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Ablaze

A flash of light scorched the sky white hot. The rich dark purple clouds rolled above the ashen ground. Broken trees lay split and bleeding upon the ground. The once unceasing waves stay unmoving, frozen atop the once sandy shore. No more songs of sparrows would sound, for they had stopped long ago. No more cries of the cougar, for they had ended once the fire began. So much beauty crushed, once the first tree burned, screaming in the hot September winds. Neither child, nor mother was safe from the depths of the insistent inferno. When the fire swept the land, no one was safe. Nothing was untouched by the fire, undamaged by its blaze. Yet with its blaze, came the following storm. Now the ash that covered the earth from the now dead flames lay covered in a layer of thick frost.
However, with death, life must always come forth. Taini had known this and with this knowledge, she returned to her homeland. Now destroyed, she realized how much it had truly meant to her. She remembered not long ago when the land had been fertile and her people had thrived. Those were the times she looked to, the times she needed to fill her dreams.
Now she was one of a small tribe of Nomads, and her dreams were full of nightmares, full of death. She had lost so much already, her friends, her family, all gone. All of them once flesh now inhabitance of the spirit world.
She was alone, even encircled with her small tribe she was alone. The only thing that forced her to survive was the small life occupying her body as it grew. The only reason she had been strong through this time was out of protection of her child.
Gently she allowed her small hands to stroke her abdomen. Would the child be female or would it be male?
She prayed to the gods every night that she would birth a boy. She hoped that he would be a warrior just as his father had been… a warrior to the end. Her mate and father of her child had fought by her father’s side and died in her mother’s care. His wounds were too great for the medicines of the land. He had fought and died with honor. This was the type of son Taini prayed to give birth to… a warrior.
Taini stood upon the frosted broken brambles, partially burned and stared out into the ruined land ahead. So many memories had been erased from this once beautiful place. Such an innocent land corrupted and distorted into one of horror and devastation. She almost could not recognize the land of her childhood.
In one full cycle of the moon so many things had gone awry and now in the place of her home, there was just ash and splinters. Their rival tribe had raided their land, taking women and children. They killed the men and set the animal skin shelters ablaze. For some reason the gods had punished her tribe, by allowing the flames to consume their homes. She did not understand this, but for some reason unbeknownst to any of her small tribe, they had survived. Thirteen now roamed the earth of the original hundreds of her tribe.
For months, she had avoided this place that held so much agony. Now she had no choice but to return. The nightmares were unceasing now and she could not focus any longer. She wanted to be strong, yet every time she closed her eyes, she saw a child with such deformities. This frightened her so incredibly, fearing that her child could succumb to this.
She knew by not returning to her homeland, she would be denying any chance of closure. Without this, her child could be born with the shame she felt as a never-ending token branded into the child’s flesh. Closure would supply her with strength, yet as she looked upon the once fertile land, she could feel her heart sink. Too much devastation and too much ruin scattered the ashen ground. Beauty had been crushed, burned to death, and stepped upon as trash.
A sudden shift in her body made her gasp and clutch her abdomen. The life inside her beat against her insides causing her to double over in pain.
“Not now my child.” She whimpered folding her arms over her stomach in a protective manner. The pain was unbearable. Never in all her 16 years had she felt such agony explode inside her body. It was a sensation as if her insides were being twisted by some unseen force. She was unable to breathe, unable to move, for every motion she attempted caused the pain to worsen. Was she dying? Was she being punished? Tears stained her copper skin giving her face a glistening hue. Another shift and she let out a horrific scream. She was unable to control it, for the pain was so intense.
“Taini! Oh Taini child!” came an alert call from behind her, yet she did not make any motion to the approaching tribe member. She already knew whom the voice belonged to… Donoma.
Donoma was there kneeling beside her in what seemed like moments. Her gentle fingers massaged the expecting mother’s shoulders.
“Lay down Taini, lay down.” It was not a question, and Taini did not think about the command… she just did it. It was so automatic as she lay down upon the ashen ground. She thought nothing of the penetrating cold, only the pain. Donoma grasped Taini’s hand and allowed the expecting mother to squeeze until soft blue veins emerged.
“Breathe deep Taini… Breathe.” Taini obeyed, unable to resist the sudden urge to push. It was instinct, all instinct, nothing more.
This went on for a while until one last push caused Taini to scream louder than before. It felt so horrendous, yet the look on Donoma’s face caused her to continue.
“Almost, keep going, almost there.” Taini did so and soon all she felt was relief. Donoma bent down and raised the new screaming child so Taini could see… her…
Donoma quickly severed the cord connecting mother to daughter and handed the new arrival to Taini.
Taini clung on to the sweet child and was so captivated by her beauty. Skin the color of butter cream swirled with flushed red blotches of blackberry juice. Eyes the color of deep cocoa mixed with topaz stone. She was a beauty to behold. At that very moment Taini did not feel cursed, instead she felt completely blessed. With her daughter in her arms, she felt completely at ease, at one with the earth and all of the creatures that walked upon it. Taini had finally found her closure.





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