn’t used her power everyone was aware of what she could do. The chief had just exposed what she could really do. She had seen all their powers and Koah’s seemed to be most threatening. Even Pigmae scared her not to mention all the venom Tezerak had going through his veins. Creed was a Castor and a Legacy for crying out loud.

All Kilani could do was make a force field. How was she the strongest?

“I’m pretty sure that’s not what you wanted to tell us,” Kilani said.

“No,” he said. “It’s not. I just wanted to make sure you’re all aware of each other’s strengths because from what our sisters have told us you’re going to need it.”

“What did they tell you?” Koah asked.

“Bhazir is aware of your mission,” he said. “There are those who want to help but like every situation there are those that want to hinder your mission. They will stop at nothing to prevent you from succeeding even if it means killing you and they have armies.”

Aya gasped.

“We’ll be fine,” Kilani told her.

“Your chill demeanor is comforting and all but you forget we aren’t all warriors,” Sorcha said to her.

“No but like Cheif said you’re all remarkable in your own way,” she said. “Bhazir might have an army but I have six armies.”

“Woah,” Creed said. “Dinner would have been just fine, you don’t need butter me up like this.”

They laughed.

“I do,” Kilani said seriously. “The moment we descend the other side of this mountain. We’ll be in Bhazir and there’s a very high chance there will be an army waiting for us.”

They then heard howling.

“That was creepy,” Tezerak said.

“Yeah I agree,” Sorcha said looking around. “Do you have wolves on camp?”

“No,” Chief answered. “It’s the monsoon.”

Pigmae jerked and started sucking on her finger again.

“You ok?” Creed asked her.

“Yeah,” she said. “Just some static is all.”

“You’ve been marked by death,” Chief said looking at her.

“You’re aware about what happened in Torrent,” Kilani said looking at him. “They formed a bond with her, we had to sort of kill her to kill them.”

“You died though,” a voice from the back said.

They all turned and Sorcha choked on her own saliva. Behind them was the most attractive man Sorcha had ever seen in her life. He was a tall bulky man with a full healthy beard and the most electric grey eyes she had ever seen. She could still feel the base of his voice running down her spine.

“Oh that’s just not fair,” Creed said looking at him. “How is any one person so attractive?”

Kilani and Pigmae both laughed but Sorcha had to agree with Creed.

“Yes,” Pigmae answered still a bit amused. “I died for a second.”

“You spoke to death?”

She nodded. “He said the plague killing the children is offsetting the balance. Nature’s Balance. That’s why Creed and I were able to raise the dead. The potential energy left behind by the children’s souls is too high it’s tipping the scale.”

“What happened after you killed them again?” he asked. “What happened to the potential energy then?”

The howling happened again.

“I don’t know,” Pigmae answered.

“It dropped,” Creed answered with his eyes brows furrowed.

“Really?” Sorcha asked looking at him.

“Yes,” he nodded. “Now that I think about it, it did drop. Kilani and I helped the locals with burying their loved ones again. The potential energy wasn’t as high as when we got there earlier.”

“Did we use it up?” Pigmae asked.

“No,” Kilani said shaking her head. “You absorbed it and converted it to kinetic energy. If you ran you would have been a whole lot faster than you usually are although I think it’s safer you didn’t.”

“I have my same speed,” Pigmae said. “If I absorbed it wouldn’t my speed still be really fast?”

“I absorbed it when I killed you,” Kilani told her.

“How?” the others all asked at the same time.

“Her force fields,” Cheif answered. “She can do anything she wants to whatever is in her force field.”

Howling.

“Is that normal?” Koah asked.

“Yeah it’s kind of creeping me out,” Aya said.

Just then someone ran in. “Chief,” they panted. “It’s snowing.”

“Where?” the handsome man with the healthy beard said.

“Everywhere.”

“Go,” Chief told him.

He nodded and left with the one who had come to tell them about the snow but he paused before he walked out and looked at Kilani.

“I could use your help,” he said and walked out.

Kilani sighed and stood up. “Come on Creed, you’ll come in handy.”

“Have the two of you spoken?” Chief asked Kilani.

“Just now,” she said.

“You should talk,” he said. “He was really torn up when you left.”

Kilani didn’t say anything she just fastened her robe.

“Wait,” Koah said with a slight smirk. “Is that Zaheer?”

“Yes,” she said.

They all gapped at her.

“Wait,” Aya said standing up. “That walking orgas-”

“Woah,” Kilani said cutting her off. “You can’t speak like that. It’s not becoming of a princess.”

“You said you’re friends,” Pigmae said also standing up.

“Yes,” Kilani said.

“No way,” Creed said. “You can’t be ‘just friends’ with a face like that. I’m very confident in my sexuality but even I don’t want to be just friends with him.”

Sorcha and Aya laughed.

“He’s right,” Tezerak said getting up. “He’s painfully attractive.”

Kilani rolled her eyes and walked out a head of them.

* * *

Aya stepped out and had to pull her robe closer to her. It was a lot colder now that it was snowing. The howling was louder now and it seemed to be getting worse.

“What’s happening?” Tezerak asked. “I thought we were under a shield?”

“We are,” Mira answered back. “It seems to be cracking for some reason.”

“So this is snow falling in from the cracks from the shield?” Sorcha asked.

“Yup,” Zaheer answered.

“Ah,” Pigmae cried and waved her hand.

“Static?” Tezerak asked her.

“Yeah,” she nodded waving her hands.

“This makes sense,” Zaheer said looking at Pigmae. He then turned his attention to Kilani. “Our shields won’t hold with her around. Any ideas?”

“Yeah,” she said looking up. “I can put up a force field and have Creed stabilize it with a protection spell.”

He nodded.

The howling got louder and they could feel the wind making its way in.

Kilani closed her eyes and the next thing that happened took everyone by surprise. She was levitating above them but she kept getting higher. She held out her hands to either side and at that angle she could see that she was in an orb and the orb was expanding.

It started to get bigger and bigger soon it made contact with the ground and continued to expand. there was no snow or wind inside the orb and it continued that was as it got bigger. Aya then noticed something.

She then looked over at Creed and saw he hand his hands up as well. They watched in awe as the spell he cast bonded with the field Kilani created. It almost looked like they were in a crystal with how beautiful his magic was.

He was a powerful Castor.

Aya then noticed the moment the crystal orb made contacted with her she could hear thoughts. Kilani’s thoughts’. It was then that she realized that that whole trip she thought she had been able to hear her thoughts but that wasn’t true.

It then occurred that she probably shielded her thoughts with a force field and would basically let Aya listen to whatever she felt like feeding her. Everything she had been feeding her was false.

She didn’t want to come on the journey because she wanted to redeem herself. She came for a completely different reason and Aya could understand her situation. She also saw why she didn’t return to Zaheer and kept away.

The two of them were friends but it was more than that. She really loved him and he really loved her. He was still very in love with her and she was also in love with him but they had had a big fight the last time they were together.

She got injured and had been coming for healing as always. However, with the plague going on in their kingdom she didn’t want to risk exposing the children to it. She couldn’t get it but there was a chance she could carry it so she figured it would be better if she stayed away.

However, a couple of weeks ago she found out she was with child. Zaheer’s child. Everyone thought she had become a drunk but it was her unable to control her powers with her hormones driving her crazy. She got herbs to help manage them but they made her sleep a lot people just thought she had passed out.

It then occurred to Aya that Kilani never wore anything tight and she always clung to her skins to drink from it. She also remembered seeing her drinking a herb but Aya didn’t think much of it. She thought it was just tea.

Kilani was four months pregnant and a baby could get the plague even if it was in the womb. Her neighbor’s daughter, Lola, had lost a friend to the plague. Lola had been showing symptoms of the plague but when Kilani heard that one of her friends died from it she knew she had to do something or her baby would be born with the plague.

Aya now understood why Kilani had come on the trip even in her condition. She had to save her baby. Their baby.

Zaheer knew about their baby and understood why she stayed away but he didn’t tell anyone. It would complicate matters since he was Chief’s grandson. He would Kilani there with his great grandchild but that would put other children at risk if their baby did indeed have the plague.

The Orb of Machiritso was their only hope.

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