Vitriol. Absolute pure disgust, revolting in every corner of her mind.
This is what Hana felt from hearing Puani Kokostali’s comments on the death of her mentor and mother figure. It infected her mind, rotting her brain thoroughly from the innermost neuron, spreading throughout her entire body.
What she had seen was not a simple case of old age. Shi’a was extinguished in such a cruel manner. Her face was twisted and warped with anguish that Hana could not even be able to comprehend. The apparent stabs faintly throbbed exactly where she had seen them on Shi’a this morning.
Hana had witnessed her own fair share of horrific encounters, as had many Finixi people for many years. She was a medic during the revolution who would try to heal many wounded warriors, or she would do her best to gently guide them to the sun. Many of them toiled in despair, groaning and screaming from their suffering. She even witnessed her own parents, fellow revolutionaries, tortured for weeks until their Antarchi captors decided they had enough fun and violently sent her parents to the sun. She was 14 at the time.
Nothing could prepare her for the scene she walked in on.
Now to hear that this supposed “chief” was trying to downplay what happened…
Hana took a deep breath, walking out of the kitchen and into her garden. She grew plenty of beautiful flowers here, all of them native to the soil. Plenty of fine tea plants surrounded the space, creating a fragrant throne for the nose. It was here that Hana would let out an anguished scream to the sky. She hoped the Great Chief herself would hear and come down to comfort. In her imagination, Shi’a was coming to the Great Chief and begging her to fly down on her golden wings and give comfort to Hana’s soul… and exact revenge on the people who would hurt such a gentle soul as Shi’a.
A fire falcon landed right in front of Hana, holding its torch in its beak. It hopped up to Hana’s knees, chirping quietly.
“Sorry, little one.” Hana looked down at the falcon, moving her left hand in to pet the bird. The falcon seemed to allow it, even seemingly trying to exercise caution with the torch. Her sobs would gradually become sniffles, and the bird would fly into the evening sky.
Luthor Homestead, Ha’Hani, FiHami
Layla Fi’Shi had a tomultuous 36 years alive. She was born in a tiny village, taken by Antarchi soldiers when she was 6, and passed around until she ended up working for the Luthor household.
Kylie, Layla’s captor, was your typical run of the mill Antarchi supremacist; she would berate her “servants” that she continued to hold illegally. The Luthors were just one of the remaining bastions of the old empire that refuses to shrivel up and die, except it was all underground now. There were others like Kylie and James, who lived completely normal, isolated lives in the public, but did atrocities to those they deemed inferior underground.
Layla had a daughter, who is now just over a year old. This child would be raised separately from Layla, and would eventually be sold to Kylie’s best friend once the child turned 5. These two would be the last “true” members of the Fi’Shi tribe, who is currently thought to be entirely gone.
Layla was every bit as headstrong and unconquerable as her distant cousin, the late Finix Fi’Shi. Every night there was an attempt at a revolt, always lead by Layla. Kylie would punish her as much as she could, but Layla would just take it, with that same glare Finix had that could silence rooms.
Tonight, Kylie made a fatal mistake. Kylie forgot to properly lock Layla and her cage down. Tonight would be the night that Layla would revolt.
As soon as the Luthors went to bed, Layla snuck out of the poorly-fastened door. She made her way quietly to the room that the other captives told her that the child was being kept, setting them free as she went.
Quickly she picked the lock to the child’s door and made her way to the makeshift crib where the child lay awake, completely silent. Layla picked up the child, and bolted.
There was shouting behind her, then gunshots. Layla kept running, using her back to ram open the door to the outside. Here she got a glimpse of her captors yelling obscenities and shooting at her. At a critical moment, another captive, by the name of Leah, tackled the older Antarchi couple.
“Layla, run. Get out of here, I’ll catch up to you.” Leah shouted over the sound of gunshots firing at random. One second later and Layla knew that Leah would not, in fact, be catching up.
A few minutes later, Layla made it to the jungle’s edge with the baby in her arms. She looked back one last tome to see the entire house on fire.
Tonight, Layla succeeded. Tonight, Layla would report as much as she could about the underground operations of the last Antarchi supremacists. Today, Layla achieved freedom.
“They did not let me give you a name.” Layla would hug her daughter, allowing herself to cry. She would take a few seconds to think. “You are my hope, Ha’fi. And I am no longer Layla for I am free. I am Mi’a’ani. Freedom.”
Chief’s Palace, Ha’Hani
Puani lay awake tonight, staring at the ceiling of the room she was in. Her wife was asleep next to her, snoring softly. But Puani’s mind was occupied tonight, or she would join her wife in slumber.
No, she would end up thinking about having to pick a new high priestess. All the priests she talked to today were very distant towards her already, but one priestess especially stuck with her. This priestess really laid into Puani, berating her for her lack of leadership in FiHami. After Puani commented on the late high priestess’ death, all the priests in the room turned their backs to her.
She was afraid that all this business with the fire falcons were real and the priests would catch on that she faked being set on fire.
They already called into question the lack of scar tissue on Puani. Finix had the giant, ugly scars on her neck and shoulder that never seemed to heal properly, and Finixi people would marvel at it when the late chief was still among the living. Various artists would prominently display the scars that previous chiefs seemed to wear with pride. Puani would make the excuse that her scar was just on an unfortunate area.
Puani would think some more, then sigh. She needed to make herself untouchable, so her friend Texeteti’ could have a shot at becoming the prime minister. Once he’s Prime Minister, he would enact laws to hunt down the Antarchi and sacrifice them to the volcano. However, should the priesthood call her farse, it all comes crumbling down.
She decided then that she would declare herself the High Priestess next Wednesday.